Use Your Spiritual Gifts
There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work. Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. (1 Corinthians 12:4-7)
When we’re born again, the Spirit dwells inside us and gives us spiritual, supernatural gifts. Paul describes many gifts in 1 Corinthians 12 beginning with wisdom. Questions arose over whether non-Jews should be required to obey the Mosaic law. James, with words of wisdom, said they should only be required to do things that allowed Jews and Gentiles to eat and fellowship together (Acts 15:1-21).
A similar gift is knowledge. Peter in Acts 5:1-11 accused Ananias and Sapphira of conspiracy to lie. The Spirit had revealed this to him.
The gift of faith is more than the believer’s faith. Stephen was “a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 6:5). Faith gave him the courage to say what God wanted said in a hostile environment (Acts 7).
Other gifts include healing and miraculous powers. Peter and John prayed for a man who was lame from birth. The man was made strong and began walking, leaping, and praising God (Acts 3:8).
The Spirit gives the ability to distinguish between spirits. A girl followed Paul and his companions shouting, “These men are servants of the Most High God, who are telling you the way to be saved.” She sounded good, but Paul knew she had a spirit of divination, not the Holy Spirit (Acts 16:16-18).
Most people think of prophecy as foretelling, but it’s primarily “forth-telling” God’s word, whether a direct word from the Spirit or from Scripture. Peter showed this gift in sermons (Acts 2:14-36, Acts 3:11-26) and in writing (First and Second Peter).
Paul dedicated an entire chapter to prophecy, tongues, and interpretation of tongues (1 Corinthians 14). He said he prayed and sang in tongues, but in a public gathering it was better to speak in a known tongue.
The lists in the Bible are given as examples, and are not exhaustive.* Even if we’ve the same gift as someone else, we’ll manifest it in our own way. We usually have more than one.
Ask the Spirit to reveal gifts you’ve been given and look for opportunities to use them for others.
The gospels depict the disciples as often slow to understand and sometimes fearful. After being filled with the Holy Spirit, what gifts do we see Peter and John manifesting in Acts 1:15-26, Acts 4:1-22?
Stephen was one of seven men chosen to serve tables where food was distributed to widows. Not only was he full of faith as mentioned, but what else was he doing according to Acts 6:8-15. Who heard Stephen’s speech and approved of his execution (Acts 8:1-3)? Who might be watching you and seeing your faith?
In 2 Corinthians 12:18-27, how does Paul compare the manifestation of gifts to the human body? Have you thought your gift was unimportant compared to someone else’s? What would Paul say to you?
Nancy J. Baker
*See additional lists of gifts in Ephesians 4:11, Romans 12:4-8, and 1 Corinthians 12:7-11, 27-30.
This devotion is part of a series on The Holy Spirit.