Series: “Spiritual Gifts” (post #4)
Just about every time I preach on the subject of spiritual gifts, some sincere Christian will ask me, “But how can I know what my spiritual gift is?” Each time I hear that question I find myself wishing there was a Bible passage to which I could point the person and say, “Just study that chapter and you’ll find your answer.” The reality is, though, there is no such chapter. Truth be told, identifying which spiritual gift (gifts) you have isn’t so much an examination of the Bible as it is an examination of yourself. It is with this in mind that I’d like to offer five practical suggestions that will help you with the process.
#1: You should begin by learning which spiritual gifts the Bible names and which ones are still offered to Christians today. While it’s true that identifying your spiritual gift (gifts) is more an examination of yourself than an examination of the Bible, this doesn’t mean that you should leave the Bible out of the equation. To the contrary, you won’t have a clue which spiritual gifts are even potentially available to you as a Christian unless you consult the Bible and learn what it has to say on the subject. To help you with that, I would encourage you to read the previous two posts from this series if you haven’t already done so.
#2: You should make a list of the spiritual gifts that you KNOW you DON’T have and let that be a starting point for your self discovery. As you read over the Bible’s list of potential spiritual gifts, there will be some that will stand out as red flags to you. For example, if the very thought of you having to put together a plan to bring organization to a chaotic situation causes you to recoil, you can bank on the fact that you don’t have the spiritual gift of administrations/governments. You see, the gifts upon which you need to focus your attention are the ones for which you have an interest or at least a possible interest.
#3: You should try different areas of service to Christ and see which ones you do well. Do you have the gift of evangelism? The way to find out is to try your hand at evangelizing and see if you win anybody to Christ. Do you have the gift of leading/ruling? The way to find out is to try your hand at leading and see if anybody follows you. Do you have the spiritual gift of giving? The way to find out is to contribute abundantly to a church offering and see how losing that money makes you feel. You get the idea. A good way to identify your spiritual gift (gifts) is to employ the trial-and-error approach. Take a chance. Step out of your comfort zone. Try something new, and see how it goes. You never know what you’ll find out about yourself.
#4: You should ask other Christians who know you best what they feel your spiritual gift (gifts) might be. Fellow Christians can be invaluable resources in helping you identify which spiritual gift (gifts) you have. Because they’ve already seen not only your strengths but also your weaknesses on display, they can provide an accurate assessment of you. All you need from them is blunt honesty regarding your abilities.
#5: You should keep in mind that your spiritual gift will ring your “inner bell.” When you find yourself doing something that requires your spiritual gift to be put into operation, you’ll instinctively sense it deep down inside you. Even if the work itself is difficult in its requirements, it won’t be drudgery to you. Instead, it will produce a sense of joy, happiness, and contentment. You’ll feel like you are doing something you were put on this earth to do, and you’ll do it well. Those are God’s ways of ringing your “inner bell.”
Well, I hope these five simple tips help. Please don’t think that you identifying your spiritual gift (gifts) is some insurmountable task that you’ll never achieve. Just know that God will surely help you as you make your way through the process. Why wouldn’t He? It is, after all, to His benefit that you put your spiritual gift (gifts) into action. Since we’ve got far too many gifted Christians sitting on the sidelines already, there’s certainly nothing to be gained from God keeping you in the dark about your gift (gifts).