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Spiritual gifts are abilities that come out and develop as we start to obey and change for Jesus… Natural gifts refer to things that we normally do well, abilities that we’ve developed over the years; but Spiritual Gifts (SG’s) are the NEW abilities that come from the changes that Jesus make in our lives. So every now and then people ask, “so is — my spiritual gift?” Teaching, leading worship, counseling, organizing, miracle-working, truth-telling… and more. Here are four quick tests…
1. You bless people when you do it. SGs are incredibly fulfilling personally – but their purpose is to help OTHER people grow. So are other people growing and being blessed by your ability? When it comes to music and arts, people can enjoy listening to a good musician – but someone with the gift of leading worship actually helps people break through and worship God more deeply. This is different from “being a good singer” or playing an instrument.
2. You do it all the time on your own. You don’t have to be good at something for it to be a spiritual gift – but people always GET good at their SGs because they do it all the time. So, again with the SG of leading worship, you’d worship on your own ALL the time…and as a result you’d get pretty good at the musical side of it. People with the SG of “words of wisdom” would wind up being trusted confidants of all their friends…naturally. People with the SG of teaching would be those that others constantly seek out with questions… When it’s a spiritual gift you don’t NEED a particular role or position to exercise it – because you wind up using it all the time.
3. It’s Jesus powered. Real spiritual gifts only work when you’re plugged in to Jesus properly. They don’t entirely work on their own apart from active faith in Jesus (rather than trusting in one’s own goodness or ability).
4. It’s came as a surprise to you. I think the particular spiritual gifts often (but not always) come as a surprise to people. They’re often not the “gift” that we would have chosen for ourselves… which is part of what makes them so much fun. Like any good “gift” they’re somewhat unexpected. And they wind up stretching our understanding of God and ourselves.