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Spiritual Gifts: What They Are, How To Identify Yours And How To Use Them

Spiritual Gifts. As believers, we were given spiritual gifts when the Holy Spirit entered us.  Each of us, however, as created by God to be unique individuals, have unique gifts. Identifying your spiritual gifts and understanding them is key to learning where God would have you serve His people and where you will find joy.

For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. – Ephesians 2:10 

And in 1 Corinthians 12:1:

Now about the gifts of the Spirit, brothers and sisters, I do not want you to be uninformed. – 1 Corinthians 12:1

What Are Spiritual Gifts

Before we explore the spiritual gifts, let’s first explore what spiritual gifts are NOT:

  1. Natural aptitudes, strengths or abilities.

We all have natural abilities that we’ve learned from those around us regardless of Christian faith. Many times our natural abilities and strengths are redeemed by the Lord to become spiritual gifts.

2.  Character Traits 

We are all called to have character and our gifts should produce the nature of Jesus Christ in each persona. A person should not say he has the “gift of peace” when we are all encouraged to develop that characteristic. Spiritual gifts offer opportunities for us to exemplify Christ.

3.  Titles or positions

Spiritual gifts often lead to titles or positions but a person may have the gifts without the role or the role without the gift. Regardless, we should serve whenever we are given the opportunity. Working in the area of your gifting will allow you to be the person that God has called you to be rather than just doing good things.

4.  Self-promoting

Spiritual gifts are endowments given by God to His people for accomplishing His purpose on earth. Spiritual gifts are given for the glory of God.

spiritual gifts

How do you receive spiritual gifts?

  1.  Accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior
  2. Acquire faith and truth in the area of spiritual gifts
  3. Apply yourself to learning about spiritual gifts
  4. Ask the Lord to give you spiritual gifts

First, you must be a Christian and therefore one in whom the Holy Spirit dwells. Second, you must be doing the work of Christ, or, at any rate, be readily available for that work. You won’t receive spiritual gifts by locking yourself in the closet and praying for them until they show up, though it is certainly appropriate to ask God for the gifts you need. You won’t receive spiritual gifts if you live as a Christian couch potato, watching the action but never getting involved. You will receive extra bits of grace for ministry only when you step out in faith to minister.

How do you know what your spiritual gifts are?

Of course, you can pray and ask God to reveal them to you.  You can also take a spiritual gifts assessment.

Here are some online spiritual gifts assessments that you can take if you are interested in learning what your spiritual gifts are:

Church Growth

Spiritual Gifts Test

Gifts Test

S.H.A.P.E Test

And a few to help your children discover their spiritual gifts:

Spiritual Gifts Test for Youth

Kids Spiritual Gifts Survey

Spiritual Gifts Test for K-6

Your spiritual gifts may change a bit over the years, as mine have (spiritual gifts tie into your temperament and personality which matures and grows during your lifetime).

spiritual gifts

Types of Spiritual Gifts :

(Note: Some assessments and churches recognize just seven and others, twenty).  

Administration

The divine strength or ability to organize multiple tasks and groups of people to accomplish these tasks.

  • Detail oriented
    Develops strategies to reach a goal
    Can bring order out of chaos
    Action oriented
    Can build a successful system to bring about effective ministry
    Efficient/Thorough/Organized/Conscientious

(Luke 14:28-30, Acts 6:1-7, 1 Corinthians 12:28)

Apostleship

The divine strength or ability to pioneer new churches and ministries through planting, overseeing and training.

  • Builder, visionary, entrepreneurial spirit, pioneer

(Acts 15:22-25, 1 Corinthians 12:28, 2 Corinthians 12:12, Galatians 2:7-10, Ephesians 4:11-14)

Craftsmanship

The divine strength or ability to plan, build and work with your hands in construction environments to accomplish multiple ministry applications (some tests also consider craftiness and artistry in this gift).

  • Ability to work with your hands crafting materials such as wood, cloth, metal, stone, paint, paper or glass
    Enjoy the process of creating and seeing the results of the labor
    Enjoy seeing this gift meeting a tangible need in ministry
    Ability to make things that improve the effectiveness of others’ ministries
    Creative/Practical/Designer/Handy/Helpful/Resourceful/Behind-the-scenes

(2 Chronicles 34:9-13, Acts 18:2-3)

Discernment

The divine strength or ability to spiritually identify falsehood and to distinguish between right and wrong motives and situations. 

  • Listener to both God and man/perceiving/insightful/sees beneath the surface

(Matthew 16:21-23, Acts 5:1-11, 1 Corinthians 12:10)

spiritual gifts, using your spiritual gifts, spiritual gifts assessments

Evangelism

The divine strength or ability to help non-Christians take the necessary steps to becoming a born-again Christian.

  • Strong desire to share the good news of Christ with others
  • Ability to naturally turn a conversation toward Christ
  • Desires to build relationships with non-believers
  • Adaptable in presenting the good news of Christ to the various needs of others
  • Not afraid to challenge non-believers to follow Christ
  • Sincere/Bold/Candid/Confident

(Acts 8:5-6, Acts 8:26-40, Ephesians 4:11-14)

Exhortation

The divine strength or ability to encourage others through the written or spoken word and biblical truth.

  • Perceptive to the needs of others
  • Comes alongside of discouraged and hurting people to comfort and strengthen
  • Loves to point people toward God and His promises for hope
  • Motivates others to grow
  • Tends to have people see them out for counsel and support
  • Positive/Compassionate/Motivating/Supportive/Sensitive

(Acts 14:22, Romans 12:8, 1 Timothy 4:13)

Faith

The divine strength or ability to believe in God for unseen supernatural results in every area of life.

  • A deep commitment to Scripture/resilient faith/ unquestioning faith in God

(Acts 11:22-24, Romans 4:18-21, 1 Corinthians 12:9)

Giving

The divine strength or ability to produce wealth and to give by tithe and offerings for the purpose of advancing the Kingdom of God on earth.

  • Desire to give toward growth in God’s Kingdom
    Does not seek fanfare and recognition
    May have a special ability to make money and therefore able to give more to God
    Effective in managing their money
    Generous giving brings real joy to their lives
    Sacrificial/Informed/Disciplined/Resourceful/Charitable

(Mark 12:41-44, Romans 12:8, 2 Corinthians 8:1-7)

Spiritual Gifts: What They Are, How To Identify Yours And How To Use Them

Healing

The divine strength or ability to act as an intermediary in faith, prayer and by the laying on of hands for the healing of physical and mental illnesses.

  • A deep belief in Gods compassion and power/Merciful-empathetic /Attentive/Insightful

(Acts 3:1-10, Acts 9:32-35, 1 Corinthians 12:9)

Helps

The divine strength or ability to work in a supportive role for the accomplishment of tasks in Christian ministry.

  • Behind the scenes service to others
  • Sensitive to the needs of others and willing to help meet those needs
  • Serving is the heartbeat of their lives
  • Sees serving as a spiritual discipline
  • Helpful/Willing/Dependable/Practical/“Whatever it takes”

(Mark 15:40-41, Acts 9:36, Romans 16:1-2)

Hospitality

The divine strength or ability to create warm, welcoming environment for others in places such as your home, office or church.

  • Ability to create an atmosphere of warmth where people feel welcome, loved and cared for
  • Help new people feel welcome
  • Create an environment where fellowship can be experience and relationships built
  • Help people feel at ease in a new and unfamiliar setting
  • Friendly/Sensitive/Inviting/Trusting/Warm/Caring

(Acts 16:14-15, Romans 12:13, Hebrews 13:1-2)

Intercession

The divine strength or ability to stand in the gap in prayer for soeone, something or someplace, believing profound results.

  • Believe in and experience the power of prayer
  • Feel led to pray for something even if there is no clear explanation as to why
  • Aware of the spiritual battles going on every day
  • Willing to spend time in daily personal prayer
  • Eagerly looks for answers to prayers
  • Persistent/Consistent/Humble/Spiritually Sensitive/Advocate

(Hebrews 7:25, Colossians 1:9-12, James 5:14-16)

Knowledge

The divine strength or ability to understand and to bring clarity to situations and circumstance often accompanied by a word from God.

  • Ability to think analytically and objectively
  • Loves to dig into Scripture to discover new insights
  • Able to organize information for practical use and teaching
  • Confident that biblical truth can transform lives
  • Inquisitive/Responsive/Discerning/Studious/Observant/Insightful

(Acts 5:1-11, 1 Corinthians 12:8, Colossians 2:2-3)

spiritual gifts hands on Bible

Leadership

The divine strength or ability to influence people at their level while directing and focusing them on the big picture, vision or idea.

  • Goal/Vision oriented/Determined/Able to inspire others to follow

(Romans 12:8, 1 Timothy 3:1-13, Hebrews 13:17)

Mercy

The divine strength or ability to feel empathy and to are for those who are hurting in any way.

  • Ability to discern the pain in others
  • Could have suffering in your past that heightens your level of empathy
  • Able to come alongside the hurting and respond in an appropriate manner
  • Feels for and serves the lonely and outcasts
  • Serve cheerfully in situations where the conditions are difficult and desperate
  • Empathetic/Caring/Responsive/Listener/Compassionate/Loving/Sensitive

(Matthew 9:35-26, Mark 9:41, 1 Thessalonians 5:14)

Miracles

The divine strength or ability to alter the natural outcome of life in a supernatural way.

  • Prophetic/boldness/steeped in scripture/unquestioning faith in God

(Acts 9:36-42, Romans 15:18-19, 1 Corinthians 12:10)

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Missionary

The divine strength or ability to reach others outside of your culture and nationality, while in some cases living in that culture or nation.

  • An intense feeling of unease at the thought of all the unsaved people in the world
  • Adapt themselves and core Biblical principles to different surroundings by being culturally sensitive and aware
  • Ability to reach out to people groups of a different ethnicity, language, or cultural background
  • Establish meaningful relationships with people of other nationalities or cultures
  • Desire to minister to unreached people in other communities or countries

(Acts 8:4, Acts 13:2-3, Romans 10:15)

Music/Worship

The divine strength or ability to sing, dance, or play and instrument primarily for the purpose of helping others worship God.

  • Have a passion for leading others in worship by using the gift of music
  • Asked to play, sing, or use talents for God in a worship service
  • Creative/“Artsy”/Musical/Worshipful/Passionate

(Deuteronomy 31:22, 1 Samuel 16:16, Psalm 150)

 

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Pastor/Shepherd

The divine strength or ability to care for the personal need of others by nurturing and mending life issues.

  • Loves being with and ministering to people
  • People rather than task-oriented
  • Is energized by helping and supporting others in their walk with Christ
  • Models with lifestyle what it means to be a follower of Christ
  • Develops trust through long-term relationships
  • Influencer, Relational, Guide, Protective, Supportive

(John 10:1-18, Ephesians 4:11-14, 1 Timothy 3:1-7)

Prophecy

The divine strength or ability to boldly speak and bring clarity to scriptural and doctrinal truth, in some case foretelling God’s plan. 

  • Speak God’s word to others, or more appropriately to be open for God to speak God’s word through us.
  • Prophets do not predict the future, but offer insight and perspective on current conditions and how things might turn out if changes aren’t made.
  • Prophets are incisive, clear, and often controversial, communicators.
  • Prophets see things that others often don’t, and they have the courage to “tell it like it ought to be.”

(Acts 2:37-40, 1 Corinthians 14:1-4, 1 Thessalonians 1:5)

Service

The divine strength or ability to do small or great tasks in working for the overall good of the body of Christ.

  • Willing to serve behind the scenes to support the ministries of others
  • Ability to see the practical things that need to be done and do them
  • Thrives on helping others – It is what motivates
  • Attaches spiritual value to practical service
  • Enjoys knowing that what they do frees others up to fulfill God’s call on their life
  • Available/Willing/Faithful/Practical/“Whatever It Takes” attitude

 

(Acts 6:1-7, Romans 12:7, Galatians 6:10)

Spiritual gifts, using your spiritual gifts, spiritual gifts assessment

Teaching

The divine strength or ability to study and learn from the scriptures primarily to bring understanding and depth to other Christians. 

  • Communicate God’s Word in a powerful and practical way
  • Ability to challenge others to study and apply God’s Word
  • Desire to give attention to detail and accuracy
  • Willing to take the time to study God’s Word in order to be prepared to teach
  • Disciplined/Practical/Analytical/Articulate/Teachable

(Acts 18:24-28, 1 Corinthians 12:28, Ephesians 4:11-14)

Tongues (and Interpretation)

The divine strength or ability to pray in a heavenly language to encourage your spirit and to commune with God. The gift of tongues is often accompanied by interpretation and should be used appropriately.

  • This is a miraculous or “sign” gift
  • Can be used as a personal prayer language
  • Speaking a language that the speaker has never learned before
  • Can be used to deepen their relationship with God
  • Used with the gift of interpretation of tongues can encourage those who hear it

(Acts 2:1-13, 1 Corinthians 12:10, 1 Corinthians 14:1-14)

Wisdom

The divine strength or ability to apply the truths of scripture in a practical way, producing the fruitful outcome and character of Jesus Christ.

  • Focus on the unseen consequences as they determine the next steps to take
  • Receive an understanding of what is necessary to meet the needs of others
  • Provide God-given solutions in the midst of conflict and confusion
  • Hear God’s direction in a given situation
  • Apply spiritual truth in specific and practical ways

(Acts 6:3, Acts 6:10, 1 Corinthians 2:6-13)

Now that you know what your spiritual gifts are, what’s next?

  • Investigate your feelings
  • Identify opportunities
  • Inspect your results
  • Put them to use

 

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At most of the churches I’ve been a member of since I was saved, the church had a formal process regarding spiritual gifts. Usually, taking a spiritual gifts assessment during a new member class then meeting with a pastor to get plugged in to ministry opportunities where members could use their spiritual gifts.

If your church doesn’t offer this, take one of the spiritual gifts assessments above and spend time in prayer asking God how you are called to use the gifts given to you by the Holy Spirit.

Meet with your pastor and ask for his advice on where you can serve the body of Christ to use your spiritual gifts.

Spiritual gifts are often used to serve the church and the church body, but you may also wish to use your gifts outside of your church home such as volunteering, starting a Bible study in your home, praying for neighbors and friends, sharing the gospel, starting a card ministry.  The way in which you can use your spiritual gifts are endless.

If you try one ministry opportunity and it doesn’t feel right, try another.

Ask God to reveal to you your spiritual gifts and where He would have you use them.

I recently retook the spiritual gifts assessment and found that I had four dominant spiritual gifts:

Administration

Craftsmanship

Faith

Knowledge

All make perfect sense as a Christian author and speaker and mixed media and paper artist.

I use my gifts to help with church events, encourage others by sending cards and notes of encouragement and serving in other church ministries.

Have you taken a spiritual gifts assessment? What are your spiritual gifts? How are you using them?  Tell me in the comments below or email me at: sue@womanofnoblecharacter.com – I’d love to hear about it!

Because of Him,

Sue

Spiritual Gifts: What They Are, How To Identify Yours And How To Use Them

Spiritual Gifts: What They Are, How To Identify Yours And How To Use Them

Susan is a writer, speaker and the creator of Women of Noble Character ministries. She is passionate about helping Christian women live a Proverbs 31 life in today’s world. The Lord laid upon her heart to serve women to grow in Christ, improve their marriages and manage their homes stress-free. She provides tools and resources on her website for Christian women to grow in their faith, deepen their relationship with their husbands and manage their homes well.

She lives in rural North Central Missouri with her handsome and hilarious husband and a myriad of dogs, cats and chickens.

Susan runs on Jesus, coffee and not enough sleep.
susanjnelson