The apostle Paul puts it like this:
“Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good” (1 Corinthians 12:7).
That means that everyone who is following Jesus is given a spiritual gift that helps others. Paul, in the passage above mentions a number of gifts–miracles, faith, discernment of spirits, gifts of healing, prophecy, tongues, interpretation of tongues, the word of wisdom, the word of knowledge and faith. Those are just nine gifts that Paul mentions here; it’s not an exhaustive list either. Other gifts, like administration, mercy, teaching and other gifts are mentioned elsewhere in the New Testament.
What about you? What gifts do you have? In my work as a pastor, I am sometimes asked this by people. They want to know what gifts God has given them. I think there are perhaps three criteria to consider when thinking about what gifts you have:
- Passion. If you have an abiding desire to do something for God–express compassion, serve those in need, teach the scriptures–whatever–it can be an indication of giftedness.
- Effectiveness. When you exercise your energy in expressing this gift, you should see some effect from the thing you do. If it is sharing the gospel with those who do not know Christ, you should see some people coming to faith. If it is declaring God’s truth in a prophetic way, you might expect that repentance or faith or courage might follow such an expression.
- Affirmation. Finally, one should expect that others will bring some affirmation of your gift. It might mean that people will say that your expression of wisdom or presence and words during a difficult time or your timely expression of what you thought God was saying was accepted as God’s work through his Spirit.
That’s basically it. Ask yourself about your passions, your effectiveness and how others affirm you in the expression of what you feel compelled to do, and you’ll probably start to identify what your God-given, Spirit-imparted gifts are!