Does every believer have a spiritual gift? There is so much confusion regarding spiritual gifts and talents. Can you clarify this? I genuinely believe I don’t have any spiritual gifts. If the answer to the first question is yes, how do I identify what my gift is?
There is a whole lot of material that we have to cover while answering these queries. Many clarifications need to be made with regard to sign gifts that have ceased (like apostles, prophets, tongues etc), and there are gifts that require explanation (like gifts of faith, wisdom, knowledge, discernment of spirits etc).
Since those issues are outside the scope of the questions asked, we will answer this query in three different segments:
Many of us are unaware of the difference between talents and spiritual gifts and often confuse the two or use them interchangeably.
Talents are abilities that pertain to particular skills that can be used for career, service or mere entertainment. Examples include singing, playing musical instruments, athletics and art, as well as expertise in computers, graphic design, animation, creative writing etc, to name just a few.
Spiritual gifts, on the other hand, are a set of divinely enabled tasks and functions that are given to those who belong to Christ and are exercised for the edification and building up of the body of Christ.
Spiritual gifts are a set of divinely enabled functions given to those in Christ for the edification of the body of Christ
In four different passages in Scripture — namely, Romans 12, 1 Corinthians 12, Ephesians 4 and 1 Peter 4 — we see a total of 19 different spiritual gifts listed. They are as follows:
Based on the list above, we cannot say that singing or drawing is our spiritual gift. We can say, however, that spiritual leadership in church or service in church are spiritual gifts.
Here are the significant similarities and differences between talents and gifts:
– Both talents and spiritual gifts are given by God and it is God who decides who gets what, when it comes to either.
– Both talents and spiritual gifts need to be exercised and put into use in order to be better used by those who possess it.
– Both talents (all types of talents in society) and spiritual gifts (all types in churches today) need to co-exist and complement each other for the smooth functioning of the relevant sphere.
– Talents are what people receive at the time of their physical birth, but gifts are what they receive at the time of their spiritual birth.
– All people, irrespective of their relationship with Jesus, possess various talents — whereas spiritual gifts are something only believers can have.
Every person in whom the Spirit of God dwells confesses the Lordship of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:1-3). Every person converted to a saint through Jesus Christ is made to be a part of the body of Christ by being baptised into one body (1 Corinthians 12:12-13).
Every true believer has at least one (or more than one) spiritual gift, and God empowers each person to use the gift given
With the group of believers being made one body and each believer being an individual member of that one body (Romans 12:4-5; 1 Corinthians 12:27), God the Holy Spirit gives each one a spiritual gift or multiple spiritual gifts as He wills (1 Corinthians 12:11) in accordance with common grace (Romans 12:6), so that by the exercising of each spiritual gift, the body is built up (1 Corinthians 14:26).
From 1 Corinthians 12-14 and other references in Romans, Ephesians and 1 Peter, we know the following facts.
Anyone who doesn’t have a spiritual gift is not a member of God’s people and, by definition, he or she is not a born again person.
Everyone is born with some talents that they find an interest in doing in connection with their aptitude. We don’t discover these the moment we are born. Rather, we discover our innate talents as we progress through life — perhaps in childhood or teenagehood — by being a part of society that seeks to identify the skills we are interested in.
Schools do this through various means like competitions and other activities to help them gauge the capabilities of students. Alternatively, children will discover their favourite hobbies on their own. They take up several pursuits that may work or may not work out. Skills are thus identified voluntarily or by trial and error by people themselves.
Do not be frustrated if you haven’t already identified what your spiritual gift is
With regards to spiritual gifts, we learn the following:
May God enable us to take our spiritual gifts seriously through the Holy Spirit, so that we benefit the body of Christ for the glory of the Father.
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