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DISCOVERING YOUR SPIRITUAL GIFT

Wherefore I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up the gift of God, which is in thee by the putting on of my hands. (II Timothy 1:6)

It is important to discover your spiritual gift in order to:

ACCOMPLISH SPIRITUAL PURPOSES AND OBJECTIVES:

You will recall the purposes and objectives of gifts of the Holy Spirit given in Ephesians 4:12-15:

Purposes:

-Perfect the saints.
-Promote the work of the ministry.
-Edify Christ.

Objectives:

-We will become united in the faith.

-We will develop our knowledge of Christ.

-We will develop in perfection, with Christ as our model.

-We will become stable, not deceived by false doctrines.

-We will mature spiritually in Christ.

CONDUCT SPIRITUAL WARFARE:

The gifts of the Holy Spirit are also given as weapons of spiritual warfare to fight the spiritual forces of Satan:

For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. (Ephesians 6:12)

It is important to discover and use your spiritual gift in order to effectively fight your spiritual enemy, Satan.

AVOID ABUSES:

There are three ways spiritual gifts can be abused:

1. Not using those gifts given to you.

2. Attempting to use gifts not given to you.

3. Not using the gifts properly.

It is important to discover your spiritual gift in order to avoid these abuses.

AVOID FRUSTRATION:

Many new believers often plunge into ministry without knowing their spiritual gifts, experiencing frustration and defeat as they try to work for the Lord. You, too, will be frustrated if you do not discover your own spiritual gift.

Discovering your spiritual gift will not only keep you from being frustrated with yourself, it will also keep you from being frustrated with other Believers.

ASSUME YOUR RESPONSIBILITY:

It is important to discover your spiritual gift because you have a responsibility to "stir up" and use it. The Apostle Paul wrote Timothy:

Neglect not the gift that is in thee...(I Timothy 4:14)

Wherefore I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up the gift of God, which is in thee by the putting on of my hands. (II Timothy 1:6)

You must discover your spiritual gift in order to fulfill your responsibility to develop it. You must know your gift in order to set priorities which permit you to use it productively.

DISCOVERING YOUR SPIRITUAL GIFT

The following guidelines will help you discover your spiritual gift or gifts:

STEP ONE - Be Born Again:

You must be born again. Spiritual gifts come through the new birth just as natural talents come through natural physical birth. If you are never born in the natural world you will not have natural talents. If you are not born again in the spiritual world you cannot be given spiritual gifts:

Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. (Acts 2:38)

STEP TWO - Receive The Baptism Of The Holy Spirit.

STEP THREE - Know The Spiritual Gifts:

If you do not know what spiritual gifts exist, you will not be able to recognize the one(s) God has given you.

STEP FOUR - Observe Models Of The Gifts:

As you are considering what gifts you might have, it is helpful to observe mature models of the various gifts. A "mature model" of a spiritual gift is a believer who has been effectively using a gift for an extended period of time.

For example, talk with a mature Believer who has the gift of teaching. Question them as to how they knew they had the gift, how they began to use it, and ways they are continuing to develop their gift. Do the same for the other gifts. Learning how others discovered their gifts and observing mature models of the gifts in action will help you identify your own gift.

STEP FIVE - Seek A Spiritual Gift:

Desire a gift and fast and pray for it. The Bible tells us to seek spiritual gifts:

But covet [desire, seek] earnestly the best gifts... (I Corinthians 12:31)

We each have at least one gift, but this verse implies we can also seek a gift which we do not now possess.

STEP SIX - Laying On Of Hands:

Have your spiritual mentor to lay hands on you and pray for God to reveal your spiritual gift:

Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery. (I Timothy 4:14)

Note: As a result of Steps One through Six God may reveal your spiritual gift. If this does not happen, proceed with the following steps.

STEP SEVEN - Analyze Your Spiritual Interests:

The areas in which you find great joy in serving God are often those for which He has gifted you. Just as a gift you receive in the natural world brings joy, so do spiritual gifts. You must have a "passion" or "burden" [great interest or desire] for a certain ministry in order to serve God effectively.

What kind or group of people do you feel most attracted to?

(If you are called to a particular group of people, your spiritual gift will relate to their need. For example, if you feel a call to children and want to see them learn about God, you may have the gift of teaching).

What areas of need cause a strong emotional stirring in you?

(When God calls you to meet a specific need, you will often feel a strong emotional stirring within).

If you could not fail, what would you desire to do for the Lord?

(God honors personal desires).

Complete this sentence: "I have a growing restless conviction from within that I should get involved in..."

(Such convictions are often God speaking to your spirit about an area in which He wants you to serve).

I am certain God has definitely called me to a specific area of ministry. It is...

(If you know the specific area of ministry to which God has called you, it will be easy to determine your spiritual gift. God always provides the necessary gifts to enable you to fulfill the call.).

What gifts bring you the most joy in thinking about them or using them? (For example, do you enjoy teaching? Do you enjoy being hospitable and having people into your home? Are you often moved to give large sums of money to God's work?)

STEP EIGHT - Analysis By A Christian Leader:

Have a Christian leader analyze your spiritual abilities. Ask the following questions and record the answers:

In what areas of Christian service have you observed me to be effective?

Based upon this observation of my effectiveness, what spiritual gifts do you believe I might have?

STEP NINE - Analyze Your Past Christian Service:

Analyze your past ministry. Answer these questions:

In what areas of Christian service have you ministered in the past?

In which of these were you effective?

In which of these did you experience great joy in serving?

In which of these did your spiritual leader and/or others note your effectiveness?

STEP TEN - Identify Gifts You Think You Might Have:

Identify the gifts you think you might have based on:

The knowledge of gifts you have obtained through study.

What God has revealed to you through prayer.

What you have analyzed in yourself.

What a key Christian leader has observed in your life.

Analysis of your effectiveness in areas of ministry in which you have previously served.

STEP ELEVEN - Identify Spiritual Needs:

Analyze the spiritual needs of your neighborhood, and community. Review this list of needs:

Visitation: Sick, hospital, widows, prisons, bereaved, persons with disabilities, home for elderly, elderly shut-ins.

Evangelism: House-to-house, or share the Gospel when you are out and about.

Follow Up Ministry: To new converts.

Counseling: General counseling or to specific groups; telephone counseling.

Office/administrative Support: Typing, drawing [art], filing, assembling, reproducing materials, mailings, telephones, records.

Hospitality: Cooking meals and lodging for those in need.

Ministry To Poor: Providing food, clothing, shelter.

Maintenance: Helping people with landscaping, painting, carpentry, electrical, plumbing, cleaning.

Music: Choir, instruments, song leader, special music groups, soloist, writing music.

Religious Dramatic Productions. Writing or producing Biblical dramas.

Financial: Giving to the Work of the Lord, buying Bibles to give away.

Writing: Creating tracts.

Multi-media: Creating and managing websites that share the Gospel.

Ministry To Special Groups: Deaf, blind, mentally ill, narcotic addicts, alcoholics, migrant workers, gangs, unwed mothers, homosexuals, persons with disabilities, women, men, families, married couples, abused children, runaways, school dropouts, illiterate, prisoners, military, children, youth, aged.

Answer these questions:

What needs are not being met in your neighborhood?

What needs are not being met in your community?

What needs are not being met in your church?

STEP TWELVE - Fill A Spiritual Need:

The analysis you have completed will be of no benefit unless you apply it to your life and ministry. To "apply" something means to use it effectively, to actually do something with it.

Compare a list of spiritual needs a the list of gifts you believe God has given you. Identify a spiritual need that corresponds with the gift you believe you have, then make a commitment to fill this need.

Matching Spiritual Gifts With Needs

I believe I have the gift (spiritual) that can meet this need in my neighborhood:

___Apostle _________________________

___Prophet _________________________

___Evangelist _______________________

___Pastor __________________________

___Teacher _________________________

___Prophecy ________________________

___Teaching ________________________

___Exhortation ______________________

___Word of Wisdom __________________

___Word of Knowledge ________________

___Serving _________________________


I believe I have the gifts (spiritual) to meet this need in my neighborhood:

___Helps ___________________________

___Leadership _______________________

___Administration ____________________

___Giving ___________________________

___Showing Mercy ____________________

___Discerning of Spirits ________________

___Faith ____________________________

___Hospitality ________________________

___Tongues __________________________

___Interpretation _____________________

___Miracles __________________________

___Healings __________________________


STEP THIRTEEN - Evaluate Your Ministry:

After serving awhile in this area with your gift, evaluate your ministry. You have discovered and are showing proper stewardship of your spiritual gift...

-When you are fruitful in the area in which you are serving. This means you will see positive results of your ministry.

-When you are fulfilled...you are enjoying your ministry. If you are frustrated, you may not be serving in an area for which you are gifted.

-When the feedback [comments you receive from your spiritual mentors] indicate you are effective in the position in which you are serving.

If the ministry you are filling does not fit your spiritual capabilities and you are ineffective, review your list of possible gifts and ask God to show you another area in which to minister.

FOR FURTHER STUDY

God always provides the gifts necessary to enable you to fulfill your spiritual calling. How can you know if you are called? Study the following pattern demonstrated in the call of Moses:

God Provides The Direction:

Read Exodus 3:1-4. The first principle of recognizing a call from God is to understand that God takes the initiative. He has the responsibility to communicate to you what He wants you to do.

You do not have to run around in frustration trying to find out what God wants you to do. You do not have to take an opinion poll among your friends to see what they think you should do. It is God's responsibility to clearly communicate His call to you. Your responsibility is to fulfill that call once it has been given. A true call from God is not something you decide to do on your own or that others think you should do.

You Will Have A Burden:

For years, Moses had a deep burden in his heart for his people, Israel. He felt so strongly about this that he had even murdered an Egyptian and that is why he was in the wilderness (Exodus 2:11-15). When you are called by God to a specific ministry, you will feel a deep burden, interest, concern, and compassion in that area.

You Will Receive A God-Given Plan:

Burden, interest, concern, and compassion alone are not enough to fulfill the call of God. In addition to providing direction and burden, God will communicate a plan to enable you to fulfill your calling.

Here is where many people fail. They receive a call and a burden from God, but they rush off to try to fulfill this call without waiting for God to communicate His plan. God gave Moses a plan. He and Aaron were to appear before Pharaoh and gain the release of the Israelites. They were then to lead them through the wilderness to the land which God had promised them. When God gives you a call and a burden, wait until you receive His plan for fulfilling your ministry.

You Will Have A Sense Of Inadequacy:

In Exodus 3:8, you can readily see the inadequacy Moses felt. He said "Who am I, that I should go unto Pharaoh, and that I should bring forth the children of Israel out of Egypt?"

When you receive a true call from God, you will always feel inadequate. (If you feel self-sufficient for a task...be careful. It most likely is not a true call from God!) When God calls you, you will sense weakness, inadequacy, and need. You will not feel qualified to do what He has called you to do, and you will be overwhelmed by the challenge.

You are in good company! Great men and women of God throughout the centuries have felt the same way. But those who fulfilled their calling despite their inadequacies believed God was adequate. God answered Moses in Exodus 3:12, saying .”..certainly I will be with thee." God is not looking for those who feel self sufficient.

It is not who you are that is important, but who God is!

Study the lives of other Bible personalities and you will discover this same pattern in their call from God. For examples, read about the call of Gideon in Judges 6 and the call of Jeremiah in Jeremiah l.

The following checklist will assist you in completing the practical steps for discovering your spiritual gift which were given in this chapter:

____I have been born again.

_____I have received the baptism of the Holy Spirit.

____I can identify the various spiritual gifts.

____I have observed mature models of the gifts.

____I have sought a spiritual gift by fasting and prayer.

____I have had my spiritual mentors lay hands on me and ask God to reveal my gift(s).

____I have analyzed my spiritual interests.

____I have been analyzed by my spiritual leader.

____ I have analyzed my past Christian service.

____I have completed the spiritual gift questionnaires.

____I have identified the spiritual gifts I believe I might have.

____I have identified spiritual needs in my home, and community.

____I have matched my gift to a need and begun to fill it.

____I have evaluated my ministry in this area and found it to be effective.