The Gifts of the Holy Spirit

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“Now, dear brothers and sisters, regarding your question about the special abilities the Spirit gives us. I don’t want you to misunderstand this.” 1 Corinthians 12:1

Devotional Thoughts

The Corinthian Church was in a mess. Many of them were argumentative, judgmental, and self centered. As He does with all Christians, the Holy Spirit had blessed each member with spiritual gifts, but they were not being used appropriately. Instead of being activated to minister to others and therefore glorify the Lord, they were being used for personal gain and selfish ambitions.

Obviously, one of the Corinthians had asked the Apostle Paul about spiritual gifts. Scripture doesn’t reveal to us the content of the question, but it does share Paul’s answer in 1 Corinthians 12:7. He writes, “A spiritual gift is given to each of us so we can help each other.” In other words, a spiritual gift is a special ability, given by the Holy Spirit to every believer at their conversion, to be used to minister to others and therefore build up the body of Christ.

Satan probably enjoyed the chaos and confusion in the Corinthian church over spiritual gifts. He wants you to be confused as well about the spiritual gifts the Lord has given you. Do not allow that to happen. Whenever you are tempted to use what God has given you for selfish reasons, stop and pray immediately, asking God to give you wisdom to use your gifts in a way that builds up the body of Christ.

Follow-Up Activity

Read 1 Corinthians 12. As you make your way through the chapter, underline or highlight specific verses which could help a person’s understanding of the gifts given to us by the Holy Spirit.

Prayer Focus:

Lord, thank You for giving us spiritual gifts. Help me to fully use mine to honor You by building up the body of Christ.

(This devotion is part of the Celebration Church HOLY OTHER devotion series. You can subscribe to that devotion series here: Celebration Church HOLY OTHER devotions

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Why Most People Misunderstand Spiritual Gifts

I once attended a worship service where the worship leader finished the worship set, sat down on the floor beside the pulpit, flapped her arms and clucked like a chicken, then rolled off of the stage where she continued to cluck periodically while the pastor was preaching.  Whenever she clucked extremely loud, the pastor would chuckle and say, “Don’t mind her.  It doesn’t bother me.  She’s just practicing her spiritual gift.”

Fortunately, her “spiritual gift” wore off just in time to lead the closing song.

Wow.

I believe that all of the spiritual gifts are valid for today (although I’ve never seen chicken clucking listed), but I do think that most people have a misunderstanding of spiritual gifts.

The Definition of a Spiritual Gift

A spiritual gift is a special ability, given by the Holy Spirit to every believer at conversion by the Holy Spirit, to share His love and strengthen the body of Christ.* 

If you feel like you don’t understand spiritual gifts, you’re not alone.  Apparently, there have been misunderstandings about spiritual gifts as long as there have been spiritual gifts.  The Apostle Paul even wrote:

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

Most people tend to think that God gives them spiritual gifts for their own benefit.  God loves us, right?  So, doesn’t it make sense that He would give us spiritual gifts to help us succeed in life?  However, the Bible actually indicates that the opposite is true.

God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another.  1 Peter 4:10 NLT

My pastor will often have every one read this scripture aloud with him, but will then insert the wrong words at the end, like this:

God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to “make a lot of money.”

God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to “make yourself look good in front of others.”

God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to “get ahead in life.”

People always laugh, but he makes a good point when he does this, especially when he has them read it one last time the correct way:

God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another. 

God wants us to use the gifts He has given us to serve one another, not ourselves.

Many years ago, a man walked up to me and vigorously pumped my arm.  He said, “Bob Smith, Evangelist!”  He then proceeded to tell me all about his ministry, but never once did he try to introduce me to Christ.  What’s wrong with this picture?

God gives us spiritual gifts so that we may serve one another, not so that we could strut around like a peacock, showing off to the rest of the world.

*Definition found in S.H.A.P.E.: Finding and Fulfilling Your Unique Purpose for Life by Erik Rees