Understanding Spiritual Gifts - Part 1


The first thing we need to understand about spiritual gifts is that they are not talents. Everyone is born with certain talents and abilities. That's why you don't have to be a Christian to be very talented and so often the two are confused.


Spiritual gifts are given to us by the Holy Spirit once we believe in Jesus and accept Him as our Lord and Savior.


1 Corinthians 12:4-11 outlines a list of spiritual gifts but most importantly it tells us in vs. 11 that the Holy Spirit distributes each of those gifts to us as He wills.


Now why do we receive spiritual gifts? There are two scriptures that I think give very clear reasons for why we receive spiritual gifts and they are:

  • Ephesians 4:12, "For the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry"

  • 1 Peter 4:10, "As each one has received a gift, minister it one to another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God"

Ok, so let's break these scriptures down on why we receive gifts

  1. Equipping the saints for the works of ministry - in other words, you need to be equipped to minister effectively.

  2. To minister to one another - the actual action of ministering. It's not enough to be equipped, you must do something with it.

  3. To be good stewards of God's grace - gifts are given by the grace of God and we operate in them, we are being good stewards of that which He gave us.

Now if spiritual gifts are not talents, what are they?

  • Spiritual gifts can better be described as motivations, drives or purpose/service and ministry/results and manifestations given to achieve Gods supernatural goals. So then, there is something that you are able to do naturally since birth, but once you are saved, the indwelling of the Holy spiritual causes that natural ability to now have a supernatural affect.

  • Ask yourself the following questions, "what motivates you?" Or what drives you?" or "What is your purpose?"

This is why two people will be able to sing, but one will have a great voice and the other will have an anointed voice; Because good singing is one thing, but having a supernatural affect is another.


With all of that said above, there are three types of gifts: Motivation, Ministry and Manifestation (for identifying these, read 1 Corinthians 12:4-7). Each Christian has one motivational and maybe multiple ministry and manifesting gifts.


This is so important for you to know, because once you identify your motivational gift, it will put your ministry and manifestation gifts into perspective and help you to identify not only how you should use them, but how others use them as well.


1 Corinthians 12:4-7

  • There are diversities of gift - one motivational gift

  • There are differences of ministries - multiple ministry gifts

  • There are differences of activities/manifestation - multiple manifestation gifts

Your motivational gift can also be known as your purpose. You only have one purpose in life, which is the reason why you exist or who you are. But you may have many ministry and manifestation gifts that move your purpose from one destination to another.


How do you know we only have one motivational gift?


Peter emphasized the singularity of one motivational gift in 1 Peter 4:10 where he said as each one has received "a" or in some translations "the" gift. So, then your many ministry and manifestation gifts have a singular (or one) motivation. That's why two people can come to a situation but be motivated to act on it in different ways, because there is diversity in our singular motivation.


As God give power through your motivational gift, the effects produced by it are the services/ministries or the results/manifestations of the Holy Spirit.


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