Everyone likes to receive gifts. Every parent dreads the moment on Christmas morning at 3 AM when their children attack them in their beds demanding to open presents. But unlike getting gifts for ourselves to enjoy, the gifts of the Spirit are not for us. They are for everyone else.
We are beginning a new blog series on the gifts of the Spirit. There’s a wide spectrum of churches that don’t believe in the gifts to churches that welcome the gifts in every service and meeting.
But before we get to talking about specific gifts or how we can use them to bless the body of Christ, we must answer a fundamental question. What are the gifts of the Spirit? Why are they important? And what else do we need to know about the gifts?
This series will answer many of your questions about the gifts of the Spirit. But if I don’t answer one of your questions, please let me know by emailing me or contacting me on social media so I can make sure I answer your questions about the gifts. Let’s get started!
Infused by the Holy Spirit
When we think about the gifts, many people have questions. Many people don’t come from a charismatic or Pentecostal background. And they think that’s the only place they would ever hear about the gifts of the Spirit.
But the gifts of the Spirit are in the Bible. Anyone who reads the New Testament especially will come across the gifts and wonder about them. Some common questions revolve around trying to define the gifts.
After all, some people have natural talents that amaze us, and we say they have a gift. Other people have abilities that astound the mind and we see they have a gift. These talents and abilities can be athletic, intellectual, and even intuitive.
I saw one question from a person who asked the difference between spiritual gifts and their fruits (Philippians 4:17). When Paul mentions gifts in this passage, he refers to financial gifts from the Gentile churches to bless the Jerusalem church that had fallen on hard times. But in this series we speak of spiritual gifts.
Some people have suggested gifts of the Spirit found in the Bible to be psychic abilities or psychological disorders. But the gifts of the Spirit I’m nothing like that. The Spirit infuses for the benefit of His saints.
The gifts of the Spirit do not make you a psychic. Words of knowledge and words of wisdom, probably the closest anyone within to be in a psychic, are the Holy Spirit speaking through people with those gifts.
They are not channeling spiritual forces or demonic influences. “Channeling” is a New Age term. The Spirit is very sensitive to claiming His gifts and activities come from demons. That is blasphemy of the Spirit, and it comes with hefty penalties.
We will discuss later the ecstatic nature some of the Old Testament prophets exhibited when the Holy Spirit came upon them. But people who use the gifts are rather being ministered through by the Spirit. It is He ministering through them, not them controlling Him. They don’t have psychological disorders.
The Holy Spirit infuses our personalities, talents, abilities, and anything else God has given us from birth with His gifts. Only God’s Spirit can make this and hence meant for His purposes and ministry. God gives us talents and abilities that benefit us, make us individuals, and help us stand out.
But the gifts He gives beyond talents and abilities. They are ways for the Holy Spirit to minister to others through us. Talents and abilities give us essential tools to be successful. But gifts give us the opportunity to receive the ministry of the Spirit and be a part of what God is doing.
Distributed by the Spirit
We will also go deeper into understanding how the Holy Spirit distributes the gifts among His people later in our series. But we must be clear that the Holy Spirit gives the gifts to us. He chooses which he wants to give.
Although it’s not up to me, I’d like to think the Spirit knows us so well that he knows exactly which gifts go with our personality. He knows what fits us the best. We must trust His judgment, for it is better than our own.
We cannot choose our own gifts. Paul has a discussion about how each gift is important to the body (1 Corinthians 12:14-26). We may not like our gift because we think it is not very useful or that it’s the wrong gift for us. But we may have the wrong motives for the gifts we really want.
We must become comfortable with the gifts the Holy Spirit gives us. He knows what He’s doing. Besides that, we are in His service. We must humbly accept His gifts for us. And in time we understand they fit as perfectly and we fit in to the body.
Different Gifts for Different People
In that same passage where Paul teaches us to be pleased with the gifts the Spirit gives us, He also describes the body as having many members. Each person in the community of faith has a gift to give to others.
If we all have the same gift, we would receive only one ministry from the Spirit. But the Spirit gives various gifts to those around us to minister to us. The Holy Spirit speaks through them and their gifts to us.
He also uses your gift to minister to those around you. The body has many parts, and the body of Christ has many members with their gifts to contribute. So you may not think your gifts are important or helpful, but we all need every gift from every person among us.
The Holy Spirit has great wisdom in distributing the gifts as He has. He has the foresight to minister to and through us with His gifts. He speaks authoritatively to each of us through the gifts. And I am not only speaking of prophecy, words of knowledge and wisdom, or tongues and interpretation. He can speak through the gifts of service and any other gift.
Found throughout the Bible
Because God does not change (James 1:17; Hebrews 13:8), the gifts of the Holy Spirit appear throughout the Old and New Testaments. In the Old Testament, the Spirit came upon people and they sometimes showed certain gifts of the Spirit.
But in the beginning of the church age, in the New Testament, the Holy Spirit dwells in saints. He directs their path and gives them gifts to be used for His glory and purposes. In the New Testament, you receive the clearest teaching on the gifts and their operation.
This is where most of the teaching in these posts will come from. You can find lists of the gifts and teaching on them in Romans 12:3-8, 1 Corinthians 12-14, Ephesians 4:11, and 1 Peter four:-11. They range from leadership gifts to spiritual gifts.
At least one of my posts will talk about the gifts of the Spirit from the Old Testament. We will discuss what some of the Old Testament prophets, other prophets, and others did when the Spirit came upon them.
Throughout this series, we will answer many questions about the gifts of the Spirit. I hope it will help you as you seek the gifts of the Holy Spirit has for you and learn how to use them effectively for Him.
We are just scratching the surface as we introduce this new Seek the Gifts series. May the Lord bless you as we dive deeper into the gifts and why they are so necessary and important for the Church today. If you have questions about the gifts at any point, you can comment and ask them, and I will cover the answers to your questions throughout the series.
We have discussed the gifts generally to introduce our series. But now we’re going to ask an important question based on your spiritual background, the denomination you grew up in, and your own studies of the gifts. Next, we will ask, “Are the gifts of the Spirit for today?”