“But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good” (1 Corinthians 12:7).
God wants every Christian to understand spiritual gifts and use his or hers wisely.
A spiritual gift is a channel through which the Holy Spirit ministers to the Body of Christ (1 Cor. 12:11). The day we were born again into God’s family, His Spirit distributed to us a spiritual gift. Therefore, having a spiritual gift does not mean a believer is “spiritual.” What we really must ask is, “Is the channel clear?” Hypothetically, someone could have all the recorded spiritual gifts and not be using any of them. Or that believer could be greatly abusing some gifts. In either case, such a person would not be spiritual.
It is also incorrect to equate a natural ability with a spiritual gift. Someone might say, “My gift is baking pies”; another might say, “I’m good at playing the piano.” Those are wonderful and useful abilities, but they are natural abilities, not spiritual gifts.
Paul illustrates the difference between abilities and gifts. He could have used his knowledge of philosophy and literature to write and deliver great orations. However, this is what he said to the Corinthians: “I did not come with superiority of speech or wisdom, proclaiming to you the testimony of God. For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified” (1 Cor. 2:1-2). The Holy Spirit uses the abilities of people like Paul and speaks through them, but He expresses Himself in a supernatural way, which is not necessarily related to the person’s natural skills.
If we rely on our own ability to produce spiritual fruit, we hinder what the Spirit wants to do in us. Instead, ponder what Peter says about using your gift: “As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. Whoever speaks, let him speak, as it were, the utterances of God; whoever serves, let him do so as by the strength which God supplies; so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 4:10-11).
Suggestions for Prayer
Thank the Lord for the special spiritual gift He has given you. Ask that He would help you use it faithfully, to its full potential.
For Further Study
Read Romans 12:4-8 and list the spiritual gifts mentioned there. What does 1 Corinthians 12, especially verses 12-31, emphasize regarding the use of the various gifts within the church?