Mark Alan Williams
Have You Opened Your Spiritual Gifts?
The joys of humbly assessing and using your spiritual gifts
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Before I opened my spiritual gifts, I have a vivid memory from a summer during college. A neighbor friend who knew I was attending Moody Bible Institute, watched me and heard some of my stories. One day he proclaimed, “I know what you’re going to do—you’re going to become a preacher.” Like Peter denying Jesus 3x before the cock crowed, I quickly said, “Naw, not me. I can’t imagine speaking in front of people.”
Incredible as it may seem, I very much like speaking in front of large groups of people. That’s the kind of change that happens when we open and develop our spiritual gifts.
It was just a year or so later that I answered God’s call to ministry and preaching. Seems like my neighbor, who I am not sure was a Christian, knew me better than I knew myself!
And guess what—nowadays I absolutely love to preach! (BTW, if you’d like to have me speak for your group, please see my personal Speaking Page.)
What changed my heart? I opened my spiritual gifts.
You see, they really are gifts. Not just assignments, or curses, or jobs to do, but gifts!
I’d like to share with you 3 reasons it’s wonderful to humbly assess and use your spiritual gifts:
01. Spiritual gifts bring us joy
“Now concerning spiritual gifts, brothers, I do not want you to be uninformed.” (1 Corinthians 12:1 ESV)
The Greek word translated “spiritual gifts” in this verse and others is CHARISMA. At its root is the Greek word CHARA which means “Grace: that which affords joy, pleasure, delight, sweetness, charm, loveliness.”
God wants us to be informed about and open our spiritual gifts so we can find “joy, pleasure, and delight.”
Perhaps you also shudder at the thought of speaking in front of crowds. Does that mean you are called to preach? No!
But if you are being called to preach, God will do a work in your heart to where you do love to preach.
Recently I sent a gift to some friends. It was a DVD of a movie called “Monumental.” Later I got a message of gratitude—my friends said they were just sitting down to watch the movie.
I delighted to think of them having the joy of watching the DVD. That’s why I gave that gift to them—to bring them joy.
And that’s why God gives us spiritual gifts—to bring us joy.
02. Because they are gifts, our spiritual gifts should help us stay humble.
“Because of the kindness that God has shown me, I ask you not to think of yourselves more highly than you should. Instead, your thoughts should lead you to use good judgment based on what God has given each of you as believers.” (Romans 12:3b GW)
If I earn something, I might have some excuse to feel prideful.
But if I’m given something as a gift, how can I be proud?
Do you get the picture? Gifts are not a basis for pride but for gratitude.
When in college, I had a so-so guitar. But a friend had a fancy Ovation guitar. She didn’t use it much and one day offered to give it to me so it could be used by the Lord through me. I accepted it and made a commitment to accept any invitation to use it for ministry. For years I led worship using that guitar.
I was quite pleased to use that guitar until it was stolen from our church in a burglary. But then the insurance purchased an even better guitar as a replacement!
If I was prideful about owning those guitars, that would have been stupid. They were gifts.
Likewise, if we are prideful of our spiritual gifts, that is stupid. They are gifts that we don’t deserve. We must humbly use them without pride.
03. When we open and use our spiritual gifts, we see ministries impacted and lives changed.
“As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace.” (1 Peter 4:10 ESV)
God wants us to open and use our spiritual gifts to impact His work on earth!
Whatever gift you have received, it is important and God wants to use it to impact people.
My Executive Assistant Patty helps me keep track of people’s birthdays so I can send a birthday greeting card. She has the gifts of administration and helps. When someone thanks us for remembering their birthday, it gives her joy to see the fruit of her labors.
It doesn’t matter what your gift is, you will see impact and that will bring joy!
You might have the gift of shepherding and find joy in caring for people.
You might have the gift of evangelism and love seeing people come to faith in Jesus.
If you have the gift of leadership, you’ll love leading a group to effectiveness and productivity.
It’s the same with any of the spiritual gifts.
For two sites with listings of spiritual gifts and helpful explanations click HERE or HERE. Both these sites also have a spiritual gifts inventory to help you discover your spiritual gifts.
In conclusion, if you are a Christian, God has given you a gift that you should use to bless others and thereby be blessed (1 Peter 4:10).
Don’t be timid, but don’t be prideful either. Just discover, open and use your gift to humbly serve the Lord and bless others. In doing so you will find joy.
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