What about Gifts and Spiritual Abilities?
One of our priorities as a church is to help each one of us to discover, develop, and use our God given abilities and gifts in order to serve him and his church in both spiritual and practical ways. Serving one another through love in action.
Abilities and Gifts fall into three categories
In the New Testament part of the Bible we can find three lists of abilities and gifts:
1: Spiritual Abilities we ahve from God. (See Romans 12:6-8)
2: The Holy Spirit's Supernatural Gifts for God's people. (See 1Corinthians 12:8-10)
3: Christ's Ministry Gifts to His Church. (See Ephesians 4:11)
Of these three categories, the most basic, and fundamental to our Christian service, are the God given Spiritual Abilities mentioned in Romans 12:6-8; and it is this category that we are dealing with in this leaflet.
God's Spiritual Abilities
We are all born with abilities of one sort or another in order that we can function and contribute to the world around us. In the same way, when we become a Christian, we are given God-like, Spiritual Abilities so that we can function in God's Church, doing the things He wants us to do the way He wants them done.
Here is the list of these Spiritual Abilities as they appear in Romans 12:6-8, together with a short explanation:
(a): Prophecy. Well prepared sermons that proclaim God's Word in a way that brings results.
(b): Serving. Giving practical assistance to the church and to each member of the church so that they can function properly.
(c): Teaching. In-depth Bible teaching with special emphasis on proper communication, the right meaning of words etc.
(d): Encouragement. Personal counselling and encouragement for each church member with a view to assisting them in the application of Scriptural principles in daily living.
(e): Giving. Sharing in a generous programme of financial assistance to missionary work and internal ministries of the church.
(f): Leading. Smooth running organisation throughout the church so that every phase of activity will be carried out decently and in order.
(g): Caring - Acts of Mercy. Special ministry of concern in order to discover the precise and varying feelings of individuals in the church, and a readiness to help in meeting needs.
Natural or Spiritual?
All the above abilities are God given, God-like qualities. However, as you look at the list you will see parallels with natural abilities (teaching, leading, caring, etc.), which many of us may already have before we became a Christian. So, what's the difference?
The difference is in the purpose - natural abilities are to equip us to function in the natural world whilst spiritual abilities are to equip us to function God's way in His Kingdom. For example, if we are to be a caring church we need people who are able to care like Jesus would if he were here. On the other hand, every Christian School Teacher wouldn't necessarily have the spiritual ability/anointing to teach from God's Word.
So you can see that God's Spiritual Abilities have an extra dimension that is denied the most gifted non-Christian.
How to discover where your abilities lie
Here are seven steps you can take in order to begin identifying your basic spiritual ability(ies) as listed in Romans 12:6-8:
1: Prayer and dedication. Our prayerful dedication to God is the foundation for service.
2: Look at the above list and understand what the abilities mean. As you do this it will help you recognise your own abilities.
3: Notice your natural inclinations. What we find easy to do naturally is often where God has spiritually gifted us.
4: Go down the list. As you do this in a prayerful way God can give you a witness in your spirit as to which is (are) your spiritual ability(ies).
5: The discernment of others. Confirmation of an ability comes through the recognition of this ability by others.
6: Gifts make room for themselves. As you are humble before God he will make room for you to operate.
7: Joy comes through exercise. There is joy and peace in doing what you are gifted at.
Then, alongside the above guide-lines, look at the list again and ask yourself this question: "If I were to organise an ideal church with these ministries, which one(s) would I consider the most important?" As you look down this list, the one(s) that appeal most to you, or which you consider to be the most important, are probably where your abilities lie.
What about the other two categories of Gifts?
Our purpose in this leaflet is to help you discover where your spiritual abilities lie. Once you have discovered this and are beginning to function, you will need the supernatural tools for the job - the Gifts of the Holy Spirit listed in 1Corinthians 12:8-10 (see the article 'What about the Gifts of the Holy Spirit?'). As we grow and mature in our Christian life and service we may become one of the ministries mentioned in Ephesians 4:11 - it's rather like a carpenter, after years of experience, becoming a master craftsman.
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