The Bible mentions spiritual gifts and talents over 200 times throughout the Old and New Testament. When we become saved through Jesus, we become a new creation in His Spirit, where our old sinful self has died and passed away. As Christians, we are to walk with God in the Spirit (His Holy Spirit) through our Lord and Savior Jesus as stated in Ephesians 4:22-24, “…put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.”
Our continued daily devotion and walk with God is when He speaks to us through His Word and Holy Spirit. This is when God provides each one of us with at least one spiritual gift with some of us being blessed with multiple gifts and talents for serving Him through Jesus and His Helper, the Holy Spirit. We are to use these spiritual gifts that God has given us for His honor and glory as disclosed in 1 Peter 4:10-11, “As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace: whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.” The Bible also tells us that Love is the greatest gift and that if we have other spiritual gifts but do not have Love then we are meaningless as explained in 1 Corinthians 13:1-13:
If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love [for others growing out of God’s love for me], then I have become only a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal [just an annoying distraction]. And if I have the gift of prophecy [and speak a new message from God to the people], and understand all mysteries, and [possess] all knowledge; and if I have all [sufficient] faith so that I can remove mountains, but do not have love [reaching out to others], I am nothing. If I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body to be burned, but do not have love, it does me no good at all. Love endures with patience and serenity, love is kind and thoughtful, and is not jealous or envious; love does not brag and is not proud or arrogant. It is not rude; it is not self-seeking, it is not provoked [nor overly sensitive and easily angered]; it does not take into account a wrong endured. It does not rejoice at injustice, but rejoices with the truth [when right and truth prevail]. Love bears all things [regardless of what comes], believes all things [looking for the best in each one], hopes all things [remaining steadfast during difficult times], endures all things [without weakening]. Love never fails [it never fades nor ends]. But as for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for the gift of special knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part, and we prophesy in part [for our knowledge is fragmentary and incomplete]. But when that which is complete and perfect comes, that which is incomplete and partial will pass away. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; when I became a man, I did away with childish things. For now [in this time of imperfection] we see in a mirror dimly [a blurred reflection, a riddle, an enigma], but then [when the time of perfection comes we will see reality] face to face. Now I know in part [just in fragments], but then I will know fully, just as I have been fully known [by God]. And now there remain: faith [abiding trust in God and His promises], hope [confident expectation of eternal salvation], love [unselfish love for others growing out of God’s love for me], these three [the choicest graces]; but the greatest of these is love.
By the Spirit of God (True Love) living inside of us we experience the kingdom of God in our hearts, and we unveil evidence of the fruit living inside of us! Paul reveals how our old sinful nature was transformed into the mind of Christ through His Holy Spirit where we will have love for others as we read in Galatians 5:19-26:
“Now the practices of the sinful nature are clearly evident: they are sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality (total irresponsibility, lack of self-control), idolatry, sorcery, hostility, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions [that promote heresies], envy, drunkenness, riotous behavior, and other things like these. I warn you beforehand, just as I did previously, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit [the result of His presence within us] is love [unselfish concern for others], joy, [inner] peace, patience [not the ability to wait, but how we act while waiting], kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such things there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature together with its passions and appetites. If we [claim to] live by the [Holy] Spirit, we must also walk by the Spirit [with personal integrity, godly character, and moral courage—our conduct empowered by the Holy Spirit]. We must not become conceited, challenging or provoking one another, envying one another.”
Then the King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you blessed of My Father [you favored of God, appointed to eternal salvation], inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; I was naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me [with help and ministering care]; I was in prison, and you came to Me [ignoring personal danger].’ Then the righteous will answer Him, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You something to drink? And when did we see You as a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You? And when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ The King will answer and say to them, ‘I assure you and most solemnly say to you, to the extent that you did it for one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it for Me.’ “Then He will say to those on His left, ‘Leave Me, you cursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels (demons); for I was hungry, and you gave Me nothing to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me nothing to drink; I was a stranger, and you did not invite Me in; naked, and you did not clothe Me; sick, and in prison, and you did not visit Me [with help and ministering care].’ Then they also [in their turn] will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, or thirsty, or as a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister to You?’ Then He will reply to them, ‘I assure you and most solemnly say to you, to the extent that you did not do it for one of the least of these [my followers], you did not do it for Me.’ Then these [unbelieving people] will go away into eternal (unending) punishment, but those who are righteous and in right standing with God [will go, by His remarkable grace] into eternal (unending) life.
We are to become like the good Samaritan as explained by Jesus in the Parable of the Good Samaritan in Luke 10:30:
Jesus replied, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he encountered robbers, who stripped him of his clothes [and belongings], beat him, and went their way [unconcerned], leaving him half dead. Now by coincidence a priest was going down that road, and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. Likewise a Levite also came down to the place and saw him, and passed by on the other side [of the road]. But a Samaritan (foreigner), who was traveling, came upon him; and when he saw him, he was deeply moved with compassion [for him], and went to him and bandaged up his wounds, pouring oil and wine on them [to sooth and disinfect the injuries]; and he put him on his own pack-animal, and brought him to an inn and took care of him. On the next day he took out two denarii (two days’ wages) and gave them to the innkeeper, and said, ‘Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, I will repay you when I return.’ Which of these three do you think proved himself a neighbor to the man who encountered the robbers?” He answered, “The one who showed compassion and mercy to him.” Then Jesus said to him, “Go and constantly do the same.”
Because Jesus laid down His life for us, we are to lay down our lives for Him and other believers as disclosed in 1 John 3:16-20:
By this we know [and have come to understand the depth and essence of His precious] love: that He [willingly] laid down His life for us [because He loved us]. And we ought to lay down our lives for the believers. But whoever has the world’s goods (adequate resources), and sees his brother in need, but has no compassion for him, how does the love of God live in him? Little children (believers, dear ones), let us not love [merely in theory] with word or with tongue [giving lip service to compassion], but in action and in truth [in practice and in sincerity, because practical acts of love are more than words]. By this we will know [without any doubt] that we are of the truth, and will assure our heart and quiet our conscience before Him whenever our heart convicts us [in guilt]; for God is greater than our heart and He knows all things [nothing is hidden from Him because we are in His hands].
In the body of Christ, we are many different members of the body serving Christ, the head, with diverse talents for the same Holy Spirit and kingdom of God. Some members of the body are feet, toes, hands, fingers, knees, ribs, tendons, eyes, ears, nose, mouth, and so on, but each member although having different functions make up the entire body. Likewise, the body of Christ is made up of many Christians with various spiritual gifts and talents that ALL serve the same God (Father), Jesus (Son), and Holy Spirit (God’s Spirit). As born-again believers, we were all baptized through Jesus into one body, the body of Christ, serving the head, Christ as revealed in 1 Corinthians 12:12-25:
For just as the body is one and yet has many parts, and all the parts, though many, form [only] one body, so it is with Christ. For by one [Holy] Spirit we were all baptized into one body, [spiritually transformed—united together] whether Jews or Greeks (Gentiles), slaves or free, and we were all made to drink of one [Holy] Spirit [since the same Holy Spirit fills each life]. For the [human] body does not consist of one part, but of many [limbs and organs]. If the foot says, “Because I am not a hand, I am not a part of the body,” is it not on the contrary still a part of the body? If the ear says, “Because I am not an eye, I am not a part of the body,” is it not on the contrary still a part of the body? If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be? If the whole [body] were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? But now [as things really are], God has placed and arranged the parts in the body, each one of them, just as He willed and saw fit [with the best balance of function]. If they all were a single organ, where would [the rest of] the body be? But now [as things really are] there are many parts [different limbs and organs], but a single body. The eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you,” nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” But quite the contrary, the parts of the body that seem to be weaker are [absolutely] necessary; and as for those parts of the body which we consider less honorable, these we treat with greater honor; and our less presentable parts are treated with greater modesty, while our more presentable parts do not require it. But God has combined the [whole] body, giving greater honor to that part which lacks it, so that there would be no division or discord in the body [that is, lack of adaptation of the parts to each other], but that the parts may have the same concern for one another.
We are appointed by God to serve the church (body of Christ) according to His purpose and kingdom. As individual members, God has given us each specific gifts according to His will as we read in 1 Corinthians 12:27-31, “Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it. And God has appointed in the church first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healing, helping, administrating, and various kinds of tongues. Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? Do all possess gifts of healing? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret? But earnestly desire the higher gifts.” The Bible also tells us that as many members that make up one body, when one member suffers the entire body suffers and if one member is honored, the entire body rejoices as stated in 1 Corinthians 12:26, “If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together.”
We are one body, serving one Lord (Jesus), through one Spirit (Spirit of God). Paul tells us in Ephesians 4:3-7, “Make every effort to keep the oneness of the Spirit in the bond of peace [each individual working together to make the whole successful]. There is one body [of believers] and one Spirit—just as you were called to one hope when called [to salvation]— one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of us all who is [sovereign] over all and [working] through all and [living] in all. Yet grace [God’s undeserved favor] was given to each one of us [not indiscriminately, but in different ways] in proportion to the measure of Christ’s [rich and abundant] gift.”
God empowers us all as disclosed in 1 Corinthians 12:4-11, “Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who empowers them all in everyone. To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. For to one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the ability to distinguish between spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. All these are empowered by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually as he wills.”
We are called to use our spiritual gifts as explained in Romans 12:4-8, “For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching; the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads, with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness.” Also, it states in Titus 3:8, “This is a faithful and trustworthy saying; and concerning these things I want you to speak with great confidence, so that those who have believed God [that is, those who have trusted in, relied on, and accepted Christ Jesus as Savior,] will be careful to participate in doing good and honorable things. These things are excellent [in themselves] and profitable for the people.”
“For it is just like a man who was about to take a journey, and he called his servants together and entrusted them with his possessions. To one he gave five talents, to another, two, and to another, one, each according to his own ability; and then he went on his journey. The one who had received the five talents went at once and traded with them, and he [made a profit and] gained five more. Likewise the one who had two [made a profit and] gained two more. But the one who had received the one went and dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money. “Now after a long time the master of those servants returned and settled accounts with them. And the one who had received the five talents came and brought him five more, saying, ‘Master, you entrusted to me five talents. See, I have [made a profit and] gained five more talents.’ His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful and trustworthy over a little, I will put you in charge of many things; share in the joy of your master.’ “Also the one who had the two talents came forward, saying, ‘Master, you entrusted two talents to me. See, I have [made a profit and] gained two more talents.’ His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful and trustworthy over a little, I will put you in charge of many things; share in the joy of your master.’ “The one who had received one talent also came forward, saying, ‘Master, I knew you to be a harsh and demanding man, reaping [the harvest] where you did not sow and gathering where you did not scatter seed. So I was afraid [to lose the talent], and I went and hid your talent in the ground. See, you have what is your own.’ “But his master answered him, ‘You wicked, lazy servant, you knew that I reap [the harvest] where I did not sow and gather where I did not scatter seed. Then you ought to have put my money with the bankers, and at my return I would have received my money back with interest. So take the talent away from him, and give it to the one who has the ten talents.’ “For to everyone who has [and values his blessings and gifts from God, and has used them wisely], more will be given, and [he will be richly supplied so that] he will have an abundance; but from the one who does not have [because he has ignored or disregarded his blessings and gifts from God], even what he does have will be taken away. And throw out the worthless servant into the outer darkness; in that place [of grief and torment] there will be weeping [over sorrow and pain] and grinding of teeth [over distress and anger].
Jesus makes it clear in His parable concerning the talents where the foolish and worthless servant that was not obedient in using his gift(s) by God for Him, His honor, and for His glory received a very harsh punishment. Jesus reveals that we will all be repaid and rewarded for our deeds and fruits as stated in Matthew 16:27, “For the Son of Man is going to come in the glory and majesty of His Father with His angels, and THEN HE WILL REPAY EACH ONE IN ACCORDANCE WITH WHAT HE HAS DONE.”
Paul unveils that all born-again believers will appear before the judgement seat of Christ to give an account to all our deeds performed on earth whether good or bad as revealed in 2 Corinthians 5:10-11, “For we [believers will be called to account and] must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be repaid for what has been done in the body, whether good or bad [that is, each will be held responsible for his actions, purposes, goals, motives—the use or misuse of his time, opportunities and abilities]. Therefore, since we know the fear of the Lord [and understand the importance of obedience and worship], we persuade people [to be reconciled to Him]. But we are plainly known to God [He knows everything about us]; and I hope that we are plainly known also in your consciences [your God-given discernment].”
Jerimiah tells us that God searches our minds and hearts according to our deeds as disclosed in Jeremiah 17:10, “I, the LORD, search and examine the mind, I test the heart, to give to each man according to his ways, according to the results of his deeds.” Jesus reveals that when He returns to earth His reward will be with Him for the born-again believers as expressed in Revelation 22:12-13, “Behold, I (Jesus) am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to each one according to the merit of his deeds (earthly works, faithfulness). I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End [the Eternal One].”
As we use our spiritual gifts and talents given to us by God’s Holy Spirit and out of loving obedience to Him in Christ, we bear righteous fruit for His kingdom as unveiled in the parable of the Vine and Branches in John 15:1-11:
I am the true Vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that continues to bear fruit, He [repeatedly] prunes, so that it will bear more fruit [even richer and finer fruit]. You are already clean because of the word which I have given you [the teachings which I have discussed with you]. Remain in Me, and I [will remain] in you. Just as no branch can bear fruit by itself without remaining in the vine, neither can you [bear fruit, producing evidence of your faith] unless you remain in Me. I am the Vine; you are the branches. The one who remains in Me and I in him bears much fruit, for [otherwise] apart from Me [that is, cut off from vital union with Me] you can do nothing. If anyone does not remain in Me, he is thrown out like a [broken off] branch, and withers and dies; and they gather such branches and throw them into the fire, and they are burned. If you remain in Me and My words remain in you [that is, if we are vitally united and My message lives in your heart], ask whatever you wish and it will be done for you. My Father is glorified and honored by this, when you bear much fruit, and prove yourselves to be My [true] disciples. I have loved you just as the Father has loved Me; remain in My love [and do not doubt My love for you]. If you keep My commandments and obey My teaching, you will remain in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and remain in His love. I have told you these things so that My joy and delight may be in you, and that your joy may be made full and complete and overflowing.
The Bible tells us not to neglect the gift that is within us as we read in 1 Timothy 4:14-16, “Do not neglect the spiritual gift within you, [that special endowment] which was intentionally bestowed on you [by the Holy Spirit] through prophetic utterance when the elders laid their hands on you [at your ordination]. Practice and work hard on these things; be absorbed in them [completely occupied in your ministry], so that your progress will be evident to all. Pay close attention to yourself [concentrate on your personal development] and to your teaching; persevere in these things [hold to them], for as you do this you will ensure salvation both for yourself and for those who hear you.”
We cannot say, we would use a gift if we had received one from God. We may not know or experience our spiritual gift because we continue to quench the Spirit by not being in His Word and prayer, and by not having a daily devotion with God. Jesus calls us to be doers of His Word, and not just hearers of the word. Jesus teaches us in the Sower of the Seed parable that we are to be on good soil (good ground) in order to be fruitful, but if we are on rocky ground or amongst weeds then we are tempted by worldly lusts, riches, and pleasures, and therefore, will not be fruitful for His kingdom as detailed in Luke 8:11-15:
“Now [the meaning of] the parable is this: The seed is the word of God [concerning eternal salvation]. Those beside the road are the people who have heard; then the devil comes and takes the message [of God] away from their hearts, so that they will not believe [in Me as the Messiah] and be saved. Those on the rocky soil are the people who, when they hear, receive and welcome the word with joy; but these have no firmly grounded root. They believe for a while, and in time of trial and temptation they fall away [from Me and abandon their faith]. The seed which fell among the thorns, these are the ones who have heard, but as they go on their way they are suffocated with the anxieties and riches and pleasures of this life, and they bring no fruit to maturity. But as for that seed in the good soil, these are the ones who have heard the word with a good and noble heart, and hold on to it tightly, and bear fruit with patience.
We are to be servants for Jesus Christ, living and walking in the Spirit, and being fruitful (using our spiritual gifts) according to His will and purpose. God’s will for us is to rejoice and pray without ceasing by not quenching the spirit, and to test every spirit by resisting all forms of evil. We are to be kept blameless and watchful for the second coming of our Lord and Savior Jesus (1 Thessalonians 5:16-23). We are to let our light shine before others by spreading the gospel (good news, true salvation) to the world and to expose the darkness with the true light as we read in Ephesians 5:8-14, “for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true), and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord. Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. For it is shameful even to speak of the things that they do in secret. But when anything is exposed by the light, it becomes visible, for anything that becomes visible is light. Therefore it says, ‘Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.’ ”
We must be a living testimony for Christ before others by letting our light shine as explained in Matthew 5:16, “Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good deeds and moral excellence, and [recognize and honor and] glorify your Father who is in heaven.” We are His master workmanship created to carry out His will by using the gifts and talents He entrusted us with for His purpose as disclosed in Ephesians 2:10, “For we are His workmanship [His own master work, a work of art], created in Christ Jesus [reborn from above—spiritually transformed, renewed, ready to be used] for good works, which God prepared [for us] beforehand [taking paths which He set], so that we would walk in them [living the good life which He prearranged and made ready for us].”
We must boldly proclaim Jesus and His gospel to others. We are all called to be a witness for Him as stated in 1 Timothy 6:12, “Fight the good fight of the faith [in the conflict with evil]; take hold of the eternal life to which you were called, and [for which] you made the good confession [of faith] in the presence of many witnesses.”
2 Timothy 1:8-9:
“So do not be ashamed to testify about our Lord or about me His prisoner, but with me take your share of suffering for the gospel [continue to preach regardless of the circumstances], in accordance with the power of God [for His power is invincible], for He delivered us and saved us and called us with a holy calling [a calling that leads to a consecrated life—a life set apart—a life of purpose], not because of our works [or because of any personal merit—we could do nothing to earn this], but because of His own purpose and grace [His amazing, undeserved favor] which was granted to us in Christ Jesus before the world began [eternal ages ago].”
Our faith is strengthened through hearing the gospel and by the power of the testimony as expressed in Romans 1:16-17, “I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation [from His wrath and punishment] to everyone who believes [in Christ as Savior], to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed, both springing from faith and leading to faith [disclosed in a way that awakens more faith]. As it is written and forever remains written, “THE JUST and UPRIGHT SHALL LIVE BY FAITH.”
Also, many Christians and Church denominations today do not believe that the supernatural spiritual gifts exist today, such as, healing, raising the dead, miracles, casting out demons, words of knowledge, prophecy, speaking in tongues, tongue interpretation, and so on. They believe these gifts were only for the twelve disciples or were only permitted during the start of the early Church approximately 2,000 years ago. The problem with this thinking or belief is that you are rejecting God’s Word that will remain forever. This corrupted belief also shows that the body of Christ 2,000 years ago was a different body than the body of Christ today. There is only ONE body of Christ! We are one body, united by one Spirit (Spirit of God), redeemed by and serving one Lord, Jesus, that is never changing! (Ephesians 4:3-7, 1 Corinthians 12:4-11). We have corrupted the true gospel of Christ by rejecting parts of God’s Word and the supernatural gifts that do not appeal to our little faith! We need to study the passage by Jesus where He rebuked His disciples for their little faith and unbelief in the power of God and His Holy Spirit that lives inside of us. We must strengthen our faith through prayer and fasting by His Holy Spirit as stated in Matthew 17:14-21:
When they approached the crowd, a man came up to Jesus, kneeling before Him and saying, “Lord, have mercy on my son, for he is a lunatic (moonstruck) and suffers terribly; for he often falls into the fire and often into the water. And I brought him to Your disciples, and they were not able to heal him.” And Jesus answered, “You unbelieving and perverted generation, how long shall I be with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring him here to Me.” Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out of him, and the boy was healed at once. Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and asked, “Why could we not drive it out?” He answered, “Because of your little faith [your lack of trust and confidence in the power of God]; for I assure you and most solemnly say to you, if you have [living] faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and [if it is God’s will] it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you. [But this kind of demon does not go out except by prayer and fasting.]”
Various spiritual gifts (including supernatural gifts) are shown below (taken from giftstest.com) and are not a complete list:
“Administration, apostleship, craftsmanship, discernment, evangelism, exhortation, faith, giving, healing, helps, hospitality, intercession, word of knowledge, leadership, mercy, miracles, pastor/shepherd, prophecy, service, teaching, tongues (and interpretation), words of wisdom,” and so on. Take the test at giftstest.com for more information on helping you determine your spiritual gift(s). Whatever gift(s) it reveals is most suitable for you. Pray to God in Christ to ensure this is the gift that God wants for you to use for His will, honor, and glory.
Watch this inspiring video by Servants for Jesus Christ – Be Filled With The Holy Spirit.
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