Principles To Use When Operating In The Gifts Of The Spirit
The gifts of the Spirit are given so that the church is equipped to accomplish its mission on earth.
There are a variety of gifts that are given both to individuals and to the church as a whole.
They are all given because of what Christ accomplished on the cross and the grace of God that has been poured out on the earth.
There are 3 different types of gifts given by God talked about in the New Testament.
The lists are found in Romans 12, Ephesians 4, and 1 Corinthians 12 and 14.
The gifts listed in Romans 12 and Ephesians 4 are not “gifts of the Spirit.” Romans 12 are gifts from the Father given to every believer at salvation. These gifts are motivational in nature. They are what motivates us to do what we do. The gifts mentioned in Ephesians 4 are gifts given by Christ for leadership of the church.
Only in the 1 Corinthians passage are the gifts defined as “gifts of the Spirit.”
This article is dealing with the gifts of the Spirit mentioned in 1 Corinthians 12.
Let me quickly summarize the use of the gifts.
9 Lessons On The Use Of Spiritual Gifts
#1 The Gifts Are For Christians
You cannot have a gift until you have received it.
You cannot operate in spiritual gifts until you have become spiritually alive.
That happens when you become born again. (John 3:5)
These gifts are meant to glorify God, to build up the Body, to save the lost, to serve human need. The gifts are the tools God gives us to be supernatural witnesses to the resurrection of Jesus.
The gifts are meant to flourish among those who are baptized in the Spirit. Spirit baptism plunges a person into new dimensions of intimacy with God and empowerment to be His witnesses.
#2 The gifts are meant to be used to build up His people and empower them to serve the world.
There are not big gifts and little gifts. There are not more glamorous gifts and less glamorous gifts. They are not meant to make us into bigger Christian superstars.
They are meant to be used to make us more effective servants.
Some people tend to glamorize the gift of working of miracles or gifts of healings but the truth is that the only reason we are given gifts is to make the message of the gospel of Jesus credible with signs following.
They point to Jesus, not us.
#3 The gifts need to be operated and motivated by love.
The gifts should never be divorced from love.
Paul told us in 1 Corinthians 14:1 to “follow the way of love and eagerly desire spiritual gifts.”
He placed the famous passage of love right in the middle of the whole section on spiritual gifts in 1 Corinthians.
1 Corinthians 13:1
If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn’t love others, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I understood all of God’s secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn’t love others, I would be nothing. 3 If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it; 1 but if I didn’t love others, I would have gained nothing.
#4 Having a spiritual gift does not make you a spiritual person.
Many people equate having a spiritual gift with some type of merit.
Spiritual gifts are gifts of grace not works or attainment.
The gifts often have little to do with spirituality. They have to do with getting the work of the Lord done.
If God will use Balaam’s donkey, then He will use anyone. (Numbers 22:23)
I’ve known people who have had real gifts of the Spirit in operation but who have been apostate in their life and character.
Once given, the gifts are irrevocable. They can still function.
The gifts are not to be confused with spirituality, so we shouldn’t follow after people simply because they have gifts.
#5 We grow and develop in our gifts.
Some people believe that if a gift is from God then it will be perfect.
However Jesus said that if we are faithful in the little things, He will give us more.
The gift may be perfect, but our use of it may need development.
We grow and develop in our use of the gifts.
#6 The gifts are not ours.
We must not become possessive of spiritual gifts. They are His to distribute and His to wield. We are just the willing vessel.
We do not own the gifts. We are not the ones that determines their use. We can make sure that they are done decently and in order, but we are not the one that owns them.
We at best, are just a faithful steward of the gift.
#7 There is accountability involved in the use of spiritual gifts.
Prophetic words are subject to other prophetic people.
Tongues are meant to be interpreted or prayed alone.
Healings are to be confirmed.
There is accountability in the use of spiritual gifts.
There’s no true ongoing function of a gift unless it has ratification from other believers.
That’s why we need to encourage and affirm one another.
#8 The exercise of the gifts of the Spirit is birthed from a combination of desire, prayer, and need.
You first have to desire to be used by God with spiritual gifts.
Then after you have prepared yourself, you need to be observant of the needs around you.
God is looking for people who will be bold enough to use His gifts that He has given to them to meet the needs of a broken and hurting world.
#9 Spiritual gifts are primarily meant for the marketplace, not the church service.
Take a long hard look at the book of Acts. You will find that most of the gifts of the Spirit did not happen in a church service. They happened as people were out among the people of the world.
The gifts of the Spirit are meant to be tools that empower us for witnessing.
Some assume that when we come to a service, the Holy Spirit is limited to working in that service.
When the church is dispersed the rest of the week, some think of the Spirit as inactive, waiting to work until we assemble again.
But the Spirit wants to work throughout His body every day of the week.
He seeks to bring His people into wholeness.
We need—the Church needs—the gifts of the Spirit. We need—the Church needs—people who take the gifts of the Spirit to the streets.