When I was younger, I was at a church which didn’t stress the importance of spiritual gifts. The church was fairly conservative, very conservative compared to what I am used to now. It was all about theology and making sure that we were ‘doing the right thing’, although in hindsight, I don’t think that we were doing the right thing at all. I knew about spiritual gifts, but I thought that they started off more extreme than they do. For example, I expected to walk outside and see people healed as I walked past, then I would know that I had the gift of healing. I thought that it was clear what your gift was, and you were able to use it straight away. No one ever told me that you need to develop it. I was never encouraged to use mine.
Now don’t get me wrong, I am not blaming others for my lack of knowledge, I should have investigated this for myself and not rely on others for my spiritual growth. Now that I know better, I would like to give you a few reasons as to why I think that spiritual gifts are so important. I think that they are grossly under-estimated in most churches, which is sad and rather concerning. Some churches don’t even believe that they exist. This is astonishing as there is so much in the Bible about spiritual gifts and the Holy Spirit.
The first reason why spiritual gifts are important is for our individual growth. A spiritual gift (or gifts) is a passion, it is a road map of sorts for our life. If you have the gift of healing, I’m sure that you’ll spend a large portion of your ministry time healing. This gives you a purpose and a direction within the church body. Without knowing your gift(s) could result in you drifting from ministry to ministry without finding your passion. This can also result in burnout, as you end up doing things that you weren’t called to do. Let me also just say here that just because you have certain gifts, doesn’t mean that you can’t use the others. Refusing to heal someone because you don’t have that gift, is not acceptable. You have the ability to use all of the gifts in situations where they are needed, the spiritual gift that I am speaking about is the one (or more) that is given especially to you to edify the body. I have used all of the gifts at one point or another, but I know which gifts have been given to me specifically to edify the body of believers.
The second reason is because there is a void out there, and it is being filled with counterfeit ‘gifts’. I have the gift of prophesy, and I am always keen to use it. I have come across people that are much better at it than me, but I am continually trying to develop my gift. I see fortune tellers out and about, doing their thing, and it makes me angry and disappointed. There is a need for people to know the future, and the part that they play in it. God knew this, so He gave some people the gift of prophesy, so that we could use it to help others. All Christians should be able to hear God’s voice, so we should all be able to get prophetic words and words of knowledge. The problem is that we don’t hear God’s voice for others. This is why the fortune tellers are so popular. People need to hear from a force greater than themselves, we’re too bust arguing about theology, so they go to the fortune tellers instead. How sad is that? God is people’s last resort when it comes to healing, when He should be our first. Why? Because those with the gift are not using it, and the rest of us don’t even try most of the time. There is such a need out there, we have the answer, get out there and use your gift!
Lastly, using your gifts will bless you! This is one of the things that I find so amazing about the Kingdom of God. He gives us gifts and the more we use them, the more we are blessed. The more you give away, the more you get. As I said, I have used all the gifts at some point or another, and I have seen (and will see) some dramatic miracles in my time. I have also had people pray for me, heal me and prophesy over me, and I can honestly say that I have been more blessed by using my gifts to help others than the other way around. If you think that Christianity is boring, monotonous, frustrating or uneventful, then you are probably not using your gifts (or any for that matter).
If you’re not sure what your gift is, have a look at my last post entitled, Spiritual Gifts.