God is the same yesterday, today and forever. He is an Almighty, all-powerful God who is able and willing to work all things for good beyond that which we could ever dream or imagine. He is wonder-working, miracle-producing Savior who walked on this Earth as Jesus Christ giving good gifts to those who encountered Him. As we discover our identity in Christ, continue to submit our lives to Him and to endeavor to know Him intimately through the Holy Spirit we can and will become effective ministers through the spiritual gifts He bestows upon us as we prove faithful and ready to receive them for the building of His Kingdom.
When God calls His saints to an assignment–likely out of the comfort zone–we must believe He will equip us for the job. He knows we can do nothing without His power backing us up and giving us authority, but the Holy Spirit is ready to shine through our weakness and our imperfect vessels to show the world something extraordinary!
Last week my devotional was on what author Robert Heidler calls the Motivational Gifts in his book, “Experiencing the Spirit.” We began to explore the spiritual gifts that are given to us by the Holy Spirit to be effective ministers to the world at large. To refresh our memories about what the Bible says, reread this scripture from I Corinthians 12:4-6:
There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work.
If the “different kinds of working” refer to the Motivational Gifts which have been previously mentioned, the “different kind of gifts” speak about The Ministry Gifts. The Greek word for gifts used in this context is charisma, which refers to a miraculous faculty given by God. These are explicitly listed in the Bible as manifestations of the power of God that are released to His people (not just pastors!) to equip them for service:
But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all: for to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, to another the word of knowledge through the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healings by the same Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits, to another different kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills.
I Corinthians 12:7-11 NKJV
Word of Wisdom: Supernatural wisdom from God giving instant insight that shows how a given situation is to be resolved, helped or healed. A great example is in Mark 12:14-17 when Jesus amazes his adversaries with a wise answer to a question meant to trap Him.
Word of Knowledge: A word from God that wasn’t received from any natural means. In John 4:16-39 Jesus received sensitive knowledge about the woman at the well from the Holy Spirit that he did not obtain from her or any other worldly person.
Faith: C. Peter Wagner describes the gift of faith as the ability to discern with extraordinary confidence the will and purposes of God for the future of His work. In Luke 7:6-10 Jesus marvels at the faith of a Roman soldier who essentially declares, Make it so! That level of certainty about a thing is from the Holy Spirit.
Healings: Leslie Flynn says this is the ability to intervene in a supernatural way as an instrument for the curing of illness and restoration of health. There are numerous accounts of Jesus healing such as John 5:1-9, the man at the pool of Bethesda.
Miracles: Miracles are overcoming the forces of nature through the application of divine power. A great example is Jesus walking on water in Matthew 14:25-29. It should be noted that Peter also walked on water.
Prophecy: Prophecy is speaking forth the mind and heart of God as revealed by the Holy Spirit, hearing what God is saying and communicating to the Church in an appropriate time and manner. In Mark 10:32-34 Jesus predicts his own death and resurrection so that his disciples would know what was to come.
Distinguishing Spirits: This gift involves the supernatural ability to discern the forces in the spiritual realm that are influencing activities in the natural realm, perhaps giving the person the ability to recognize what spirit (divine, evil, human) is causing a certain manifestation or activity. In Matthew 16:23 when Jesus says to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan!” Jesus recognized that Peter was at that moment being influenced in his thoughts and words by Satan.
Tongues: This is the ability to speak by the Spirit in a language that has not previously been learned. It could be a living language, a dead human language, or some scriptures like I Corinthians 13:1 suggest there may even be angelic or heavenly languages. The use of tongues has been used in Biblical history as a sign for unbelievers, but also as a means of praying with the content of your prayer not coming from the understanding of your mind, but of your spirit.
Interpretation of Tongues: The gift of interpretation of tongues is the divine enablement to make known to the body the message of one speaking in tongues. A person might hear the words of tongues in their language, or they might only get a general sense of what is being said.
These nine gifts can and will be given to us as the Holy Spirit sees fit, so that others (not ourselves) may profit. I believe He will release these gifts to us when we are prepared to use this power for His work and for His glory. The Holy Spirit could choose to anoint any believer who has the indwelling of the same Spirit with any of these gifts at any time. To see an ongoing ministry in one or more of these gifts in your life, however, will require a deep, intimate and abiding relationship in which you are constantly pursuing God for who He is and not just what He can give you. Also, obedience when God has made His will known to you.
We need to be asking ourselves why we don’t see these gifts manifested in our lives, churches and communities regularly. Don’t we want to be fully equipped by the Holy Spirit for our holy assignments? Spend time studying these gifts for yourself in the Word and in prayer ask the Spirit to give these gifts to you for the building of His Kingdom and to demonstrate His glory in all the earth.