By Stephen Phinney 

"Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8). The Holy Spirit is just as much alive today as He was when the New Testament was written.  Before we move forward in exploring the dynamics of our spiritual gifts and God’s miraculous economy, we need to accept all the work of God through the Holy Spirit in modern times, just as the disciples were called to accept the work of the Holy Spirit over 2000 years ago.

Understanding and knowing what God says about spiritual gifts is the starting place of our conclusion of Finances & the End-times.  Even though man has many opinions about the topic, God has plenty to say about His gifts to us – after all, He is the giver of these gifts.  
Many Christians choose to “stay in the dark” as to the full understanding of the gifts of the Holy Spirit.  Ignorance is not bliss!  If I were to give you a gift and you chose not to open it, you would never have the privilege of using the gift for its intended purpose.  The same thing goes for our spiritual gifts; we were given these gifts upon the day of our Salvation and God expects us to open the package and use the gift to accomplish His purposes.
There are four requirements presented in the Scriptures that each of us will need to embrace before we can discover the fullness of His gifting in us: 
  1. We must have the Holy Spirit living within us (be a born-again Christian).
  2. Do not to be afraid of having the Holy Spirit live and operate through us in the capacity He desires to manifest through us.
  3. We should desire to have the Body of Christ function in the capacity it is intended and designed to operate – being willing to allow God to use us to edify one another.
  4. We should join God where God is at work, not following our flesh or using God’s gifts to benefit ourselves.
The Lord Jesus reveals to us in 1 Timothy 4:14: “Do no neglect the spiritual gifts within you, which was bestowed upon you through prophetic utterance with the laying on of hands by the presbytery (church leadership)” [parentheses mine].
It is my desire for each person going through this series to experience the fullness of His gifting within him. It is the responsibility of your church leadership to help you discover your gifting.  Do not hesitate to contact your pastor to get your questions answered.  This series is to start the process of you embracing all that God has for you regarding His spiritual gifts.

Many people do not think they are mature enough to use their gifting or they think that they have not been saved long enough to be used by God fully.  Nothing could be further from the truth!  Once a person has received the Holy Spirit upon Salvation, he is qualified to be used by God.
1 Timothy 4:11-16 tells us: “Prescribe and teach these things.  Let no one look down on your youthfulness, but rather in speech, conduct, love, faith and purity, show yourself an example of those who believe.  Until I come, give attention to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation and teaching.  Do not neglect the spiritual gifts within you, which were bestowed upon you; through the prophetic utterance with the laying on of hands by the presbytery.  Take pains with these things; be absorbed in them, so that your progress may be evident to all.  Pay close attention to yourself and to your teaching; preserve in these things; for as you this you will insure salvation both for yourself and for those who hear you.” 
God wants us to be prescribing and teaching these things.  This means: prescribing (writing them down) and then teaching them to the Body of Christ.  We are being called by God to know our gifting.  We are not to look down on our youthfulness.  He wants us to speak with the power of God, allowing the Holy Spirit to speak through us.  He allows the fruit of the Holy Spirit to show through our conduct, His love, the appropriation of the measure of faith He has put within us, and our walk in the purity of His light while we live.  In fact, we are to be examples to those who are Christians, teaching them by example how to walk after the Spirit and operate in the fullness of His gifting within us.
How do we accomplish this?  It is accomplished by being devoted to the Scriptures.  Since the Word of God is alive and sharper than a two-edged sword, by teaching what God’s Word says, we will exhort one another to function in our God given gifts.
God wants us to take pains with these things – take this matter on as a burden.  He desires for us to be absorbed in them, soak them up like a sponge.  This is how we reveal our progress in our walk with Him to the world around us.  When people see God’s gifting flowing through us, they see God!
Lastly, God wants us to pay close attention to our teachings regarding this topic; it needs to be handled by God through us.  Many churches have been divided over the topic of spiritual gifts.  The gifts are for unity, not to bring more division. 
You have just begun the process of discovering your spiritual gifts.  Some of you have known for many years and some may be just “looking into it.”  In either case, God knows you are interested in knowing your spiritual gifts.  Here is a list of items to keep in mind as you explore the realities of God’s gifts:
  1. Be willing to explore what God has for you.  Read each of the Scriptures stated in these articles and use this series as a Bible study.  Pray through each Scripture.  Learn what the gifts are, how they are used, what characterizes them, and how they function within the Body of Christ.
  2. Don’t lean upon your feelings.  Many look to their feelings to label their gift.  God will reveal your gift(s) through the presbytery (elders) of your church.  The Spirit will bear witness with the process and the location of the gift if it is of God.  It is true that when you are functioning in your gift, you will “feel” like you have found your “niche.”  When, or if, you are functioning in a task that is not your gifting, you will “feel like a fish out of water.”  You just won’t be able to function in a comfortable and free manner.  It is a true statement that God does not strap you with a gift you will not enjoy. 
  3. When functioning in your gifting, you will see the positive results.  Since spiritual gifts are designed to benefit the Body of Christ, not yourself, you should see the fruit developed in the lives of the people you are helping.  You will not see a positive result if you are using your gift to exalt yourself or by using a gift you really don’t have.
  4. Expect confirmation from the Body of Christ.  It is a good idea to allow the Body of Christ to be a part of the process of confirming your gifting.  God speaks through the Body.  People observing us are equally as important as the Spirit’s revelation in our prayer time.  That’s because it is the same thing.  If you believe you have particular gifts and no one else agrees with you, then you should go to the presbytery (church leadership) for confirmation.
  5. The Lord is the One to lead you to discovering your gift.  Even though God uses the above process, God reveals His gifts in you.  Remember that He is the gift Giver and He knows what is in His “gift bag.”
  6. As God reveals more of His supernatural ways, you openly accept His manifestations of the Spirit in a manner that is worthy of His calling.  Do not limit God to your human reasoning – let God be God even in your gifting.
Before you can move forward in knowing your spiritual gifts, you need to be willing to be sacrificed.  Allow me to explain.  Romans 12:1 tells us: “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.  And be not conformed to this work; but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is the good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God.”
Before God moves through us mightily, He needs to know that you and I are willing to be used in any way He desires.  We must be holy (walk after the Spirit) and acceptable to God (in His Son).  When we are doing things of the world (walking after the flesh), we can pretty much forget about our gifting being manifested within us by the Lord.  God will not use His precious gifting to better the world.  He only uses His gifting to better the kingdom of God.
Of course, that leaves us with a small problem; what if the mind is worldly?  Then it is time for renewal.  Our lives are transformed into the image of Christ through the process of having our minds renewed.  There is nothing we can do to renew our minds; reading, praying, talking, listening, or having hands laid on us will not renew us.  This renewal process is a Spirit work.  As we set our minds on heavenly things, we then are allowing the Holy Spirit (who lives within us if we are saved) to renew our minds.  When we set our mind on worldly things, we act worldly.  When we set our mind on the Spirit within us, we then experience being spiritually minded, having spiritual thoughts, and then spiritual words (1 Corinthians 2:13).
When we lay our lives down as a living sacrifice and then allow the Holy Spirit to renew our worldly minds, then we can prove to the world (and fellow Christians) what is good, truly acceptable, and what the perfect will of God is.  This is accomplished by and through God using His gifts within His children.
Here are a few topics to look forward to:
  • Discovering your spiritual gifts
  • The Body of Christ is like a toolbox
  • Who gets these gifts?
  • What is a spiritual gift?
  • Understanding the Occupational Gifts
  • Understanding the Manifestation Gifts
  • Spiritual testing
Scripture  taken from the New American Standard Bible, © Copyright 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.