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The Nature of Spiritual Gifts

September 20, 2011

The Nature of Spiritual Gifts Identifying our Spiritual gifts is a wonderful first step. Defining them is great. But what are these gifts of the Spirit? What is their nature? They are not talents, abilities, roles, or functions, but expressions of the power of the Holy Spirit, given by God, and the authority to use that power in building up of the body of Christ—fulfilling our mission—doing God’s will in the way that is best suited to who we are as unique and beloved individuals joined in community.

The power of the Holy Spirit is often characterized in the Old Testament as ruach, or breath, and as fire. It is the ruach that breathed life into the first earth creature (Genesis 2:7). It is ruach that guided the people of Israel through the wilderness toward the promised land (Exodus 13:21). It is ruach that comforted Elijah on Mount Horeb (1 Kings 19:12). And, in the New Testament, the rush of a mighty wind (pneuma in Greek) filled the house at Pentecost and settled as tongues of fire on the first believers, transforming their lives and the world (Acts 2:2-4).

That power, that breath, that spark of Holy fire, is revealed, or activated, in us as gifts of the Spirit or charismata—gifts of grace. They are within each of us waiting and ready to guide . . . and help . . . and hear . . . and care. We have, in our busyness, largely forgotten how to listen, how to find that spark. Much like the characters in the Wizard of Oz, we have just the gifts we need to fulfill our deepest desires and the world’s need, but we are not aware of them or lack confidence in their power.

We worship and work together in the church. But how well do we really know one another? What do we know of our own or each other’s deep passions in relation to God and the world?

Spiritual gifts discovery is a tool to help us begin hear the still, small voice, to be filled by the ruach, the breath of God, to find the spark of the Holy Spirit that will empower us to:

  • know ourselves and one another better
  • discern God’s will for our lives—where our deep passion and the world’s deep need intersect and move us to powerful ministry
  • prioritize our time and activities
  • learn to say no and yes appropriately
  • find the joy of living in God’s will

Discovery of our individual gifts is the first step in this process. One hot coal will not keep the fire going, and it will eventually cool and die. Our gifts must be linked in community. We need to journey together, talk about and share our gifts, celebrate together the glorious power of the Holy Spirit moving through us for the sake of the body of Christ and the hurting and hungry world.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Barry B permalink
    June 13, 2017 11:41 am

    Wonderful stuff 🙂

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