Section 5: The Holy Spirit
Week 4: The Holy Spirit’s Work in the Life of the Believer
Day 5: The Holy Spirit’s Role in Gifting Believers for Service
Rom. 12:6-8; 1 Cor. 7:7, 12:8-10, 28; Eph. 4:11; 1 Peter 4:11
Jeni’s family gets together for everybody’s birthday. I mean everybody’s. Whether it’s her birthday, her brother’s, her sister-in-law’s, her nieces’, her nephews’, her mom’s, or her dad’s, the rule is we must get together for dinner. It’s exhausting! When I tell Jeni that, she says she’s sorry her family loves each other so much. She’s probably right. It’s probably a good thing. Still… every birthday? Come on. Every year, I wish each one of them a happy birthday on Facebook. That ought to be enough, right?
Well, Jeni’s family knows I’m not the biggest fan of the birthday get togethers. That’s why, every so often, their gift to me is no get together on my birthday. I love it. It’s the perfect gift because it’s exactly what I want. What can I say? They get me.
That’s the thing about gifts; they typically focus on what the recipient of the gift wants. That’s not the case with the spiritual gifts though. Every believer gets at least one spiritual gift, but the focus of the gift isn’t on what we want. The focus is on what other people need. That’s because the Holy Spirit gives us spiritual gifts to build up the Church. As Paul says, the gifts are given “to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ” (Eph. 4:12-13).
There are a number of spiritual gifts mentioned in the New Testament. Rom. 12:6-8, 1 Cor. 7:7, 12:8-10, 28, Eph. 4:11, and 1 Peter 4:11 all contain different lists and none are intended to be a complete inventory. According to these lists, the spiritual gifts include things like serving, teaching, encouraging, mercy, the gift of healing, miracles, prophecy, speaking in tongues, and interpreting tongues, among others.
The last five gifts I mentioned are included among the so-called miraculous gifts. There is an ongoing debate over whether those gifts continue today. We’ll delve into that debate in the Digging Deeper section. For now, I just want to note that no matter which gifts continue today, and no matter which gift you many have been given, the purpose is the same. The focus of our gifts, miraculous or otherwise, isn’t to bring attention to ourselves. Our gifts are to be used to build up the body of Christ.
That makes perfect sense in light of the fact that the gifts are given by the Holy Spirit. As we’ve seen, his goal isn’t to draw attention to himself, but to point people to Christ. Not surprisingly, he wants us to do the same with the gifts he gives.
When you think of the spiritual gifts, what immediately springs to mind? Is there a gift that you are confident you have? If so, are you watching for places to actively exercise that gift?
Whether you “know” your gift or not, over the next few months look for opportunities to serve others.
Want to Dig Deeper?
The New Testament mentions a number of interesting spiritual gifts, including the gifts of healing, miracles, prophecy, speaking in tongues, and interpreting tongues. There has been a lot of debate within the Church over these “miraculous” gifts. Some say the Holy Spirit continues to give them to believers today, while others argue the giving of the miraculous gifts stopped around the time the New Testament was completed. We take a closer look at the debate in the Digging Deeper Section.