In Part 1 of this post, we explored what spiritual gifts are not, what they are and why they are important with consideration to our discovering our ‘Calling’. This post continues that discussion in a way that encourages us to seek out these gifts for ourselves, not just to identify our calling(s) but also to enrich our Christian walk.
Before I started studying more on Spiritual Gifts, I honestly don’t recall being in ANY church service where this had been taught in-depth (or maybe I was asleep?) and I honestly believe every believer should be taught this in great depth because right knowledge leads to right application. Understanding ones gift(s) and how the Holy Spirit uses them through us also adds flavour to one’s relationship and Christian living because you can better identify and interpret certain phenomena.
Making reference to my own personal experience:
The first step in discovering your own gift(s) is to understand that when you gave your life to Christ, the Holy Spirit took up residence in you at that moment of salvation and then granted you, primarily, one of seven motivational gifts according to Romans chapter 12 verse 6 to 8 (terminology may slightly differ by translations): Prophecy, Serving, Teaching, Encouragement, Giving, Leadership and Mercy. If you’d like to understand the characteristics of this gift to decipher which is yours, this link does a good job of explaining them. These gifts are so called motivational because they indicate how God works in each one of us to shape our perspective and motivate our words and actions in terms of how we relate to others and the Body of Christ. A motivational gift can be compared to a set of eyeglasses from God, given so that the believer can see people and circumstances through that particular set of “lenses.”
My primary gift is Teaching which is identified by my being “passionate about discovering and validating truth…and particularly concerned with the accuracy of information, especially church doctrine, and is often gifted with research abilities”. I didn’t realise I had this gift until maybe after a year of blogging – largely because I didn’t even know that I should have one so I wasn’t checking for it. But when I think back, I actually started exhibiting this gift after I got water baptised in June 2014 because my appetite to study the Bible became insatiable – I remember how I was so drawn to the book of Romans and I would study it for weeks until the finished works of Christ for the world became as clear as day. Back then, all I knew was that I really enjoyed studying the Bible and not that this was a gift. It also explains why I’m incredibly drawn to the teachings of Joyce Meyer and Steven Furtick amongst others.
It doesn’t mean, however, that I don’t ever display traits of the other gifts because as I mature as a Christian and the Holy Spirit does His work in me, I can act in ways associated with the other gifts as a particular circumstance or situation might demand but my motivational drive – my “lens” – remains Teaching. I also now, secondarily, display traits associated with Exhortation as someone who (wants to see believers grow to spiritual maturity….an encourager at heart and is often involved in the ministries of counseling, teaching, and discipling).
The next consideration is to understand and have an awareness of what the Bible calls the manifestations of the Spirit:
“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.” (1 Corinthians chapter 12 verses 7 to 11)
Apostle Paul called them manifestations to make the distinction from the other ‘gifts’ in the sense that these manifestations are not ‘gifts’ that are owned and operated at the discretion of the believer but rather they are manifested through individuals whenever the Holy Spirit pleases. They cannot be manifested at the will of any individual and just because the Holy Spirit manifested any one of these in a believer at some point does not mean He will do so again – it is completely at His will.
I think knowing about these manifestations is so key to the Christian journey otherwise we would walk around not knowing the power we carry. A book I seriously recommend if you’re interested in delving deep into understanding each of these manifestations is The Holy Spirit and His Gifts by Kenneth E. Hagin because it is the one book I can comfortably vouch for it’s biblical basis and it will also explain the rankings of these manifestations in a manner that really brings clarity and enlightenment. I wouldn’t trust a lot of the summaries I see online but let the Spirit of Truth guide you in your further study.
Based on what I know now and my current level of understanding and revelation, I can comfortably share my (only) experience of the manifestation of the Word of knowledge: sometime last month, I was sat on the Tube on a random Friday heading to a friend’s leaving drinks and this very normal-looking lady came on at one of the stops. When she first came on I didn’t notice much about her other than she was eating something which I later learned was shortbread biscuits. She took a seat opposite me and the next thing I heard within me was about her being into fortune-telling, psychic typa-thing or something of that nature. That was SO random to me because she looked as normal as normal can be and I was wondering why I even thought that about her. Next thing, no word of a lie, she pulls out a book from her bag titled “Pagan Magical Book”. I was like WHOA!! There is NO way I could have known this about a woman I had never seen in my entire life. Why did the Holy Spirit reveal this to me? No idea but at least now I have experience of this, I won’t miss it if He chooses to manifest this gift through me at another time.
Now, this is NOT a ‘gift of knowledge’ and in fact, there is no such thing as a spiritual gift of knowledge. The distinction is that the manifestation is as a WORD of knowledge and the simplest definition is that it is the supernatural revelation by the Holy Ghost of certain facts in the mind of God. It is a WORD because God is all-knowing but He doesn’t reveal everything He knows to man. instead, He gives a ‘word’ or ‘a part’ of what He knows and what He wants us to know at a given time. This revelation that comes with this manifestation is often to do with the past or present but never the future.
Disclaimer: I’m very much a baby Christian in this matter of ‘manifestations’ in that I perceive that the Holy Spirit is still giving me baby versions of these manifestations in order to build my own faith in this area and make me more aware of them. I promise, if He graces me with another such experience I will be sure to share.
There’s no order to discovering these gifts but I tried to present them in a way that could guide your own further study into this in a logical manner. Motivational gifts and manifestations of the Spirit are not necessarily driven by each other but understanding how they operate in your life can help point you in the right direction of how God would like to use you.
Discussion continues in Part 3. So stay tuned!
Praying you into an exciting season of your walk with God,