It is so exciting to discover which spiritual gifts we have been blessed with! While some of us prayerfully wait to use our newfound spiritual gifts, many of us immediately jump right into some type of ministry. So which way is best? When God shows us what our gifts are, what would he have us do next? Keep reading to learn how to begin sharing your spiritual gifts biblically.
Knowing You Have Gifts Is Not Enough
First, acknowledging that we have spiritual gifts and confessing it with our mouth is only the beginning. It is not enough to stop there or the seed God has planted in us will shrivel up and die a premature death.
In 1 Corinthians 19-20, Paul says “…I will know not the word of those who are puffed up, but the power. For the kingdom of God is not in word but in power.” So just sharing that we have been given such and such gift is simply not enough.
We know from James 2:26 that faith without works is dead. This means that we have to put action to our words. This action is stepping out in faith and, in this case, beginning to use your spiritual gifts.
Each Gift And Its Purpose Is Unique
The process and timing of stepping out in faith to use your gifts will look different for each person. It could mean a church ministry of some sort, something you create and do from your home (like a small group Bible study or a ladies group), an organization or person that would be blessed, etc. It could mean your ministry starts soon (think of Paul in Act 9:19-20) or years from now (think of Joseph from the Old Testament).
Regardless of what your ministry will look like or when God releases you to begin operating in your gifts, keep in mind that there are certain things you should consider before moving ahead.
1. Put On Your Armor
When you determine to accept who Christ created you to be and to walk in the anointing he has given you, you will catch the attention of our enemy and you will go under attack. That is why you need to pick up and put on your spiritual armor before operating in your gifts.
Satan doesn’t fight fair and you cannot defeat him in the flesh. Your spiritual armor must be in place. (Ephesians 6:11-17). This isn’t a one and done thing. Just as you put on new clothes daily, you must put on your spiritual armor daily.
2. Guard Your Time With God
Your Bible Time
Time spent with just you and God is invaluable. Determine to spend the majority of your time in God’s Word instead of commentaries, blogs, or even preaching/teaching. You need to clear your head of all other voices to hear from God yourself. He has many things to say to you.
As part of your study time, find others in the Bible who share your gift. What did they do right and wrong? How did God respond? What can you learn from their example?
For additional reading: Why Should I Study My Bible?
Your Prayer Time
Prayer doesn’t have to be fancy sounding words said out loud. Talk to God as if he were standing right in front of you attentively listening…because he is! He said he would never leave you or forsake you. So guess what? He is with you in the bathroom, at work, in the car…everywhere you go he goes. He is intently watching you, guarding you, listening to you. Talk to him and practice listening for his still, small voice. Pray for ears to hear and a spirit to know.
Spending time with God in his Word and talking with him is vital to your walk. What a shame it would be to win the world and lose your soul because you didn’t make your relationship with Christ Jesus a priority!
3. Be Willing To Act
This is a matter of the heart and can’t be faked. Holy Spirit can give you every gift he has to offer but if you aren’t willing to put feet to those gifts when he tells you to, the gifts are useless to you and everyone else. God will not give you a spiritual gift and a way to use that gift if there isn’t a need he wants to be met. There is a reason he shows you the need. Put those two together and be willing to move when he says move.
For additional reading: Your Life Is To Be A Journey Not A Resing Place
4. Set Your Priorities
Operating in your spiritual gifts can quickly inflate your ego and eat up your time. Many ministries have gotten themselves in trouble simply because they allowed their God-given priorities to get out of order. The best way we can prevent that is to passionately guard our priorities as God has given them to us. They are:
Too often we are so busy working for God that we forget God. Your personal relationship with God is your most precious gift. Nothing will ever top it. You must protect that relationship. As you seek him FIRST, all else follows (Matthew 6:33).
Your Spouse And Children
After God, your priority is with your spouse then your children (Ephesians 5:22, Ephesians 5:25). Regardless of what else God has called you to, loving on and ministering to your family is your primary ministry. Too often, our spouse and children are expected to take a backseat and accept our leftovers because we are so busy ministering to God’s people. But that is not God’s desire for us, our family or his church! (1 Timothy 5:8)
Your next God-given priority is your church home. I read recently that 20% of the people do 80% of the work in a church. That is sad when you realize that God has given 100% of his people his spiritual gifts to share.
However, you might be in a place that you just can’t minister at church right now because it would put your God-given priorities out of order. Don’t allow guilt or condemnation to force you to realign your priorities. Even Jesus had times he had to get away from ministering to the masses and rest his soul. Remember, God’s yoke is easy and his burden is light (Matthew 11:29-30).
As God uses you (and the gifts he has blessed you with) to bless and minister to his people, it might feel “small potatoes” to stick with the priority list God has given us. But God has his reasons. He knows what is ahead. As we follow him and grow, he will slowly release us to expand our reach to bless others outside of our home church.
5. Give Of Yourself As You Can, When You Can
Since our gifts are meant to be given away, be willing to give of your blessings (yourself, your time, and your spiritual gifts) as you can (2 Corinthians 8:12), giving generously as you determine in your heart to give (2 Corinthians 9:7). God expects no more and no less from his children.
Be Ye Doers Of The Word, And Not Hearers Only
We are told in 1 Corinthians 12:1 that we aren’t to be ignorant regarding spiritual gifts. Taking your time and not rushing ahead of God is so vital, as are protecting your relationship with him and keeping your priorities straight.
But when you feel the Holy Spirit’s nudge to take that step of faith and begin sharing spiritual gifts as God intends, keeping these 5 godly principles in mind will allow you to be a tremendous blessing to the body of Christ!
If you are new to the idea of spiritual gifts, you can read about them in this post, The Beginners Guide To Spiritual Gifts. As you learn about God’s gifts, it’s natural to wonder what your particular gifts are. I address that issue in this post, How To Identify Your Spiritual Gifts. Coming next in this series will be how to use your spiritual gifts in your home church.