God hand-picks at least one gift for each of us because we are all vital to his kingdom. When the time is right, Holy Spirit will begin to reveal your gifts to you. Once you identify your spiritual gifts, God expects you to step out in faith to operate in your gifts to bless your brothers and sisters in Christ. As you bring glory to God in this way, your gifts will grow and develop.
To begin operating in your gifts, you need to understand what spiritual gifts are. I wrote about them in our last post, which you can read by clicking here: A Beginners Guide To Spiritual Gifts. Once you understand what spiritual gifts are, you can begin the growth process of identifying your spiritual gifts God has blessed you with.
How To Identify Your Spiritual Gifts
Spiritual Gifts Tests
When a Christian is searching to know what spiritual gifts they have been blessed with, inevitably they are advised to take a spiritual gifts test (and there is a multitude of them on the internet!). There is nothing wrong with spiritual gift tests but I would advise you to be cautious and keep them in perspective.
Why? Because these tests are not a magic formula. They are man-made tests trying to direct you to think and act in a way that God might not have created you for. As such, spiritual gift tests are fine as a tool but should never be considered an absolute or given more authority in your life than seeking God in prayer or reading his Word.
My Spiritual Gifts Test Experiment
To prepare for this study, I took countless tests. Based on the results of the first few tests, I decided to conduct an experiment. As I suspected, my results were different based on how I answered the test questions. Reviewing my results, I am blessed with every spiritual gift! Although that would be amazing, I can say without a shadow of a doubt it is NOT true.
So what happened with my tests? As part of my experiment, sometimes I answered the questions based on what I would do if I could. On other tests, I answered based on my actions in the past. A few tests worded questions in such a way I knew there was no way I would “get” a particular gift. For example, on one test all of the gift of giving questions was about tithing. Not money in general or other types of giving, but tithing. I do not believe even a tiny bit that the gift of giving is just about money so these questions were answered as they applied to tithing, which is NOT a spiritual gift.
Do yourself a favor and don’t spend a lot of time taking tests to see what your gifts are. Keep reading to discover 4 ways to biblically discover your spiritual gifts.
How Do You Identify Spiritual Gifts Without A Test?
This will take a little more effort on your part than simply taking a 10-minute test. It will require lots of time getting to know God and how he desires you to treat others. It will also take your knocking on God’s doors with a sincere heart to serve his people. To do this, you need to:
Go right to the one who created you, your gift, and knows the plans he has for you. Ask God to make you sensitive to the gift he has blessed you with as he begins to reveal it. Ask him to examine your heart and forgive you of sin. Thank God for all that he has blessed you with, including your gifts and the opportunities he is preparing so that you can be a blessing to his children.
Get in Your Bible
Begin by reading all the scriptures you can find on spiritual gifts, including Romans 12:6-8; 1 Cor 12, 13,14; Ephesians 4:11; 1 Peter 4:9-11. As always, read the verses before and after so that you can read them in context. Ask God to show you examples from his Word of where your gift might have been used in the past (2 Tim 3:16). God doesn’t change so if he has a gift for you today he had it for someone before you. Your situation may not be identical to those you read in the Bible but God and his message do not change!
What are you drawn to? What areas are you noticing you are sensitive to? The reason this is important is that Holy Spirit will plant seeds of interest in areas that he has called you to (1 Cor 12:11). Areas you didn’t pay attention to in the past will suddenly stand out to you in ways that seem natural and ordinary. But keep in mind it’s only natural and ordinary for YOU. Those with a different gift will see a situation from their gifting and be just as clueless as to why you react the way you do.
For example, imagine you hear that a beloved, elderly member of your church has been admitted to the hospital. More than likely, your gifts will determine your response to this news.
- Those God blesses with the gift of mercy: Their heart will hurt at the news that someone is suffering. They very well might get teary-eyed as their heart is flooded with compassion for this dear persons suffering.
- Those God blesses with the gift of faith: This person cares about their elderly friend but they aren’t distraught over this news. They have complete faith that God is at work and all will work out as He intends.
- Those God blesses with the gift of encouragement: They hear the news and set up a visit with the patient. They might bring flowers or balloons to brighten the room and encourage their friend. They bring hugs, smiles and lots of laughter so that when they leave the patient is in a better, more godly, frame of mind.
- Those God blesses with the gift of helps: They know that this person has a few pets at home and babysits their grandbaby a few days a week. If able, the person operating in the gift of helps will desire to pitch in and take care of the pets and grandbaby while their elderly friend is in the hospital.
- Those God blesses with the gift of healing: They have the urge to head right to the hospital to anoint and pray for this person. Even if they cannot go to the hospital, they still have a strong urge to pray and see this person healed.
- Those God blesses with the gift of ministering: This person seeks to bring church to the patient. They might be concerned about the patient not being able to read the Bible or becoming discouraged listening to the lies of the enemy. They might stop in the read to the patient, offer comfort through prayer and a hug, or simply to the patient how faithful and loving God really is.
In addition, pay attention to the gifts you don’t have so that you are not tempted to put your effort into something God has not equipped you to do. Otherwise, the enemy will use guilt and discouragement to take you away from the areas God desires you to operate in.
Seek Confirmation Of Your Gifts
Sometimes God is trying to show you your gifts but you are so obsessed with finding evidence of a particular gift that you are longing for. When that happens, you can’t see what else God might be trying to show you.
As such, ask your spouse, trusted Christian friends, or church leadership to see what they feel your gifts are. Pick someone who is godly, knows you well, and will be honest with you. They might see something in you that you can’t see in yourself yet. God can use a simple comment from the important people he has placed in your life to confirm something he has already been speaking to you.
For additional ways God confirms his word, be sure to read this post: 8 Amazing Ways God Speaks To All His Children.
God’s Will Be Done
Your gift and how God wants you to walk it out will look different from the person next to you. You need to accept that you might not be blessed with the gifts you want but you will be blessed with the gifts you were created to have. If you can get to the place of humbly accepting your gifts, Holy Spirit can begin to use you to bless others.
It doesn’t have to be so hard to identify spiritual gifts. Ask others or take as many questionnaires as you want. Just don’t let those things determine your gifts. Let Holy Spirit guide and direct you the way you should go as he determines. Remember, your gifts are not about you but about blessing others as God puts them in your path. God’s gifts, his people, his plan…thy will (not my will) be done on earth as it is in heaven.
As you get an idea of the spiritual gifts God may have given you, pray for his will and guidance to use your gifts for his glory. Pray to serve others to the best of your ability as you minister to them in the love that flows from Christ. Start small (Zechariah 4:10) and trust God to grow you and your gifts.
One last thing. You might not feel qualified but don’t stress about not being ready to function in your gifts. This is where your faith has a chance to grow. Besides, just as God created the earth and everything in it THEN created man, he will not bless you with a gift and reveal it to you if he has not already equipped you to begin operating in it. He knows it will take baby steps of faith as you learn to hear his voice and use your gifts. God is incredibly patient and kind. You can trust God just as he trusts you.
If you were blessed by this teaching, how to identify your spiritual gifts, I would be grateful if you would consider sharing it by clicking on the image to share on Pinterest or sharing this post on social media.
Father, thank you for allowing us to know you. There is no one like you, Lord God. You are Holy, mighty, and just. You have set apart the godly for yourself. We ask that you allow the smile on your face to shine on us today. Lord, search our hearts for hidden wickedness and forgive us our sins.
We desire to identify the spiritual gifts you have blessed us with. Holy Spirit, begin to reveal to us our path, with its gifts and opportunities to bless, that you have prepared just for us. But more than that, help us to never lose sight of who you are. Lord, help us not to get caught up in seeking attention but to seek after you. I thank you with all of my heart. I am filled with joy because of you, my Lord and God. Thank you for your loving kindness. In Jesus’ mighty name I pray, Amen!