What is a spiritual gift? Does everyone have one? The Bible teaches that these “gifts” are supernatural, God-given abilities that every follower of Jesus possesses for the purpose of building up and encouraging the body of Christ. The original Greek word for spiritual gift is the word charisma. You might immediately think of a “charismatic church,” which usually refers to a church that focuses on miraculous spiritual gifts. Yet, according to the Biblical definition of spiritual gifts, every Christian is charismatic because every Jesus follower has at least one spiritual gift. If you do NOT have a spiritual gift, it means that you’re not a follower of Jesus. However, there are many Christians whose spiritual gift might be lying dormant or underutilized.
So what exactly IS a spiritual gift? It’s not a talent. Talents refer to various God-given skills and abilities that every person possesses, whether or not they are Christians. Musical ability is a wonderful talent that can be used for God’s glory, but it’s not a spiritual gift. Spiritual gifts are also not a character trait or fruit of the spirit – things like love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, etc.
Peter divides spiritual gifts into two camps: speaking gifts and serving gifts. Speaking gifts include the missionary gift, preaching, and teaching, or prophecy. In Ephesians chapter 4, these gifts are broken down further into the gifts of evangelism, encouragement, discernment, wisdom, leadership, and speaking in tongues. Serving gifts consist of the gift of faith, administration, giving, healing, miracles, hospitality, mercy, helping, and service.
If you’re wondering about your own spiritual gift, ask God to begin to reveal it to you today. (There are many spiritual gift surveys that can help you discover your gifts.) If you’ve ignored or forgotten your particular spiritual gifting, ask God to show you how to use it again for His glory. If you’ve never given your life to Christ in faith, now’s the time. God longs to help us walk in abundant and purposeful lives, by discovering and using our spiritual gifts in ministry.