What Makes a Spiritual Gift Spiritual?

We’ve been talking about spiritual gifts a lot lately and specifically how to discern what your spiritual gifts are and it’s a thought that I’ve never completely tackled. When I was younger I took the online tests to understand in what ways I was gifted and over time I heard confirmation of my gifts from those I was serving with and walking alongside. As we study 1 Corinthians and look at the function of the group of individuals who follow Jesus as a body instead of as a bunch of individuals following Jesus, our giftedness stands out because we aren’t all the same. We’re all good at different things. But what exactly distinguishes a gift as a “spiritual gift” as opposed to just something I’m good at? Is there a difference at all? 

While cleaning up on Sunday before Bible study, Brittany and I started talking about some of this stuff and she made me think about it in a way I never had before. It’s a joy to be able to discuss profound stuff like this with someone I know loves and respects me because I can get my stupid out in the air and know it’s not going to mean a shut down in our relationship. The perspective we talked about was that a spiritual gift is considered spiritual less by what it does and more in how it is used. There are many times where things we consider spiritual gifts are being practiced by those who are not connected to the body of Christ. For example, Jesus’ remarks in Matthew 7 when people came to after casting out demons, performing miracles and prophesying, but never knowing Jesus. These are things we widely consider spiritual gifts, but they are doable by those who are not in the kingdom, people Christ labels as evildoers. So these abilities are not inherently spiritual. So what is it that makes a gift spiritual? What we talked about was the idea that God gifts everyone in particular ways with different things that we are just better at doing than other people. Brittany cited Martha Stewart for hospitality and Bill Gates for administration (also both widely considered spiritual gifts). Spiritual gifts are spiritual in their origin because God places these abilities and talents in us. They are given to us, hence spiritual gift. But just because we have a gift doesn’t mean we use it for the kingdom of God. 

Our spiritual gifts come to completion in their service. In 1 Corinthians, Paul talks about the different gifts that we are all given as the ways we serve and the ways that we work in the Kingdom. So the things that God has empowered us to do and sent us off to serve each other with are our spiritual gifts. Our spiritual gifts are brought to completion in our service to each other and in our using them to LOVE (see chapter 13…a bunch). I still don’t have a list of what spiritual gifts are and there is an analytical part of me that would really like that so I can organize and categorize the best ways to serve.

How would you say that God has gifted you?


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