Prayer is a spiritual discipline that most Christians are familiar with but most of us are frustrated with at times. Why don’t Christians pray more? We don’t know how. If you didn’t grow up in church, or even if you did, praying can be incredibly intimidating, especially if you grew up in a formal church where the pastor […]
4 There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. 5 There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. 6 There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work. 7 Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. 1 Corinthians 12:1-7
Here are 6 reasons why spiritual gifts are critically important for every believer:
1). God gave you a custom-designed gift for your good and his glory. Look at what verse 4 says, “There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them.” Spiritual gifts are exactly that: gifts, given by God, to you. And they’re custom-designed, they’re all different. You know the significance of when someone gets you something on your birthday or for Christmas, and you can tell they put a lot of thought into it. It’s not a generic gift card, as nice as those are. How insulting would it be if someone went out of their way to get you something unique, and yet you never opened it?
The God who created the universe, the God who calls out the stars and knows them all by name, the God who upholds the furthest edges of the galaxy and knows the most intimate details of every organism on this planet, went out of his way to intentionally give you a spiritual gift, something custom-designed and unique to you. How insulting is it to God if you never discover and develop the gift he custom-designed for you?
2). Spiritual gifts are the way to supernaturally meet the needs of those around you. In verse 5, Paul says there are different kinds of service. That word service is where we get our word ‘deacon’ from. Paul tells the church in Corinth that spiritual gifts are designed to be used to meet the needs of others. Anyone can give a dollar or say a kind word, but when you discover and develop your spiritual gifts, you’re tapping into your divine potential and unleashing the power of God to flow through you and touch the lives of others.
There are needs out there, all around us, in our families, in our schools, in our communities. People are broken, people are hurting, people need hope. Government is not the ultimate answer, neither is the school system. People need God, and when we discover and develop our spiritual gifts, we’re unleashing the power of God to supernaturally meet the needs of those around us.
3). Spiritual gifts provide energy that power the church. Look at verse 6, “There are different kinds of working.” That Greek word for working is where we get our modern word ‘energy.’ The picture the Bible gives us here is that when we discover and develop our spiritual gifts collectively, we generate energy that powers the church. That makes sense, because in Acts 1:8 Jesus says we will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on, and these spiritual gifts are gifts of the Holy Spirit. When we use our spiritual gifts, we create energy that powers the church. Why is that important?
Pretend I was looking at a flat screen tv. It has incredible potential. It can show movies, DVDS, if it’s a smart tv, it can connect to the internet and do a million more things. But the one thing it always needs is: power. Without power, without energy, this flat screen is literally a shell of what it could be.
Let’s apply that to modern churches today. We can all agree that there are too many churches that are simply shells of what they could be. It’s as if they have no energy, no power source. One of (not the only reason but one of) the reasons for that is because we’ve neglected spiritual gifts. That’s how important spiritual gifts are. There are three more reasons.
4). When the church properly uses spiritual gifts, we give the world a picture of the Godhead. Now you’ve got to go a little deeper for this one, but thankfully I’m a Bible nerd and this fascinates me. Let’s read verses 4-6 again:
4 There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. 5 There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. 6 There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work. 1 Corinthians 12:4-6
We’ve focused on the first parts of each statement: gifts, service, working. Now focus on the latter part of each statement. There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. That’s a reference to Jesus. There are different kinds of working, but the same God is at work.
What you have here is one of the few references in the entire Bible where all of the Trinity are mentioned together: God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit. What does that mean? That means that when we discover and develop our spiritual gifts, something much bigger happens. The world catches a glimpse of the fullness of the Godhead alive in us. That’s a huge deal.
5). Spiritual gifts are a primary way to demonstrate the Spirit’s power in our lives. How the early church grew was incredibly simple: they prayed all the time. They listened to the Spirit and did whatever he told them to do. And they demonstrated the Spirit’s power and told their Jesus story.
So if a key component in our Christian life is to demonstrate the Spirit’s power in our lives, if we’re supposed to be a walking testament that there is a God and he is alive in us, how do we do that? How do we demonstrate God’s power to the world? Look at what Paul says in verse 7, “Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit.” The other times that word manifest is used in the New Testament is when God broke through from the spiritual world into the physical world and did something supernatural. When we discover and develop our spiritual gifts, we’re literally manifesting the Spirit’s power in our lives. We’re demonstrating the Spirit’s power in our life.
If your Christian life is stuck in a rut and you can’t even remember the last time God did something supernatural in your life, perhaps it’s because you’ve neglected your spiritual gifts. Do you want to see the power of the Holy Spirit present and active in your life? Discover and develop your spiritual gifts.
And last, 6). Spiritual gifts make the church thrive. Look how Paul finishes up his instruction on spiritual gifts, “Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good.” The idea is that spiritual gifts represent a better way for the church. It’s just better when we do it God’s way. I know most of you love the local church as much as I do. Many of you were raised in church. Many of you owe your lives to people in the church that shaped you, guided you, forgave you, restored you. You love the church. What Paul says is that when we discover and develop our spiritual gifts, we get to do what we do (doing church), we get to do it better. It’s just better all around, for us, for our families, for our communities, when we lean into our spiritual gifts.
And by the way, that’s a great litmus test for all spiritual gifts, especially the miraculous gifts that we’ll get to in two weeks: all spiritual gifts are given for the common good. They’re designed to build up the local church. When that doesn’t happen, then we’re not leveraging our spiritual gifts properly.