‘But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.’ (1 Peter 2v9)
There’s something very appealing about this image. Possibly because its constructed from disjointed geometrical shapes? Maybe because the coloured images repeat themselves in different sizes and at tangential angles? Or could it be the stark colours that don’t sit well together – such as pink beside orange – also work through variations of tone and colour?
For me, this image also serves as a useful pictorial representation of Church in which colour and shape depicts the eclectic nature of the people within it. More than, that, the disparate and differing needs of those who make up the body of Christ. People who at first glance, we might think would never work well together. (Incidentally, they also think the same of us!). And yet, somehow, by the grace of God and the work of the Holy Spirit in their lives and ours, a royal priesthood, holy nation and special possession to God is created.
Of course, this is merely the beginning stage. Those who are called to form the body of Christ are also expected to realise their own full spiritual potential within it. Regrettably, through ignorance, lack of teaching or lax attitude, many people attending churches today remain unaware of their primary spiritual gift, calling and/or passion. Where this happens, the church is curtailed in size so that only a fraction of its potential is realised and visible – rather like the fragment image taken from the picture above. Bottom line, its one thing to believe, another to commit and realise our full spiritual potential in God’s tapestry.
‘A spiritual gift is given to each of us so we can help each other.To one person the Spirit gives the ability to give wise advice; to another the same Spirit gives a message of special knowledge.The same Spirit gives great faith to another, and to someone else the one Spirit gives the gift of healing.He gives one person the power to perform miracles, and another the ability to prophesy. He gives someone else the ability to discern whether a message is from the Spirit of God or from another spirit. Still another person is given the ability to speak in unknown languages, while another is given the ability to interpret what is being said.It is the one and only Spirit who distributes all these gifts. He alone decides which gift each person should have.’ 1 Corinthians 12v7-11
Basically, we need to know our primary spiritual gift because it’s one gift in particular (out of many gifts) that God has gives us for a specific purpose in His Kingdom. Put simply…
ministry = primary spiritual gift + the God-given passion (that is particular to you)
If you don’t know your primary spiritual gift, take a spiritual gift test and ask yourself of the spiritual gifts that came top of your list:
Which gift energises you the most when you use it?
When using that gift are people blessed or edified?
Is there a sense of personal and spiritual fulfilment when operating in this gift?*
If you can answer ‘yes’ to all three questions, that will be the one that is your primary spiritual gift.
“If you love me, obey my commandments.And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, who will never leave you.He is the Holy Spirit, who leads into all truth. The world cannot receive him, because it isn’t looking for him and doesn’t recognize him. But you know him, because he lives with you now and later will be in you.’ John 14v15-1
In this passage we learn that Jesus’ departure heralds the arrival of the Holy Spirit whose mission is to live within each of the followers so that they can receive comfort, guidance, strength and support. We are also told that the disciples will receive a gift from God’s great variety of spiritual gifts which – when combined with other people and their spiritual gifts – will build God’s Kingdom on earth through the Church. But more on that in next post…
Right now, for the Holy Spirit to come upon the believers, Christ must die and return to the Father – in much the same way that a flower dies and sheds its seed abroad so that others may follow. The cost to Christ to make this happen is death as he brings salvation and new life. For Christ to refuse the cross, the Holy Spirit would not be able to come upon us.
Given the depth of love that Christ shows in saving us from physical and spiritual death, our responsibility is to let our gratitude overflow into work for his Kingdom. We do this by allowing the Holy Spirit to reside within as he motivates us to use the spiritual gifts we have been given. In this way, the Kingdom of God grows both within and outside us in the world. Find out more at primary spiritual gift.
‘In his grace, God has given us different gifts for doing certain things well. So if God has given you the ability to prophesy, speak out with as much faith as God has given you.If your gift is serving others, serve them well. If you are a teacher, teach well.If your gift is to encourage others, be encouraging. If it is giving, give generously. If God has given you leadership ability, take the responsibility seriously. And if you have a gift for showing kindness to others, do it gladly.’ Romans 12v6-8
The most important thing to remember about a person’s primary spiritual gift is that it is particular to that person! While this sounds obvious, it isn’t when taken in regard to other spiritual gifts we may possess and use. Yet , among these, only one gift occupies a primary function in building God’s Church and Kingdom – why?
…because it’s the one gift God gives a person thatenergises them when they use it.
….because other people are constantly blessed and edified when a person uses the gift.
…because it provides a sense of spiritual fulfilment in the person that no other gift can.
The Apostle Paul in the book of Corithians says this: ‘What I told you about Christ is true.Now you have every spiritual gift you need as you eagerly wait for the return of our Lord Jesus Christ.He will keep you strong to the end so that you will be free from all blame on the day when our Lord Jesus Christ returns.’ 1 Corinthians 1v6-8
Some believers – if they are not careful – end up with with a condition that is best described as ‘spiritual gift envy.’ The situation usually occurs where a person desires to be like another to the point where they want the exact same spiritual gifting and ministry. More frequently, their desire is often a ‘trade up’ from what they have at present as seldom do they envy the person who washes dishes or cleans toilets but rather the evangelist, apostle, teacher, leader or prophet in the church.
To counter this condition, the person needs to understand that the cure to ‘gift envy’ is contentedness. That’s why scripture says: ‘Now you have every spiritual gift you need‘ – what else can this mean other than God has given us the spiritual equipping we need that compliments who we are and the perfect role ordained for us to do within the Church. Want to grow spiritually? Ascertain your primary spiritual gift and determine to use it every day to fulfil God’s purpose and plan for your life! You won’t regret it!
‘When I think of all this, I fall to my knees and pray to the Father, the Creator of everything in heaven and on earth….Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us,to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen Ephesians 3v14,20-21.
Imagine a scenario in which Pele, knowing his unique skills and ability as a footballer, chose to hide them away from the world until he was in the last year of his footballing career. People would want to know why he had wasted the opportunity to help the national team as he could have made a real difference in many matches and tournaments?
In the passage, we are informed that God ‘the Creator of everything in heaven and earth’ has spiritually equipped each of us in a unique way – in other sections of the Bible we learn this equipping involves a range of specialised gifts in which believers will serve, teach, prophesise, evangelise, preach, encourage, lead, etc (see table ). The reason God does this is that there is no benefit if everyone is a pastor in much the same way that for all to be administrators will achieve nothing. Moreover, God gives believers different passions – one might be a teacher of childern while another a discipler of adults.
To not put our primary spiritual gift to use in the church is similar to the footballer Pele never making himself known or available to the Brazilian team. Both talent and our primary spiritual gift are great opportunities to achieve great things in life.
‘There is much more we would like to say about this, but it is difficult to explain …You have been believers so long now that you ought to be teaching others. Instead, you need someone to teach you again the basic things about God’s word. You are like babies who need milk and cannot eat solid food.’ (Hebrews 5:11-12)
Why do some people accelerate in spiritual growth while others languish? Aside from Maslow’s Hierarchy that details how some may be affected by circumstance, other factors include openess, attitude, opportunity, obedience and resilience.
Openess – a willingness to be available to God to explore the spiritual gifts you have.
Attitude – a resolve to trust God’s Holy Spirit and not to back track when things get tough.
Opportunity – seeing each circumstance as a God-given chance to pray or act.
Obedience – determining in advance that the action taken will favour God’s perspective.
Resilience – even when failure occurs, a trust in God that encourages perseverance.
‘Now these are the gifts Christ gave to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers.Their responsibility is to equip God’s people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ.This will continue until we all come to such unity in our faith and knowledge of God’s Son that we will be mature in the Lord, measuring up to the full and complete standard of Christ.’ Ephesians 4v11-13
Although all of the spiritual gifts are at our disposal, God has designated one particular gift to each of us that will be hugely effective in growing the Church. Conversely, while we don’t know the primary spiritual gift God has given us,we risk our full spiritual potential being left unrealised in our lives. All of which means we need to be proactive. To find out more get the app, eBook or print copy (UK Only). Then complete the spiritual gift test – discover your primary spiritual gift and get going on building God’s Kingdom!