How do people determine their spiritual gift? Is it through prayer? Or does the Lord reveal it to them in some way?
There are several ways. Praying for guidance about your spiritual gift(s) is the first step, certainly. Also important is educating yourself to find out what the gifts are and what they look like in operation. And ask the people around you what they think your gifts are, if the people around you know anything about spiritual gifts! (They are found in 1 Cor. 12:7, 11; Rom. 12:4-8; Eph 4:7; and 1 Pet 4:10.)
I have discovered that when you're operating in an area of supernatural gifting, it's like getting on the moving sidewalks at airports—you can get where you're going twice as fast as the people walking next to you who aren't on the people mover, and there's energy and power and a spring in your step. It's FUN! When you're using your spiritual gifts, you are aware of operating in God's power and strength instead of your own. . . and the Spirit-led response is humility instead of pride.
After studying spiritual gifts, my husband Ray and I compiled a spiritual gifts inventory that some have found helpful. I hope you do too. (These are limited to the ministry gifts and do not include the foundational gifts of apostleship or prophet, nor the sign gifts of tongues, interpretation of tongues, healings or miracles.)
Spiritual Gifts Evaluation
Teaching — The supernatural ability to explain clearly and apply effectively the truth of the Word of God.
• Do you love the Body of Christ and desire that others know more about Scripture and how to apply it?
• Do you love studying the Word of God?
• Do you have a passion for sharing the insights and principles you have learned from the Word?
• Do you find it a challenge to make complicated truths simple and understandable?
Pastor/Teacher — One who is supernaturally equipped to shepherd and feed the flock of God with the result of their growth and maturity.
• Do you deeply love the people of God?
• Do you feel a yearning to model the principles of Scripture and mentor others so that they can follow Christ also?
• Do you feel God's calling to shepherd His people, tenderly nurturing and nourishing them?
Evangelism — The supernatural capacity to present the gospel message with exceptional clarity and an overwhelming burden for those who don't know Christ.
• Do you find yourself in situations where the topics of Christ and salvation come up?
• Do you gravitate toward relationships with non-Christians?
• When others hear you explain the gospel, do they respond by trusting Christ?
• Do you have a passion for the lost?
Word of Knowledge — The supernatural ability to receive information and truth directly from God without natural means. To know without knowing how you know.
• Do you find yourself "knowing" something you did not learn, and unable to explain how you know it?
• If you feel that God has given you a message to give to another Christian, is it confirmed by that person's response as truly coming from God?
Word of Wisdom — The supernatural ability to have insight concerning God's perspective and relay this insight succinctly to others. "Deep insight with handles."
• Do you experience flashes of insight on spiritual things, unusual in their clarity?
• Are you able to express this wisdom in ways that minister to people?
• Do you recognize wisdom in others when you hear it?
• Do people consider you unusually wise, and trust your judgment?
• Do you find yourself being quoted, and you recognize the quote as "a God thing"?
Faith — The supernatural ability to believe God for the impossible.
• When diverging roads appear before you, are you able to see God's path based on His word, in a way that others miss?
• Do you depend on God's resources and guidance to an unusual degree?
• Are you able to firmly claim God's presence in the midst of chaos?
• When God answers your prayers, is your response one of calm satisfaction rather than wonderment?
Exhortation (Encouragement) — The supernatural ability to come alongside and help others by comforting, encouraging, challenging, and rebuking.
• Are you especially sensitive to people?
• When you encourage someone, do they respond with grateful appreciation?
• Is the timing of your encouragings usually "perfect"?
• When you challenge or rebuke another believer, is it well received?
Showing Mercy — The supernatural ability to minister compassionately and cheerfully to those who are difficult to minister to.
• Do you have the ability to sense when a person is in need, even before they tell you?
• Are you drawn to people with emotional or physical pain, and to those society considers "unlovely"?
• Do you have an intuitive sense of when to be quiet and when to speak, or what to say and what not to say?
• Do people seek you out when they're hurting? Do they enjoy having you around?
Giving — The supernatural ability to give of one's material goods to the work of the Lord consistently, generously, sacrificially, with wisdom and cheerfulness.
• Are you enthusiastic when presented with an opportunity to give money to meet a need?
• Are you constantly looking for ways to give?
• Do you enjoy giving privately or anonymously?
• Do you REALLY think of money as God's, not yours?
Leadership/Administration — The supernatural ability to organize and lead projects while handling people tactfully and providing the vision to keep them at the task.
• Do you enjoy taking a disorganized situation and straightening it out?
• Are you able to motivate others to complete the project? Do people respond when you step in to give leadership?
• Do you enjoy planning and completing projects?
• Do you enjoy sorting out details, or do they frustrate you?
Service — The supernatural ability to serve faithfully and joyfully behind the scenes, in practical ways, in long-term commitments to service.
• Do you willingly volunteer to help with details?
• Do you prefer to work behind the scenes?
• Do you gain a sense of satisfaction when others succeed as a result of your behind-the-scenes work?
• Is faithfulness over the long term important to you?
Helps — The supernatural ability to minister joyfully to God's people in short-term service with flexibility and sensitivity to what needs to be done.
• Are you sensitive to specific and immediate needs?
• Are you flexible?
• Would you rather meet a one-time need than commit yourself to long-term service?
Discernment of Spirits — A supernatural ability to distinguish between the spirit of truth and spirit of error, between holiness and evil. Can instantly sniff out when someone's a phony or lying.
• Do you have an internal alarm that goes off when you encounter something phony or evil?
• Even when you're the only one who senses something wrong, is your "intuition" eventually validated?
• Do you (and others) consider yourself a good judge of character?
Hope this helps!
About the Author
Sue Bohlin is an associate speaker with Probe Ministries. She attended the University of Illinois, and has been a Bible teacher and conference speaker for over 35 years. She is a frequent speaker for MOPS (Mothers of Pre-Schoolers) and Stonecroft Ministries (Christian Women's Connections), and serves on the board and as a small group leader of Living Hope Ministries, a Christ-centered outreach to those dealing with unwanted homosexuality. Sue is on the Bible.org Women's Leadership Team and is a regular contributor to Bible.org's Tapestry Blog. She is also a professional calligrapher and the webmistress for Probe Ministries; but most importantly, she is the wife of Dr. Ray Bohlin and the mother of their two grown sons. Her personal website is suebohlin.com.
What is Probe?
Probe Ministries is a non-profit ministry whose mission is to assist the church in renewing the minds of believers with a Christian worldview and to equip the church to engage the world for Christ. Probe fulfills this mission through our Mind Games conferences for youth and adults, our 3-minute daily radio program, and our extensive Web site at www.probe.org.
Further information about Probe's materials and ministry may be obtained by contacting us at:
2001 W. Plano Parkway, Suite 2000
Plano TX 75075