Gifts of the Holy Spirit
God wants to pour out his blessings on
you and use you in a special way
We can’t begin to imagine how big and powerful God is. It’s easy to say he is almighty—but if we really understood what that meant, it would blow our minds!
This is one of the reasons we shouldn't be surprised when God does things that seem odd to us, and he does do these kind of things...
The Bible is full of examples of people behaving weirdly: being healed, knowing things that are beyond human knowledge, hearing God speak, controlling nature and even raising the dead. These and various other things are called gifts of the Holy Spirit, and this article is a very basic introduction to them.
Where do they come from? Christians believe in one God, known in three persons: the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. The Spirit is given to Christians just as he came on the day of Pentecost (Acts [NT], chapter 2), and he gives various gifts to help follow Jesus. In other words, these are gifts given by God himself to his people.
What does he give? The Bible is clear that spiritual gifts are given for the common good (1 Corinthians [NT]) and to prepare God’s people for works of service (Ephesians [NT]). In other words, they are given to be used to help one another, and build up the church. They are not to make people feel good, or for self-promotion!
What do they include? There are a number of lists of gifts in the Bible. They include dramatic things like healing, ways in which God speaks like prophecy, things that help in worship, or prayer-like tongues (a special prayer-language given by God), wisdom and knowledge—and more ordinary things like the gift of hospitality. We should not think that it’s only supernatural things that God gives us. Everything that we have comes from him, and gifts are simply things that God gives. However, God provides for us even beyond our natural gifts.
How do you get them? Jesus said that God operates in a very simple way: “Ask and it shall be given to you, seek and you will find, knock and the door will be opened to you” (in Matthew [NT]) Basically, that’s it: ask and God will provide, seek and he will lead. There are other things that are helpful—the Bible teaches us to pray for each other, often by laying our hands on people. We do need to trust God when we ask; this is called faith, and it puts us in a place where we can receive. However, at its most basic level it really is this simple.
The two most important things to remember are that God does provide, sometimes in remarkable ways, and that when we want or need him we should ask, believing that he will answer our prayer.
Pray: Lord God, can it be that there are such gifts that you want to give to me? Give me a heart that is ready and willing to receive whatever you have to offer. Amen.
Read another CotN article about the gifts of the Spirit
See the gifts of the Spirit as listed in the Bible
Read short explanations of the gifts
Read chapters going into the spiritual gifts in depth
Read the book What You Do Best in the Body of Christ: Discover Your Spiritual Gifts, Personal Style, and God-given Passion by Bruce L. Bugbee
Read Activating the Gifts of the Holy Spirit by David Ireland
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