Let’s first read from the Bible.
1 Corinthians 12:1, 4-6
1 Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I do not want you to be ignorant:
4 There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit.
5 There are differences of ministries, but the same Lord.
6 And there are diversities of activities, but it is the same God who works all in all. (NKJ)
Because there are three different aspects of spiritual gifts, we need to be careful and accurate in our application.
Verse 4: First God gives grace (divine influence upon the heart) to every believer by gifting and strengthening them to focus on one of the seven ways that the Holy Spirit ministers to the church (God’s called out people).
Verse 5: Secondly, God raises up and gives the church gifted servants to lead His church and fulfill His purposes.
Verse 6: Then, God pours out his powerful presence to turn the hearts of men to repentance when and how He sees it is important and necessary.
1/ So first, the supernatural grace that flows inside each believer causes them to desire to fulfill God’s will while they receive the power and strength to accomplish the ministry they are to focus on. Romans 12 lists seven specific motivating gifts that could be flowing through you after you are born again. Each believer is motivated to see from this specific viewpoint and focus his attention to serve through supernatural strength.
God’s gift to each believer is His grace. Verse four is describing grace gifts because the very word used in the Greek is from the word grace. Remember grace is defined as the divine influence upon the heart through which the Spirit of God causes a Christian to desire God’s will and empowers him, and that simply means, gives him the strength to do it. Therefore, a grace gift is a motivational force from within the believer causing them to desire and focus upon God’s will and being empowered to accomplish a godly action.
2/ Verse five speaks of a different aspect of spiritual gifts, the aspect of how the believer will minister (serve) for his fellow believers. The Greek word used is the same for deacon, and is simply used as an aide, server, minister, ministry, etc. God’s gifts to the church are spiritually gifted people He calls to serve fellow Christians, His team of disciples. He leads His saints to serve other believers through fellowship inside the church and to minister to the world through outreach by all His saints as the local church. Fellowship is the focus on loving fellow believers. Outreach is the focus to make disciples of all nations.
We see grace gifts are given for serving fellow believers in 1 Peter 4:10-11 which says, “As each one has received a gift,” [this is what verse 4 above is pointing to and means each Christian receives one grace gift]
“minister it to one another,” [this is what verse 5 is describing, the gift is given to help other believers through fellowship]
“as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.” [He clarifies that this is God’s grace flowing from the Holy Spirit inside each believer and it is our responsibility to manage this flow of grace through serving others as the Holy Spirit drives and leads us. It is not for your selfish pleasure.
“If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God. If anyone ministers, let him do it as with the ability which God supplies, that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belong the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.” (NKJ) [The grace gifts are divided into two types: speaking gifts and action gifts. Romans 12 lists prophecy [preaching], teaching, and exhorting as the speaking gifts. While serving, giving, leadership, and mercy [showing kindness] is action grace gifts. Your gift is your almost naturally feeling strength and focus.
This is important as we understand the value God puts on humble service to others. Let’s read in Matthew 20:26-28, “Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant. And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave— just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” (NKJ)
3/ Finally verse six speaks about the diverse ways the Holy Spirit reveals His power through His saints. These manifestations of God can be miraculous answers to prayer, miracles, and supernatural signs that prove to be from God. Paul met Christ in a supernatural way on the road to Damascus. Peter found tons of fish when he previously caught nothing. People were healed from diseases and some were raised from the dead. Crowds received food from a few little fish and some bread.
Here is what Paul says in 1 Corinthians 12:7-11 ”But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all: for to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, to another the word of knowledge through the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healings by the same Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits, to another different kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills.”
Let me be clear, there is not an equal distribution of manifestations from the Spirit of God, but instead, it is completely in God’s hands as He chooses to hide or reveal Himself by divine will. If God wants to show great mercy to accomplish His will He will show himself. At other times of history and in different places He will choose to hide His power as He wills. There is no formula. This is why you can see the first Christians prayed and asked for God to do this. It was not assumed or expected to happen, so they pled with God to show His hand of mercy to their generation [Read the Book of Acts].
God’s sovereign choices are His and for His divine purpose as He sees fit. If in our day God does not act visibly and powerful He has a reason and it does not mean a certain church or group is disobedient. If He decides to have the sound of a hurricane force wind blow through Jerusalem, show fire over the tops of the Christians’ heads, and give human language gifts to attract men like He did in Acts 2 it does not mean He will do it again. Only one donkey spoke in the Old Testament, only one bush burned to get Moses attention, and God will or will not do things, as He pleases when He pleases, and if He pleases or He may never repeat the action if He so decides.
This is different from the grace gifts where Peter said, “As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.”
We learn from this verse that every believer has one motivational grace gift. Therefore, it is imperative that every believer learns what their grace gift is for the sake of being a good manager and an excellent servant. So how do we find out what our gift is?
Revelation 5:6 “And I looked, and behold, in the midst of the throne and of the four living creatures, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as though it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent out into all the earth.” (NKJ) The original Greek is just as clearly translated here “ the seven-fold Spirit of God,” which makes more sense because we know there are not seven different Spirits of God.
The seven eyes are significant in understanding God’s seven motivational grace gifts. There are seven different ways He leads people to focus and see the needs and ministry around them. And God wants us to team up together to fulfill His purposes. A sports team has positions that have a different focus for each player. This is the same idea.
We find the seven grace gifts in Romans 12:4-8. “For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function, so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another. Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, let us prophesy in proportion to our faith; or ministry, let us use it in our ministering; he who teaches, in teaching; he who exhorts, in exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness. (NKJ)
Each believer has one of these gifts! No more than one, no less than one. The Spirit sees with His seven different eyes through His indwelling presence in Christians. One believer looks through the eyes of a prophet. Another through the filter of God’s servant heart. The next sees the world from the perspective of a teacher. And on we go through the other gifts until we have some believers who express God’s mercy as it pours from their soul.
For example, like a person wearing a pair of red glasses and seeing everything tainted red, a Christian who has the gift of leadership filters everything through this driving force from within. He wants to organize! He wants things orderly! Every gift has this type of motivation pressing through them.
But we need each other, so we must learn to trust and rely on each other to fulfill the will of God. And we must learn from each other and mature by growing up in the other six areas of spiritual strength and ministry. For example, since I am a prophet, I only learned mercy by watching and copying a friend who was a strong mercy giver. You will appreciate and love other believers when you stop demanding they see the same things you see or do things the same way you do them.
Much research and study have been done on motivational gifts with evidence of very consistent characteristics surrounding each gift. This article does not have the space to cover this. But, a hint to knowing your gift is found in your reaction to the following scenario.
A friend brings a tray full of drinks into your group meeting but trips and falls right in front of everyone. A mercy feels sorry for the person and wants to comfort them. The giver will offer to supply more drinks. The organizer jumps up and gives everyone a job in cleanup and recovery. The servants jump up to get the mop, bucket, and to pick up the mess. The exhorter encourages the poor soul, while the prophet wonders if he needed to be humbled because of unconfessed pride and desires to pray for him. The teacher looks to find truth in the situation or applies this new research and gives the poor soul a book the next day. Was the carpet the problem, or maybe he has a physical problem with his eyes? Obviously, I exaggerated to illustrate the various perspectives.
Once you know your spiritual grace gift, God wants you to be a good steward, which means get busy and become a good manager of your gift. He wants to love people through you. And to be at your most useful state, you need to know and rely on your spiritual strengths, because the Holy Spirit is releasing His strength into you so that you can accomplish your ministry. That is why it is your spiritual gift.
This chart gives a few simple examples of the strongest ministry applications of each grace gift, and examples of how the Holy Spirit manifests Himself. A servant usually is not comfortable having to lead a group project or speaking to a group but wants to help work with his hands on the project. An organizer does not want to be a member of a cleanup team, but he wants to organize them. A mercy does not want to fire or remove an unproductive worker, therefore would not be a good leader. God desires that you join a ministry so that He can love and serve others through you. This is His will for your life! Will you obey?
|The Grace Gift||Their Viewpoint of the Perfect Church||The Spiritual Focus|
|Prophet/Preacher…||A church that preaches and declares the Word of God without compromise by confronting sin!||sin, repentance, prayer, and true change in people’s lives|
|Servant/Minister…||A church that works hard at helping the needy and being involved in the community.||physical work such as cooking, cleaning, building, etc|
|Teacher/Tutor…||A church that has in-depth Bible studies, classes, small group studies and has a school or education emphasis.||the details of truth and organized education|
|Exhorter/Encourager…||A church with a strong ministry of counseling, personal growth teaching, and encouraging “how to” sermons.||spiritual growth and restoration of relationships|
|Leader/Organizer…||A church that is well organized, careful plans, meeting goals, consistent, focused and stable.||advancement of God’s Kingdom|
|Giver…||A church that is loving through organized ministries of relief efforts, missions, and productive outreach activities.||finding resources to advance God’s Kingdom|
|Mercy/Comforter…||A church that is tenderhearted and does not hurt anyone’s feeling, very loving to everybody, and very friendly.||the hurting and wounded|
Even though the chart shows common ministry interests, any grace gifted Christian can do other ministry as God calls him to do so. For example, the mercy giver who is led by God and his church leaders to take responsibility for a weekly prayer group can lead the group and see God answer in miraculous ways. Through their obedience to God’s sovereign will, they are blessed and the Father answers prayer by manifesting His power and heals a church member from a deadly disease. Remember God manifests His power as He chooses for His ultimate purposes through His obedient servants.
God will push you past your understanding to fulfill His will. You will need to have faith that God will give you more grace to accomplish His assignments for you and together as a body of believers you will glorify God in your city.