Do you want a spoon or a shovel? That might appear to be a silly question, but stick with me. If you were about to eat soup, you’d want a spoon. If you were to dig a hole for your fence, you’d want the shovel.
How something is designed says a lot about its purpose. The same is true of you. How God designed you says a lot about your specific purpose in life and how you will find joy and contentment in it.
Why You Want to Know Your Spiritual Gifts
“What is my place in this world?” is a question all of us ask at some point in our lives. Would it help to know that your place in this world has everything to do with how God has designed you and equipped you to serve him?
For everyone who has faith in Jesus, God gives them his Holy Spirit to indwell them forever (Ephesians 1:13-14). Along with spiritual fruit (Galatians 5:22-23) comes spiritual gifts, abilities that God gives his children as he empowers them through his Spirit. It is the Spirit who “apportions to each one individually as he wills” (1 Corinthians 12:11 ESV). Knowing what these gifts are will help God’s people find joy and contentment in their lives.
Take time to figure out how God has designed you—what spiritual gifts you possess.
For example, so many people are frustrated in their occupation because they aren’t doing something they love to do. Work is drudgery. They wake up unmotivated; the workday drags on; they can’t wait for the weekend. Unfortunately, this is often the case with Christians who feel “lost” in their walk with God. They often float from church to church without any real sense of purpose or belonging.
The Apostle Paul uses the metaphor of a human body when he speaks about spiritual gifts. He says that just as the body has various parts that play a role in the body’s proper functioning, Christians form a spiritual body called the Church that behaves similarly (1 Corinthians 12:12). Every Christian is given one or more spiritual gifts that are meant to be used for “the common good” (1 Corinthians 12:7 ESV) and for “building up the church” (1 Corinthians 14:12 ESV). When they use their gifts, it nourishes the rest of the body of Christ.
Four Reasons Christians Don’t Exercise Their Spiritual Gifts
Unfortunately, though, many Christians don’t exercise their spiritual gifts. Let’s briefly explore four reasons why:
1. Ignorance: Some people don’t use their spiritual gifts because they don’t know they have them. Or they mistakenly think they are gifted in ways they are not gifted in. You wouldn’t dig a ditch with a spoon, or use a shovel to stir your coffee, would you? Take time to figure out how God has designed you—what spiritual gifts you possess. We provide a variety of sources on this page to help you in this endeavor.
2. Fear: Some people are afraid to exercise their gifts because they fear they will make mistakes, or face criticism from others. Granted, both of these things often happen in churches today. Ministering in the church has its ups and downs. But don’t let this dissuade you from using your gifts. If everybody allowed fear to paralyze them, none of us would be properly edified in the church. Hand your fear over to God and allow him to lift you up as you use the gifts he has graciously given you.
3. Laziness: Others don’t use their gifts because they don’t want to spend the time. They prefer popping in and out of church without getting involved. Unfortunately, the old adage is true: 10% of the people do 90% of the work. But we will each stand before God and give account of our stewardship of the gifts he has given us (Matthew 25:14-25). It is our responsibility to present ourselves to God as workers who are approved by him (2 Timothy 2:15).
4. Opposition: Another reason why some Christians don’t exercise their spiritual gifts is because they are being held back by others in the church who are intimated by their giftedness, or the Enemy is discouraging them from using their gifts for the good of the Church. If this is the case, speak to your pastor or someone in leadership that you trust, and ask them how you can effectively use the gifts God has given you. God often uses opposition to help us fine tune where we should minister.
Do you want to find your place in this world, and in the body of Christ? Consider how God has designed you. When we exercise our spiritual gifts, as God intended, we will increase in joy and contentment. When we exercise our spiritual gifts, the Spirit delights to bless others through us and bear more of his fruit in our own lives.
As you read the various resources on our “Spiritual Gifts” page, we hope you will discover your spiritual gifts and how to effectively use them for the edification of others and for the glory of God.