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Monday, August 31, 2009

Spiritual Gifts


"What you are is God's gift to you.
What you make of yourself is your gift to God."
~ Vern McLellan

Who do you think you are to question God? Does the clay have the right to ask the potter why he shaped it the way he did?
~ Romans 9:20 (CEV)

Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I do not want you to be ignorant ... There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are differences of ministries, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of activities, but it is the same God who works all in all.
~ 1 Corinthians 12:1,4-6 (NKJV)

Among the gifts (manifestations) of the Holy Spirit mentioned in the Bible are prophecy, service / ministry, teaching, exhortation, giving, leadership / administration, mercy, the word of wisdom or knowledge, faith, healings, working of miracles, discerning of spirits, different kinds of tongues, interpretation of tongues.

God also gives human skills and attributes to complement spiritual gifts. A recent discussion on What I Learned Today examined which of these we might choose for ourselves, given the opportunity. While we can ask for specific spiritual gifts, attributes, and skills, the Lord is the One to choose what we are given. We choose not what we receive, but how and why we use it.

If motivated by pride, we can waste our gifts by using them to build up ourselves. If motivated by love for Christ and love for others—the more excellent way—we will use what we've been given to glorify God and build up people, especially those within His Body of believers.

That's what Building His Body is about. I pray I am faithful to that calling with all I am and all I've been given.

Father in Heaven, You are generous beyond all reason with us. Your grace lends to our use Your life and strength of Spirit, and these are more than enough. With all else You put in our hands, however fleetingly, we can never repay the debt of love we owe You. We ask for Your empowerment so we can nonetheless try.

Feedback appreciated! Post to "Comments" or e-mail to Copyright 2009, Anne Lang Bundy, all rights reserved.


  1. Anne, you certainly do edify the body with your posts. Thank you for letting the holy spirit move through you and for being a wonderful and obedient servant of Christ. I so look forward to your blog each night! XOXO

  2. God has truly blessed you my friend with the gift of encouragement. Thanks for being such a willing vessel. I love you.

  3. I love that quote at the beginning. I think I will be using that one in future.

    Nice post as always. Keep it coming.


  4. Anne - THe thing about using our gifts to build up others is that it ends up building up ourselves in the process. That is the beauty of it all. When we focus too much on self, pride, etc., we end up getting tangled up in a mess of self-centeredness that only causes misery.

    You keep giving your gifts, and so wil I!

  5. I've most certainly felt built up by you and this blog.

    Anne, do you think spiritual gifts can change? Added?
    ~ Wendy

  6. T. Anne, the fact that you look for this each night is one of the things that keeps me writing each day.

    Denise, I'm a part of Christ's body. By encouraging others I build up myself, as Bradley notes in his comment.

    Shark Bait, I hestiated to use that quote, wondering if it was too cliche. Glad you liked it.

    Bradley, you make an excellent point. How funny that we build up literally, "edify") ourseleves more effectively by doing it for others. Your post today at Shrinking the Camel made that point in the reverse I think.

  7. Wendy, your question raises excellent reminders of God's liberality. James (1:5) exhorts, "If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him." Paul encourages us to "earnestly desire the best gifts" (1 Corinthians 12:31), then goes on to say, "Pursue love, and desire spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy"
    (1 Corinthians 14:1).

    So I certainly believe we can increase our spiritual gifts. I've actually heard people say, "My gift is prophecy. I'm not much good at mercy." (Or other silly remarks about various gifts.) Just because a wife is more naturally gifted at writing doesn't mean she's exempted from cooking, even if she's culinarily-challenged—no?

    We may excell at a particular gift. We will always do some things better than others. But I believe we can exercise any of them, as we are called and as God enables.

    And incidentally, I've heard prophecy defined as speaking to men about God and speaking to God about men. That's a little bit of an over-simplification, but I do believe with the Holy Spirit's empowerment, You May Prophesy.

  8. Wendy, the link didn't post correctly on the first comment. I'm sending it again: "You May Prophesy."

  9. I love your wisdom. I love coming here to learn. I remember thinking and being taught after reading the "You May Prophesy" post you wrote.

    God's liberality...your words are excellent. I'm off to ask God to increase my gifts.

    Thanks once again for shedding light.
    ~ Wendy

  10. Thanks for a great post, Anne. What do you think? Is love a spiritual gift?

    We know the Bible teaches that our gifts are worthless if they are not accompanied with love. We also know from the Bible that the essence of our Father is love.

    But, can love, as a spiritual gift, stand alone . . . perhaps in the form of worship?

  11. Russell, I think of love as spiritual fruit which enables exercise of spiritual gifts.

    Paul's great love chapter (1 Corinthians 13) is nestled directly between verses 12:31 and 14:1 as they address spiritual gifts. As you just said, spiritual gifts are nothing if not exercised in love, the more excellent way.


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