This past week we explored the importance of finding and using our spiritual gifts in life. We said that true joy is finding the unique contribution each of us can give to make the world a better place. Which brings us to the topic of spiritual gifts (Rom 12, 1 Cor 12, Eph 4; 1 Peter 4).
It is important that we never confuse spiritual gifts with spiritual fruit. Spiritual gifts are abilities while spiritual fruit are character qualities: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, humility, integrity, self-control. Every Christian should have all the fruit, but no Christian has all the spiritual gifts. Therefore spiritual fruit has to be the real goal, and spiritual gifts have to be seen only as the means to the end of Christian maturity.
Spiritual gifts are differing abilities given by the Holy Spirit to each believer to meet needs in such a way that it creates a community of people who are growing into the fullness of the character of Jesus Christ.
The whole purpose of spiritual gifts is to create Christ-likeness in one another. When spiritual gifts are exercised rightly, the result in both the giver and the recipient of the ministry is growing Christ-likeness, growing into the likeness of Jesus.
When every part of the body is doing its thing rightly, the body builds itself up in love. Therefore to understand your gifts and to exercise your gifts is to find meaning and joy in life.
In order to help you better understand your spiritual gifts and who God made you to be, it may be helpful to utilize the S.H.A.P.E. acrostic made popular by Pastor Rick Warren, of Saddleback Church in Southern California.
S – Spiritual Gifts - What has God supernaturally gifted me to do?
H – Heart - What do I have passion for and love to do?
A – Abilities - What natural talents and skills do I have?
P – Personality - Where does my personality best suit me to serve?
E – Experiences - What spiritual experiences have I had? What painful experiences have I had? What educational experiences have I had? What ministry experiences have I had?