Welcome back to our study on the Holy Spirit, specifically on the spiritual gifts. I have loved the conversations I’ve gotten into this past week about this. Many of you took the test I posted last week, and you’re beginning to discover the gifts that God has given you. It’s incredible!
Knowing and understanding the spiritual gifts that you have been given is so important. When we know what we have been given and what has been entrusted to us, we can then know and understand what our purpose is within the Body of Christ. This is why I am loving this portion of our study on the Holy Spirit—He gives us gifts to be used to benefit the Church. We serve an important purpose. We matter to the rest of the Body.
There is such value and purpose that we find in knowing what our gifts are. The Apostle Paul likens this conversation to different body parts in 1 Corinthians 12, referring to “one body with many parts.” If I know that I am a hand, then I can stop trying to see or smell. If I know that I am a foot, then I can stop trying to hear and taste. How much of our time and energy might be wasted on pursuits that we weren’t actually gifted for or intended for? How often do we pine after someone else’s gift, wrongfully assuming that their gift is so much better than ours, while our Holy Spirit given gift sits unused on the shelf collecting dust?
I want to spend these next few weeks digging a bit deeper into the different spiritual gifts, hopefully giving us all a bit more understanding about each one and their purpose for the Church. Last week’s post was full of short descriptions of each of the gifts, and this week I want to introduce you to a new idea: three categories of spiritual gifts. You won’t find this breakdown in the Bible, but I do think it’s helpful in understanding how your gift can be used to build up the Church. For this week, we’ll just focus on the first category: the Motivational Gifts.
The Motivational Gifts
These gifts of God’s grace shape how the believer views life, relates to others, and impacts the Body of Christ. There are seven spiritual gifts that fall under this category: prophecy, serving, teaching, exhorting, giving, organizing, and mercy. The motivational gifts display “how God works in a believer to shape his perspective on life and motivate his words and actions.” (Understanding Spiritual Gifts) These specific gifts are also used to motivate others in the same way. For example, a prophet’s gift can be used to warn believers about sin. A serving gift can be used to guard against apathy or laziness. A giving gift can motivate against selfishness. An organizational gift can keep chaos at bay by maintaining structure. A mercy gift displays the tender love of God.
These gifts are used and intended to motivate the Body of Christ toward Christ-centered and Christ-like living. When these gifts go unused and are neglected, the Church suffers. I hope we can grasp the weight of that. We actually do the Body of Christ a disservice when we don’t operate in our giftedness. These spiritual gifts that we have been given are an expression of the Holy Spirit that has been activated within us. These gifts are a powerful way for the world around us to be able to see Jesus—when we serve, give, show mercy, teach, exhort, prophecy, we share the Spirit of God with others.
I want to live to see the day when the word “Christian” carries such a positive connotation because we as Christ-followers take this responsibility seriously. We have been entrusted with gifts to steward well so that the whole world will see the goodness and kindness and love of our God—Christ Jesus on display through our lives lived for His glory, expressions of His love made known through us. Let these words be said of us.