Spiritual Gifts Part 1

In 1 Corinthians 12:11 its states, “All these are empowered by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually as he wills.”

This verse suggests that God gives spiritual gifts to believers as he wills. So how do you know which spiritual gift you have, and how do you even know what the different spiritual gifts are? And why do we have them anyway?

Knowing Your Spiritual Gifts

There are plenty of spiritual gift tests out there, like this one, but below is how I believe you can figure out what your gift is without having to take a big test.

  1. Analyze your own areas of competence within these categories; ask yourself, “What do I think I do best?”
  2. Find out what others think you do best.  Listen to what others say about you and ask others what they think your strengths are.
  3. What do you like to do best?  God does not want you to be miserable (Philippians 2:13).  People often think that serving God means something boring and horrible, when in reality, God wants you to be happy.  If He wants you to do something, He will make you want to do it.  Do not always assume the will of God is distasteful.
  4. Be willing to try and see.  Sometimes, you can discover your spiritual gifts by trial and error.  Volunteer for jobs around the church. 
  5. When you do determine what your gift or gifts may be, develop them for the good of the Kingdom, and use them to the maximum capacity for the body of Christ.  Do not try to develop gifts you do not have, you will just make yourself miserable.

Why do we have spiritual gifts?

Spiritual gifts are supernatural endowments of specific abilities given to believers by the Holy Spirit which enable them to effectively serve the Body of Christ. Paul explains that our gifts work together for the good of the Church just as each part of the body works for the good of the individual (1 Corinthians 12; Romans 12:3-8).  Paul uses this analogy because the body of Christ is like the human body. Just as some parts of the body rely on other parts to function, Christians are to work together, relying on one another so that they may all function in unity. 

Christians are not to be in competition with one another over spiritual gifts.  The church cannot function properly if the members do not work together.

What Are the Different Gifts

The Bible lists the following gifts:

  • Teacher
  • Pastor-Teacher
  • Ministry/Mercy
  • Administration
  • Evangelism
  • Encouragement
  • Giving 
  • Faith
  • Apostleship
  • Prophesy
  • Knowledge
  • Wisdom
  • Discerning Spirits
  • Speaking in Tongues
  • Interpreting Tongues
  • Miracles/Healing

Some have argued that all gifts are listed in the Bible while others have said that the Bible only lists some of the gifts.

In our next post we will discuss the use of each of the gifts listed above and whether or not the Bible is exhaustive or if there are gifts not listed in the Bible.

So what gifts or gifts do you think you have at this point?

The Importance of History

Why is it important to know history?

Both of my grandfather’s fought in WWII. I would be willing to guess that many of you reading this also had relatives who fought in a war at some point in history. So why is it important for us to remember what they fought for and why?

I would argue that it is for the same reason that it is important that we learn about history in all fields.

When we stop remembering our history, we tend to repeat past mistakes.

Though I would also argue that knowing history is not just important for the sake of not making the same mistakes again.

History is interesting. It is important to know history because it is through history that we peer into the world of the past. We learn new things and begin to connect the dots that take us from where we were, to where we are.

But history does more than this. History helps us know who we are. Put differently, when we forget our history, we lose our identity. We have no connection to what has made us who we are now. We have no measure by which to move into the future.

How is history important to Christianity?

Much of the material in the Bible was written to provide us with historical information. It is about people who lived in history…namely Jesus. History helps us know whether or not we are being true to the message and calling of Christ.

History helps the church see where God’s people have been. It also helps us to see what the church has done wrong. History reminds us of our need for redemption. It reminds us that we are always drawing closer to God or pulling away from him.

History is what shows us that we have been saved. I once was lost…but now…

History helps us to serve God better and to love God more deeply.

History is an important tool, a form of art, it is an educational treasure trove. History is what binds people together. It is what allows cultures to progress. The lack of history leads to moral decay among nations. History keeps us moving forward. History is a significant part of the over-arching DNA of humanity. History reminds us of who we were and helps us aim for who we want to be.

Nihilism and Objective Truth

From Under the Red Hood

I really like the Joker. He is one of my favorite villains, the reason is simple: he is evil for the sake of being evil. He is wicked because he chooses to be wicked. Many villains are a product of their circumstances. They are the way they are because at some point they were victims. But not the Joker…he is just one bad bad man.

Something else interesting about the Joker that makes him such an intriguing character is that he is a nihilist. Nihilism is belief in nothing. Nihilists have no loyalties to anyone or anything and often have an inclination to destroy things. Social and political institutions are typically what nihilist think need to be destroyed the most.

Nihilist believe that there is no meaning in life and that there is more pain than good.

Nihilism is the belief that traditional morals,beliefs, and ideas have no value.

So why is it important to understand nihilism? Because nihilism is a way of seeing the world. It is a way of seeing the world void of objective moral truth. A world without objective moral truth is a world without virtue. It is a world without honor. It is a world without conviction.

I am not suggesting that many people are becoming nihilist and that we are headed towards mass chaos. But it is interesting to note that the philosophical idea of nihilism has trickled to the public in the form of relativism. It is interesting to see how our culture is continually moving towards truth with no foundation. As we move away from objective truth, culture becomes corrupt.

C.S. Lewis recognized (back in the 1940s) that even when we deny objective truth, we still desire to have the good effects that objective truth brings to culture. He describes it like having an organ removed in surgery and still expecting the body to function as if the organ was left intact.

What kinds of truths are objective? What kinds are not? What truths have you embraced that are not universal? How does your acceptance of these truths negatively effect universal principles?

Has our culture, like the Joker lost sight of meaning? Lost sight of virtue? Has it begun to embrace destruction?

Religious Freedom and Liberty

Is religious liberty really under attack?

Some might argue that it is based on mandates to remove religious symbols from public offices, mandates for employers regarding contraceptives and healthcare, or even just as a result of perceived threats against religious beliefs or practices.

While it may be under attack from some in our country, I am not too worried that all our rights are being taken away. The main reason for this is that a majority of people are still religious.

So what is religious liberty? In short it is freedom to believe and practice a specific faith.

I believe that religious freedom is important, not just for Christians, but for followers of all major religions. Humans should have the freedom to choose whom they will worship. They should also have the freedom to choose how they will worship.

As such, people should be able to live in peace with followers of other faiths.

I believe it is important to be able to have civil discussions with others about their beliefs and that it is appropriate to share our own beliefs with others.

However, it is not appropriate to force our beliefs on others. It is not appropriate to discriminate against another person because he or she has a different belief.

This should be unpacked. I Baptist Missions organization should not be required to hire a Hindu to work in their mission because he or she holds different beliefs. In other words, religious groups can require adherence to certain beliefs and practices among its employees. However, that does not mean that Hindus should not also be allowed to create mission organizations.

In some cases, it may even be appropriate for groups of different faiths to work together. In the event that there is a hurricane and Muslims, Jews, and Christians desire to provide relief workers, they should be able to help the devastated community together without compromising their own beliefs.

Religious freedom is important because rules apply across the board. If Mormons cannot send missionaries door to door, neither can Christians. We should stand up for one another in the pursuit of religious freedom.

The limits of this freedom are centered around other constitutional rights. No group has the right to do things that stifle another person’s freedom.

What are your thoughts or questions about the issue of religious freedom?