The Importance of
Knowing Your Spiritual Gift
For various reasons, many have played down the importance of knowing your spiritual gift. Let’s begin our study of spiritual gifts by suggesting several reasons why it is imperative for every Christian to know his gift.
1. The prominence of spiritual gifts in Scripture. One of the ways we can measure the importance of a principle or a doctrine is to determine the amount of space devoted to it in the Bible. Subjects or doctrines which are merely implied are surely of less significance than those clearly stated. Matters mentioned infrequently should not be regarded as crucial as those frequently dealt with. Using this standard of measurement, the subject of spiritual gifts is a vital one, for we find gifts addressed specifically in four major portions of Scripture: 1 Corinthians chapters 12-14; Romans chapter 12; Ephesians chapter 4; and 1 Peter chapter 4. In addition to these central passages, spiritual gifts are mentioned elsewhere in the Bible. Spiritual gifts must be important to the Spirit of God Who inspired the writing of the Word of God and thus they should be important to us.
2. The elementary nature of spiritual gifts. When the book of First Corinthians was written, it was addressed to those who were obviously not very mature in the faith. There were many forms of carnality cited by Paul in this epistle. The things of which Paul wrote in this book were not matters of the ‘deeper life,’ but rather the elemental truths of the Christian life. Due to the emphasis on spiritual gifts in 1 Corinthians, we conclude that the doctrine of spiritual gifts is important and that it is foundational and fundamental to the Christian life.
3. Spiritual gifts are a matter of individual stewardship. When Peter spoke of spiritual gifts in his first epistle, he considered them a matter of personal stewardship:
As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God (1 Peter 4:10).
Peter meant that just as we must give account of our use of the material things God has placed under our control, and just as we must give account of the use of our time, so we must also be accountable for the use of our spiritual gifts.
Now it is very hard to be a good steward of something we know nothing about, and of something which we do not even know we possess. If you were given the responsibility of managing the assets of someone else, the first thing you would do is to take inventory of what resources were at your disposal. You would demand to know what assets you were to use wisely. So, also, the Christian cannot be a good steward in the matter of spiritual gifts without knowing what his gifts are:
Spiritual gifts are of great practical value and benefit to the believer.
Spiritual gifts are of such great practical value to the Christian he simply cannot afford to be ignorant in this matter. Let me suggest some areas of practical benefit
Knowing your spiritual gift(s)will enable you to find your place of ministry in the local church. Since every Christian has a particular function in the body of Christ, and since your spiritual gifts equip you to carry out this function, knowing your gifts help you to plug in to the ministry of a local church.
Knowing your spiritual gift(s) will enable you to determine your priorities. One of the most common problems we all face is having more things to do than we have time to do them. Paul indicates in Romans chapter twelve, verses six through eight, that we should make the use of our spiritual gifts a priority in our lives. In simple terms, when we have too many things to do we must choose to function in the area of our spiritual gifts. You must know your spiritual gifts to set these priorities.
Knowing your spiritual gift(s) will be of great help in discerning God’s will. To extend our last point just a little bit further, knowing your spiritual gift(s) can be of great help in discerning the will of God. The choice of your occupation, whether ‘secular’ or ‘religious,’ should take into account whether or not it will help or hinder the exercise and development of your spiritual gift. If you are not gifted to teach, you have a valuable insight into God’s will when you are offered a teaching position. There is a very distinct relationship between knowing the will of God (Romans 12:1-2) and understanding your spiritual gift (Romans 12:3-8).