Using Spiritual Gifts
by Paul Hazelden


Whenever we talk about spiritual gifts, we say they are important, and someone else starts to feel bad because they don't know what their spiritual gift is. So let us try a different approach.

To everyone

We are taught that the Holy Spirit distributes His gifts to everyone. So, whoever you are, if you are a Christian, you have received one or more spiritual gifts. But we are not told you will always know what that gift is.

Experience suggests that many people have great difficulty in recognising the gifts they have been given. This is sometimes due to false humility, but very often, it is a very honest problem.

The trouble is that we look at people doing things we can't do, and think how wonderfully they have been gifted. We look at what we can do, and know it is easy, so there is obviously no spiritual gift at work. We don't appreciate that it is only easy to us because we have been gifted in some way, and people look at us with wonder at the things we can do easily.

Don't worry too much about whether a gift is 'natural' or 'supernatural'. They all come from God, and they are all used in His Kingdom.

God gives gifts to His children because there is a job He wants to do through us. You might have the gift of healing one day, and the gift of hospitality the next. It is nothing to do with you, really - it is because you are meeting a sick person one day, and a lonely stranger the next. Please don't think "I can't do this - it's not my gift": if God wants to use you, it is your gift.

Ministries are a bit like gifts that have stuck. A person who is constantly exercising the gift of hospitality can be described as having the ministry of hospitality. It is what they do, what they are known for. And the person with a minsitry probably practices and works hard at the way they use the gift.

You may receive the gift of a piano, and from day one you can make a cheerful noise with it. But if you want to become a pianist, that will take hard work and perseverance as well as the gift. It is the same with spiritual gifts: God gives them, but we still have a part to play.

Whose gifts?

We say they are the gifts of the Holy Spirit, and then behave as though they belonged to us.

The Steps


Watch what God is doing - through His people, and - sometimes - through folk who do not know Him.


Pray about what you see and what you read in the Bible. Seek to understand not only what He does, but why. Allow God to stir you to respond - to take some part yourself in seeing His will being done on Earth.


You have seen something of God's activity; you have prayed and understand something of what He wants to do; now do something about it!

God only grants us revelation so that we can act on it.

In general, acting on revelation takes one (or more!) of three forms.

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Copyright © 2000-2006 Paul Hazelden was last updated 24 December 2006
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