and how to find which are yours

God gives the church all the gifts it needs to function well. Not everyone has the same gifts, so each should use what God has given them...

Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you. (4) Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, (5) so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. (6) We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man's gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. (7) If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; (8) if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully. - Romans 12:3-8

Therefore you do not lack any spiritual gift as you eagerly wait for our Lord Jesus Christ to be revealed. - 1 Corinthians 1:7-8

Never forget that every spiritual gift is given for the purpose of strengthening and building up the body of Christ. Gifts are not given for personal glory or prestige, nor is a gift given to one person more important than that given to another. It is God alone that gives the gifts, we don't earn them or learn them, though we should always be careful to develop and use them fully.

There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit. (5) There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. (6) There are different kinds of working, but the same God works all of them in all men. (7) Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. - 1 Corinthians 12:4-8

Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? (30) Do all have gifts of healing? Do all speak in tongues? Do all interpret? (31) But eagerly desire the greater gifts. - 1 Corinthians 12:29-31

Asking God to give you the "greater gifts" is never wrong, God gives delights in giving gifts to His children and every gift He gives is "good and perfect. (James 1:17)" Remember though, the gifts are His sovereign choice and He gives them as He wills (1 Corinthians 12:18). You cannot demand a gift of God.

If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! - Matthew 7:11

Every gift is useless without love. Every gift is to be motivated by love; love most of all for God and secondly for mankind (Matthew 22:37-40). Read carefully Paul's passage on love found in 1 Corinthians chapter 13, noting that it follows directly his speaking on gifts in chapter 12.

Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God's grace in its various forms. - 1 Peter 4:10

Determining my gifts

While the Bible is clear that every Christian is given a spiritual gift (or gifts), that leaves many in a quandary: What is my spiritual gift? The three following steps should help.

Step 1: Examine Your Desires

Do you know what you want? Is what you want in line with God's revealed will? If God gifts you a certain way, it is reasonable to assume that He will also give you the desire to exercise it. For example, I struggled for a while with the decision to preach and teach, but it was not because I didn't want to. Actually it was the opposite. It was because I did want to exercise this gift that I was struggling — otherwise there would have been little struggle! The struggle was more about yielding to God's will in spite of a sense of inadequacy and a fear of other's reactions. Simply put, God had given me the desire as well as the gifting, I only needed to learn to trust Him that He would give me the strength. You should find the same.

Be careful though! You must examine your motives as well — they can be deceiving. Your felt "call to service" may in reality be merely a desire to excel or to be noticed. That was one part of the Corinthians' problems — they wanted gifts which would make them prominently stand out and be noticed. James touches on this very problem (James 3:1) when he commands his readers that they should not all try to be teachers. Many, it seemed, wanted to teach and lead because of the honor associated with such activity. A desire for prominence is never a proper motive — a desire to serve others in the best possible way is.

Step 2: Examine the Evidence

Don't be self deluded, like the man who was sure that he had the gift of teaching but was puzzled why no one else seemed to have the gift of listening. Certainly some gifts must be developed and strengthened; but if the evidence says there is no giftedness, then find another area of service. Taking a spiritual gifts test may help you to evaluate the evidence.

Step 3: Examine the Opportunities

If you look at the opportunities God has given you, you will see open doors for using your gifting. The examples of numerous believers throughout the New Testament stress this. Simply look for what is available. Look to see what is needed. Endeavor to find how you can serve and best benefit the body (speaking of the Church). The bottom line is to look for a need which you are able to fill.


While all these guidelines appear to be in keeping with related Biblical principles, it should be observed that the apostle Paul, in all of his discussion of spiritual gifts, nowhere gives any instruction on how to recognize your gift. The apostle goes to great lengths to let you know that you have one and that you should use it for the good of the body, but he neither asks nor answers the question of how to discover your individual gifting. This is intriguing in comparison to all the worry over this question today. The Biblical contrast is staggering! Perhaps they understood that the Lord would guide you into using the gift He provided. Further, the recognition of your gift by the leaders of the church is also evident in Scriptures. God will show other godly people where you are gifted and should be used. For example, Paul recognized and advised Timothy of the gift that God had given him (2 Timothy 1:6).

Don't worry so much about asking, "What is my gift?" Focus on service. Look for the opportunities, then serve. God will show you through the doing. Be willing to listen to Godly people who are in authority over you (Hebrews 13:17). Don't be afraid to fail, or stumble. If you do, get up and keep on looking for places to serve (Proverbs 24:16). If God is behind anything, it cannot fail. Do all to the glory of God and the building of His kingdom.