Over the coming weeks I am going to present to you (my readers) a study on the Gifts of the Spirit. We will begin the motivational gifts in Romans Chapter Twelve, followed by the Spirit Gifts in First Corinthians 12-14 and then complete the study with the Ministry Gifts listed by Paul in Ephesians Four.
Dr. Larry Gilbert teaches that the motivational gifts described in the twelfth chapter of Romans impact our relationship with the Lord, with other people, the local church, and the body of Christ as a whole. Because of this, it is important for us to identify, understand and develop the God- given motivational gifts that have been placed within our lives. Let’s examine the motivational gifts, how the Scripture defines them and what we can do to develop more understanding concerning these spiritual gifts.
Motivational Gifts usually surface as we begin to grow and mature in the Lord. Just as it takes time for a child to discover their natural talents, it takes time to identify and develop the motivational gifts that God has given to each of us. It is also important to note that there is a distinct difference between having natural talent and possessing a motivational gift. Let me give you a description of the two:
· Their Source: From God through Parents
· Come to Be in Our Possession: In Our DNA Transmitted in Conception
· Their God Given Purpose: To Benefit Others and Ourselves
· Their Development Process: Generally Externally Recognized First then Studied, Practiced, Exercised and Perfected.
· Their Function in a Christ-follower’s Life: Dedicated to God for His Glory
Motivational Gifts (listed in Romans 12):
· Their Source: From the Holy Spirit Independent of our Parents
· Come to Be in Our Possession: By the Will of God and According to the Grace Given Us
· Their God Given Purpose: To Bring Glory to God and to Add Value to the Body of Christ
· Their Development Process: Internally Recognized, Developed and Exercised Externally
· Their Function in a Christ-follower’s Life: To Be a Blessing to the Lord and Others
Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. 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. If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; 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 12:4-8
The motivational gifts that are mentioned here are from the Greek word charisma. The “gifts of charisma” is best translated as “grace or gifts of grace.” These gifts possess, denote and demonstrate extraordinary powers when correctly developed and manifested. These graces distinguish certain Christians from others and enable them to serve the body of Christ in a better or dynamic way; the reception of which is due to the power of divine grace.1
These motivational gifts serve to reveal the desire that our Heavenly Father has to see people blessed and for all people to become a blessing to others. These gifts are generally practical in nature and for the purpose of encouraging, comforting, and serving the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ.
The gifts listed in Romans 12 describe the “by grace” motivations placed in the Christian believer by the grace of God. These gifts grow and develop as we continue “to present our bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is a beliver’s reasonable service. They are best exercised when we are not conformed to this world: but when we are being transformed by the renewing of our mind” (Romans 12:1-2). These gifts are a practical expression of the grace of God under which the church stands, making the whole life of the church, not just the ministry of the church, “by grace.”
Most of us have a “gift-mix.” What does that mean? It means that each of us have been given a primary gift, generally speaking. This gift has a tendency to flow in our lives so naturally that we feel energized as the gift operates. The secondary gifts are generally more demanding or draining when they are in use. The people who excel in a certain gifting can rarely tell others how they use the gift or “how it works.” The things we desire to accomplish for the Lord as well as the things that reveal our deepest passion gives us a clue to our gift-mix. Let’s examine these marvelous grace gifts by beginning with the Gift of Prophecy.
The Gift of Prophecy or Preaching
A person with the motivational gift of prophecy has the ability to utter forth the mind and the will of God. These utterances are seldom direct messages from the voice of the Holy Spirit. These gifts tend to encourage application of the Word of God. Such prophecy is inspired. It gives information, instruction and illumination. When exercised and released by faith the motivational gift of prophecy empowers faith in people so they can accomplish the plans and the purposes of God.
When the gift of prophecy is in action, the person manifesting the gift will retain reason and consciousness, making the person responsible for rendering the revelation, illumination or instruction to others. In a general sense; most Christian leaders identify this gift as preaching.
Therefore, the believers who manifest prophecy generally have a strong sense of right and wrong. They feel compelled to “speak up.” This is especially true when he or she is speaking out against compromise and evil.
The Apostle Peter appears to have manifested this gift of prophecy. We see it manifesting several times in the book of Acts. The gift empowered Peter to play a significant role in the early church as its spokesman. Peter is the one who stepped up to address the crowd on the Day of Pentecost in Acts 2. In that address Peter instructed and encouraged men and women to believe in Christ, repent, and live according to the truth of God’s Word. Then Peter said unto them, “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call. And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation” (Acts 2:38-40).
Like Peter, believers who have the motivational gift of prophecy must accept the responsibility of the message they preach and declare. It is unacceptable to “place blame” on God or anyone else when or if the audience to which the gift is being exercised refuse to receive it.
The motivational Gift of Prophecy is quite different than the Spiritual Gift listed in First Corinthians or that of the Prophet, which is listed in Ephesians 4. The motivational gift is a gift that enables the arrangement of information as well as the transmission of it. The information of which I speak can be taken from: the Scriptures, commentaries, Bible dictionaries, etc. It also may come directly as inspiration from the Holy Spirit. People who have this gift generally love to study and share what they learn. The messages that they present tend to overlap the message of the Encourager (Gift of Exhortation) and the Teacher (Gift of Teaching).
Most people would call the execution of this gift a “sermon or message.” People who function in this gift do not see themselves speaking “for God.” They see themselves speaking “from God” or “from God’s Word.” Their message can provide information, instruction, inspiration and correction.
Next week we will be discussing the Gift of Service.
God bless you.