Use Your Spiritual Gifts: FAQ

Occasionally questions are asked about the use, or lack of use, of our spiritual gifts. Here are some of the more frequently asked questions. Scroll down or click on a question for which you would like an answer. You will find more questions at bottom of this page.

If all believers have at least one spiritual gift, why don't they evidence it? 

The reasons could be many including ignorance about spiritual gifts and God's design for the Body (1 Cor. 12:1), disobedience (1 Pet. 4:10-11), neglect (1 Tim. 4:14), not in fellowship with the Lord (Jn. 15:4-5), failure to develop their gift (2 Tim. 1:6), or lack of love which exhibits itself in self-centeredness (Jn. 21:15-17; also compare Jn. 14:15 with Gal. 5:13).

Does the exercise of certain gifts make a person more spiritual? 

Scripture does not teach that gifts are a sign of spirituality or maturity. Immature, even carnal, Christians may use gifts. The Corinthian church is a prime example. In 1 Corinthians 1:7 we read where the Corinthians were not lacking in any gift yet in 3:1-3 they are described as carnal.
God's long-range goal is that we become conformed to the image of His Son (Rom. 8:29). Traits of godliness do not include the use of spiritual gifts but character qualities (2 Pet. 1:5-11). In discussing qualifications for leadership in the church, no reference is made to spiritual gifts but much about character traits (1 Tim. 3; Titus 1). The fruit of the Spirit, of the same Spirit who gifted us, are character traits all reflecting Jesus Christ (Gal. 5:22-23).
Love is at the top of the list in measuring maturity and spirituality, not gifts. According to 1 Corinthians 13, any or all gifts mean nothing without love. Note that the expression of love is in the context of each list of gifts.

If a person doesn't have a certain gift, is he/she exempt from ministry that uses that gift? 

Evangelism is a good example. Some may feel that because they do not have the gift of evangelism that they do not have to evangelize. Timothy, in the New Testament, obviously did not have the gift of evangelism but yet Paul told him to do the work of an evangelist (2 Tim. 4:5). We are all commanded to be a witness (Acts 1:8; Matt. 28:19-20).
Make a list of all the gifts found in the key passages on spiritual gifts (Romans 12; 1 Corinthians 12; Ephesians 4; 1 Peter 4) and you can find counterpart commands for all believers to participate in activity pertaining to those different gifts with the exception of tongues and interpretation of tongues.
People with the corresponding gift will usually be more effective, devote more time and energy, and see greater results in a given area than those without the gift. Yet, to an extent, as God gives opportunity, we are all to evangelize, teach, serve, show mercy, etc.
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