I Know Some Servants . . . with the Spiritual Gift of Exhortation

The Spiritual Gift of Exhortation Defined

to come along side of someone with words of encouragement, comfort, consolation, and counsel to help them be all God wants them to be

Servant #1:  This person enjoys counseling others to reach their potential in Christ, to make decisions that line up with His Word, and to trust Him with their past, present, and future.  This servant of God prays with people as they seek to process life in healthier ways.

Servant #2:  This person loves to teach children and has done so for many years.  She was quite surprised, though, to recently find out she did not have the gift of teaching but rather the spiritual gift of exhortation.  After explaining the difference between teaching and exhortation and how teaching can be a platform for using the gift of exhortation, she could see that indeed this was her gifting. (For an explanation of these differences go to: Speaking Types of Spiritual Gifts)

Servant #3:  This person makes up a bag of encouraging Bible verses for people going on short term mission trips to take with them and read one each day.  People return commenting how the verses were just what they needed for each day.

All of these servants have the spiritual gift of exhortation but use it in different ways.

Lesson to be learned:

Let’s be careful we do not limit how God might want to use us by too narrowly defining how a spiritual gift can be exercised.

25 Replies to “I Know Some Servants . . . with the Spiritual Gift of Exhortation”

  1. I have the gift of exhortation and find that I counsel more with it than the others. I try not to be too blunt in directing or reprimanding. Is this using this gift wisely?

    • Judy, the gift of exhortation comes from the word paraklesis which simply put is coming along side of people. There are many ways of doing that and counseling is certainly one way. To determine if counseling is the wisest use of the gift for you depends on how it fits other parts of what we can call your ministry profile.

      Personality: Do you tend to be a good listener? Counselors not only tell people what to do but they spend a lot of time listening and helping the person come to their own conclusions. Do you tend to be diplomatic and patient with people? Are you warm and accepting of people?

      Passions: Is your heart drawn toward people who are struggling with life issues? Do you have a burden for people in bondage to faulty thinking, their past, addictions, or other things that keep people from reaching their potential in Christ?

      Experience: Have you or are you willing to learn about helping people in this way? Have you or are you willing to avail yourself of counseling resources that can assist you to better help people in this way? Have your own life experiences been such that you have worked through problems and gained victory in Christ?

      Walk with God: Of course, where you are in your own fellowship with the Lord, knowledge of Him and His Word could help determine how ready you are to counsel others in their walk with Him. And, have you prayed about how God would have you use this gift?

      If these factors line up, along with your gift of exhortation, then counseling could be the wisest use of the gift for you. If not, perhaps there are other ways that you could better use the gift.

      • This was a really good clarification…I’ve been discovering this gift as of late. Thanks for the extra info.

  2. I am sitting here crying because I was writing a bio for a speaking workshop that I feel I should do. As I was writing the word exhortation came to me and I wrote the word in the description. I stopped because even though I am familiar with the word I never knew the definition. So, I looked it up. When I saw what it meant I knew that the Holy Spirit was speaking to me. The program I am formatting is called Not a Victim. I recently started to walk in the ministry that I know God has called me to and that is to empower women to wholeness and purpose. I have spoken to small groups so far and started a nonprofit org that is focused on helping women in the areas of poverty, low self esteem, suicide, rape, domestic violence etc. I have experienced many of these things and just know I need to help women. I came across this site as I was looking for that definition. I didnt know what I would find. I took the spiritual gift test and my highest rank was the gift of exhortation. Thus, my tears. I was led here to confirm some things. I now know I have the gift of Exhortation, prophecy and leadership tied in rank and these are also my gifts. For me today I was feeling like, God I can’t do this .. am I crazy. But after being led here I know different. I just wanted you to know how your ministry was used to help me see mine clearly. The Gift of Exhortation. I just pray that I am using the gift correctly; by the way I am getting certified as a Christian Life Transformation Coach so this confirmed so much for me. God Bless you.

    • How exciting! Isn’t it wonderful the way God brings confirmation to us when we are on the right track?!

    • Thanks for sharing all this. I really appreciated it. I resonate with a lot of what you said. And am also intrigued in the certificate you received. Can I get more information on that? Thanks!

  3. hello and good day.

    I’ve always been drawn to helping and encouraging people. When I see people down or if they look upset I feel for them and want to figure out a way to encourage them or say something that would put a smile on their face. It sometimes surprises me how effected I am when I see someone else down. I also have a passion to want to help those that have dreams and goals to go after them and never give up, especially those who are bound by fear or disbelief in what they desire to do.

    I came across barnabas in the bible and found out what his name meant (son of encouragement) and I was blown away with parts of what I read about him. I felt finally here is someone that I can truly relate to. Learning about Barnabas helped me understand more about the gift of exhortation. 

    I create music and write lyrics and most of lyrics are geared toward encouragement, freedom, breaking free, etc… I even hope to motivational speak about people having faith and believing. 

    With all this being said (or written) is it safe to say that I’m on the right path with what I feel, think, and what I want to do? Thanks!!!

    • Hello, Ronald. From what you wrote, it certainly does sound like you have the gift of exhortation. People with the gift of exhortation do seem to go out of their way to encourage people.

      One of the wonderful things about the way God has gifted us is that people with the same gift can use it in different ways. Music and writing lyrics is one way the gift of exhortation can be used. I have listened to a person sing with a superb natural talent for singing and have come away thinking, “Wow! That person really has a good voice.” On the other hand, I have listened to a person sing with very little natural talent for singing and have come away thinking, “Wow! What a blessing!” The difference? — The latter person had the gift of exhortation whereas the first person had a good voice. Through music, we can teach and admonish one another (Col. 3:16) so music with lyrics geared toward encouragement certainly is a way to use the gift of exhortation.

      The heart of someone with the gift of exhortation is often drawn toward helping people reach their potential in the Lord. Being a motivational speaker, who spurs people on their their faith walk, is definitely a way the gift can be used.

      • thank you for a quick and awesome response and you as well keep the good work. Cheers!!!

  4. When in annointing, this gift of encouragement is solidly effective so much that you can break bondages with the power of the Holy Spirit. This gift is particularly effective where God is using you, helping people through rehab programs and those lowly in heart. I love it when the power of the Holy Spirit works and peoples’ lives are changed for the good. Last year November the Holy Spirit used me to heal broken hearts, break bondages of drug and alcohol abuse and emotional abuse in destitute families. I pray to God for the correct timely words. It feels like your heart goes directly into the needy persons heart for the edification.

    • Thank you for sharing this wonderful way to use the spiritual gift of exhortation. To be sure, whatever one’s gift is, to be so effective, it has to be done through the power of the Holy Spirit. Spiritual gifts are divine empowerments.

  5. In the ladies bible study I’m involved with, we took a personality test to see what kind of personality we have. This sparked an interest to dig deeper and try to figure other spiritual parts of my personality. I happened to stumble upon this one, and I got highest marks in exhortation followed by mercy and service. The first use mentioned was counseling. I’ve been struggling to figure out what God wants me to do with my life. Last year around Halloween, I was involved in a play at a Christian theatre. I felt like God was leading me towards counseling, but I didn’t really do anything about it because I didn’t feel like I could do it. It wasn’t until a few months ago that God showed me that I was running away from what He wanted me to do. After I got the results from the test and read your reply to a previous comment, it was like God saying “Here’s your answer”. Thank you for posting this.

    • You are welcome, Bre. Praise God that He never gives up on us. He knows just what we need to motivate us in the right direction. It took a few days in the belly of a big fish for Jonah. Aren’t you glad it only took the reading of a blog comment for you? Seriously, as you wrote, God has been using other means along the way as well. Remember that the Holy Spirit is not only your source of power to do God’s will in the exercise of your gift(s) but He also teaches you and guides you (Jn. 14:26; Jn. 16:13) as you serve. And, He will work in the lives of those you counsel as well. How assuring it is to know that the responsibility for changing lives isn’t on us. We merely have to be faithful in doing what He asks and yield to the working of the Spirit as we do it.

  6. thanks for the guidance. i took the test n highest ranked gift was exhortation. i have realized my friends come to me about various issues in their lives n am always happy to give them a reason to carry on n smile again based on what God xpects from us, His commandments n our fear of Him. at times i find myself helping people solve the problems that av not solved in my life. i talk to n guide kids alot. i also have a super soft spot for the disabled, the sick, the poor n the afflicted. most of the times i shed a tear when i see them n feel sad when i cant help them out especially coz i have been financially unstable most of the times n now jobless. lately, i find myself seeking n applying for customer service/care jobs though non has come my way yet. i once enrolled in a nursing school but couldnt complete due to family issues n had to drop out in my 2nd year. i now yearn to learn counselling psychology though i have no idea how i would pay for the course. i have been searching 4 jobs n trying to start businesses in vain!!

    • You are welcome. From what you shared, it certainly does sound like you have the gift of exhortation and possibly mercy as well. Counseling is definitely a way the gift of exhortation can be used but the ways you described that you are already using the gift are important too. I am sure your job situation and resultant financial instability can be frustrating but I encourage you to keep seeking after God. In His timing and in His way, He can open the way before you. Sometimes what He does is unexpected, not what we think we need, but in the end is exactly what we needed because He is God and He sees the big picture.

  7. I took the test and I scored high on exhortation. I’m not surprised by the results. I’ve struggled throughout my life and I’ve always heard “the struggle is not for you, it’s for other people.” While that didn’t help me at that time, I think about that often. I started a journey 10 years ago trying to discover my true self, and I think I’m at the door right now. I started out thinking that I wanted to help people and I would go to law school in order to do that. I first became a paralegal and discovered that was not for me, but I still pushed for law school. To make a long story short, when I got to the point of taking my LSAT, I was redirected to Professional Counseling, which is what I’m doing at the moment. I’m two semesters away from graduating and opening my own counseling practice, and it’s been so hard. I’ve always been the type of person to attempt to inspire people. I’ve done that all of my life, and my heart just opens up to people that need inspiration. While on my journey while I was in school, I started a photography business to make extra money. That photography business turned into a full time business for me. Even in my photography business I’ve geared it towards helping women discover their true beauty within, which ultimately helps them to walk in the person that God created them to be. I never went to school for photography, it’s just a God given gift, and I’ve been having that business now for over 6 years. I do believe I have the gift of exhortation, and I just pray I’m using it in the way God wants me to. Thanks for your site, it has confirmed some things for me.

    • Hello, Renee. Certainly wanting to inspire people and help them see the potential of who they are in Christ reflects the heart of someone with this gift. There are many ways to do that which is why it is important to also factor in your heart passions, personality, experience, natural abilities, and walk with God. For example, He will use natural abilities, like photography, as vehicles through which a gift can be used. He will use your own life experiences (i.e., the struggles you’ve had through your life) to help others. Put all of who you are into all of who He is and He will use you to His glory.

  8. It’s a little tough/discouraging discovering that this is my greatest gift. I’ve always wanted to be highest in leadership, teaching, or something of this sort. Yet, this semester in the seminary I’m in Pastoral Counseling. It was just three weeks ago that one client (for a class assignment) said “You are really gifted in this, you just knew what you were doing.” It really hit me in a way I had never thought about before. It gave me a sense of joy. I’ve always been one to listen and comfort and come up with solutions to help others. Except I feel unfulfilled thinking that this is my highest gift. I don’t really know why I have this expectation that I need to be a visionary leader (it was my second highest), charging forward like Moses. I just feel like there is more in me…but maybe I just need humility… I could use some prayer about this.

    • More humility in any of us never hurts, Filip. Human nature makes us want to form a hierarchy when it comes to spiritual gifting. The reality is that all gifts are given on the same basis — grace. All gifts are used by the same means — grace. All gifts are to administer the same thing — God’s grace. Being a leader or a teacher does not make a person any more spiritual or important than any other role in the Body.

      Part of it could also be that you need to more fully believe and trust in the sovereignty of God. 1 Corinthians 12:11 says, “All these (referring to the different spiritual gifts) are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he gives them to each one, just as he determines.” If He determined that the best gift for you is exhortation, than that is the absolute best gift you could have. Remember the passage about Him being the Potter and us the clay (Rom. 9:20-21).

      But, it is also possible other gifts simply aren’t scoring higher because you haven’t had much experience in it yet. Spiritual gifts tests ask questions pertaining to your experience and how others perceive you in that area. Perhaps feeling like there is more in you is because there is but it just hasn’t been sufficiently developed within you to show on a spiritual gifts test.

      Or perhaps, you have some natural tendencies toward leadership and/or teaching due to your personality. God will use all of who you are when you serve.

      I obviously cannot determine from what you’ve written, especially not knowing you or observing you in ministry, which of what I’ve written might be the case for you but I can pray for you. The more you get involved in serving in different ways, the more it will become evident. Just remember that you will be most effective doing what God designed you to do rather than trying to be someone of your own choosing. He makes no mistakes. Every person is as important and as needed in the Body as the next person. We simply have different responsibilities and fulfill different types of ministries based on gifting.

  9. i feel i can’t leave this site without mentioning how i have been richly blessed. i came across your site because i am doing a personal study on spiritual gifts. for many years in my walk with God i had believe i had the gift of teaching, because i had operated in that office, but change of location brought me to another ministry where i learnt that a woman cannot teach except in the creche. i did do that for a while but sincerely with so much struggle cause i was hardly blessed myself. but i find out that i happen to always encourage and motivate brethren apart from deriving so much pleasure and blessing from this, many of such brethren would return with testimonies of how they’ve been blessed with my encouragements and many i see how their life had transformed thru my motivation. but i wasn’t motivated within myself because i thot surely if teaching wasn’t for me then i don’t know my gifting. i truly want to serve God through his spirit not out of flesh. it never occurred to me that i might have been serving God thru encouraging other believers even though on a quite informal basis. i shall now go to the site i read other readers mentioned to test my gifting. i wonder do you think as a woman i could formalize this ministry rather than doing it on a co-incidence bases as i had always done. looking forward to hearing from you. many thanks again for this great job.

    • Hello, Phumi. I am so glad you found the MinTools.com and have been blessed by it. As to your question, I am afraid I cannot give you a definitive response. First, though, let me say that if you look all through the Scripture passages pertaining to spiritual gifts, you will find that none of them are gender-based. Second, the application of all the different gifts can be varied. The same gift can be used by one person quite differently than the next person. The question is how you can best use the spiritual gifts God has given you. Sometimes that does depend on the setting in which you find yourself. Sometimes you will serve a certain way for just a season of time until another way opens up. Sometimes you will use your gifts in formal positions or roles and other times informally. God will use you wherever you are as you trust in Him, perhaps not always in ways you think. We must find our joy and contentment in the Lord and not what we do.

      The issue of what a woman can and cannot do in ministry has long been debated. Some believers draw very rigid lines whereas others are quite liberal in what women can do. The same passages in Scripture are used by both sides to draw their conclusions. The only counsel I can give you is to: 1) Thoroughly study the role of women in Scripture. You must stand before God for what you do based on God’s Word. 2) Understand that you must submit to the group you are with and not respond in ways that tend to divide because of the position you take. 3) If you do not have peace about that, pray for God to guide you if you are to take a different path but be willing to continue on if that is what He wants knowing that He is in control. As you mentioned, sometimes God is using us in ways we do not always realize so we must let God be God in how He wants to use us.

  10. Wonderful to read all these wise and self-aware posts…

    Renee…if you are still out there I would be interested in connecting with you. Perhaps we could start a dialogue? Your story parallels my own to a certain degree. Let’s share notes and inspire others!

    • Hi Krissie… After listening to a ministry program last nite I had a strong urge to learn more & especially discern “what exactly is a spiritual gift”. So immediately upon awaking I googled it, was brought to this site finding Renee’s letter & started to cry. I believe it was because I feel a “heaviness” in completing a project that I believe God wants to give me confirmation on. It’s like as if God is showing me “look this is what I gave you to do this job & this is how I am going to use you – now take it to the next level”. I knew I was not alone here in being touched in this when first reading a previous letter written by another whom had the same type of reaction in relating to their own story. I don’t know if Renee got in touch w/you but I believe we all share something here. I would be interested in opening a dialog & inspire as well:)