Why does it matter if we identify our spiritual gifts?
Being able to label your spiritual gift(s) is not of utmost importance.
Using your gifts is what matters.
Identifying your spiritual gifts, however, can help you in a number of ways.
- Once you know your spiritual gifts, you will to be able to engage in training or ministry experiences that will better develop your gifts.
In 2 Timothy 1:6, Paul tells Timothy to "fan into flame the gift of God" which was in him. Initially a spark may go unnoticed. If it makes contact with fuel and oxygen it can be stirred up into a major fire. Similarly, a spiritual gift may be that small spark inside of us that needs to be developed and nurtured to reach its full potential. If a fire is neglected it will die out. Likewise, gifts need to be used if we are to evidence them. The best way to develop gifts, to fan them into flame, is to use them.
- You will know what to look for and can avoid pitfalls someone with that spiritual gift can fall into.
The problem is not with the spiritual gift, but us. If we are not walking in the Spirit, it will be too easy for us to let ourselves fall into pride if we have certain gifts. Hence we have a discourse on spiritual gifts and body life in Romans 12 begin in verse 3 with "For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought." Then in verse 8 we find some qualifying factors of how some of the gifts should be used, implying that it is possible to use the gifts otherwise.
- When you discover what spiritual gifts you have been given, you will have a point of reference for plugging into ministry where you can be most effective.
God has given us certain gifts as an indicator of how He wants us to serve ... the part He has given us to do. If we never identify our spiritual gifts, we might have a "hit or miss" approach to ministry. Spiritual gifts are a key component of your ministry profile.
- You will be able to use your knowledge to encourage others in their gifting.
If you are able to define and identify characteristics of the various spiritual gifts, you will not only be able to discover the gifts you have been given but also help confirm other people's gifting. Having the confirmation of fellow believers encourages them to see how God is working in their lives and pursue their best fit in ministry.