How do spiritual gifts differ from
talents, natural abilities, and spiritual fruit?
Spiritual Gifts and Talents or Natural Abilities
The bottom line is that all we have is from God so in that sense talents or natural abilities, whatever they might be, are all gifts from God. Whether spiritual or natural gifts, we should use them for the glory of God (1 Cor. 10:31) as faithful stewards (1 Cor 4:2) of that which He has given us.
Scripture, however, appears to set apart spiritual gifts as something different from talents or natural abilities.
- Talents are natural abilities that seem to be hereditary, to run in the genes, or to have been learned through conditioning from the environment in which we lived or through training we have received. Spiritual gifts, on the other hand, are an empowerment of supernatural origin, not a result of genetics, training, or conditioning.
- Unbelievers, as well as believers, have talents or natural abilities. Only believers, however, have spiritual gifts.
Talents or natural abilities can be a vehicle through which we use our gifts which is possibly why some people will equate the two.
Spiritual Gifts and Spiritual Fruit
Both the gifts and spiritual fruit are works of the Holy Spirit but they are two distinct workings of the Spirit.
- Spiritual Gifts: 1 Corinthians 12:7-11
Spiritual gifts are a special divine empowerment to serve like teaching, leading, encouraging, giving, showing mercy, etc.
- Spiritual Fruit: Galatians 5:16-26
Spiritual fruit is the result of what we do in His power like the development of character traits, new converts, or praise given to God.
Spiritual gifts therefore have more to do with the process of ministry whereas spiritual fruit is the product of ministry.
Depend on the Lord as you use both your spiritual gifts and natural abilities or talents to the glory of God and you will bear spiritual fruit.