Good morning and welcome back! As I mentioned yesterday, we’ll begin with some questions that I’ve been asked frequently by students who desire to know more about spiritual gifts.
Do I get to choose my own gift?
The short answer is: NO. We receive spiritual gifts as the Lord pleases, not as we please. With that said, let’s take a moment to really get to the very heart of the matter: The real gift is the Holy Spirit Himself. Consider:
“Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”
The Holy Spirit is the gift. When a person who has received the gift of the Holy Spirit is placed into the body of Christ, God at His sole discretion will manifest that gift in a way that is useful to building up the Kingdom. Paul lays it out for us right after he discussed individual gifts:
All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he gives them to each one, just as he determines.
Can I lose my gift? How long can I keep my gift?
Since we just listed the Holy Spirit as the real gift, the answer is no. However, Scripture seems clear that if we are not faithful in using the manifestation of the gift, what we commonly call the “spiritual gift”, then it will be taken away. In short, spiritual gifts are given on the basis of use it or lose it, as you will better see as we continue this study.
Will my gift change?
The gift is the Holy Spirit, and that will not change. The way the Holy Spirit uses you may change as circumstances and situations change, and it isn’t all that unusual for a person to begin to manifest a gift that wasn’t evident beforehand. This is fairly common in ministers who face new challenges in their churches, for instance. It is important to bear in mind that God is sovereign and can do as He sees fit, thus He may desire such a shift in someone who is serving Him. Of course another possibility is that as a person becomes more mature as a Christian they find a gift they hadn’t noticed when they were less mature.
Do all Christians receive spiritual gifts?
The answer is a resounding YES!
Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms.
Note that Peter uses the word “each” so that includes everyone. It’s very important that we recognize that the spiritual gift that all Christians receive is that of the Holy Spirit Himself. What we commonly refer to as “spiritual gifts” are actually the ways in which the Holy Spirit is made manifest within each of us. The most important question is this: Are we using our gift in ministry?
When we get back together, we’ll continue with this question: Why did God give us spiritual gifts? See you then!