In the thriller Go Ask the Dead, teenager Mandy Mannon has the ability to communicate with ghosts and spirits. She can even make love with one. However, her challenge to her ability is she can never discern a good spirit from a bad one and she has to develop that talent to make sure she can trust the right spirit. A certain ghost named William was attracted to Mandy. As the story spun along, William and his dire confederates abused her sexually. On the other hand, Mandy also has a friendly ghost. The ghost’s name is Lily and she helped Mandy reveal who really killed Aurelia, Mandy’s mother.

Based on that novel, Mandy Mannon has a spiritual gift, and one may say that having a spiritual gift can be a blessing or a curse. Having a spiritual gift doesn’t necessarily mean being able to talk to the spirits of dead people. In the Christian sense, it is being able to use your natural talents in affirming God’s teachings. Also called the Gifts of the Spirit, spiritual gifts are “special abilities provided by the Holy Spirit to Christians for the purpose of building up the body of Christ.”1

According to 1 Corinthians 12:8-10, spiritual gifts entail wisdom, knowledge, faith, healing, miracles, prophecy, discerning of spirits, speaking in tongues, and interpretation of tongues.1 Other Bible passages such as in Romans 12:3-8, Ephesians 4:11, and 1 Corinthians 7:7 indicate evangelism, service, helps encouragement, teaching, apostleship, administration, giving, leadership, mercy, and celibacy as spiritual gifts, too.3 Moreover, spiritual gifts are God-given; people cannot choose their gift.2 Although one cannot have all the gifts at once, we can develop our gifts to their desired potential. People must understand that spiritual gifts are nonidentical from natural talents. Natural talents are our physical abilities to perform unique performances. Some natural talents include artistry, music, mathematical ability, public speaking, and athletic prowess. Natural talents are oftentimes the way to fulfill spiritual gifts. For example, a Christian lector may have the spiritual gift of apostleship by expressing through his natural talent in public speaking.

So, how can you tell if you have a certain spiritual gift? Actually, there is no specific magic formula or a standardized test for a spiritual gift you possess. You only need to focus on serving God. If you see a need in your church, do whatever you can to fill that need. If you know of a vacant position in the ministry, pray to God for discernment whether you can fill that vacancy. It also takes time for you to realize that you have that gift, and so does sharpening it. A Christian should also bear in mind that if you lack a certain spiritual gift does not exempt him from using it or developing it. For example, the congregation is commanded to share their reflection through group sharing. Just because a believer doesn’t have the gift of evangelism does not mean he can no longer participate in evangelical activities. There are other ways to apply the gift of evangelism through singing like being in a choir or being a psalmist. Spiritual gifts, too, can be taken away from us if we don’t use it, just like an appendix or the tonsils.

Having spiritual gifts is something a Christian or a believer to be grateful for. If you don’t know if you have one, determine what your talent or talents you may have and use them to your ministry. Who knows as you go along with your service, your church leader or pastor may have seen another gift in you.

References:

[1] All About God: Gifts of the Spirit; www.allaboutgod.com/gifts-of-the-spirit.htm

[2] CRU: Understanding Spiritual Gifts; Mark Driscoll; https://www.cru.org/us/en/train-and-grow/spiritual-growth/understanding-spiritual-gifts.html

[3] Crosswalk: How to Identify and Effectively Use Your Spiritual Gifts; Dr. Roger Barrier, et al; https://www.crosswalk.com/faith/spiritual-life/how-to-identify-and-effectively-use-your-spiritual-gifts.html

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