ODJ: tests and gifts

April 8, 2015 

READ: 1 Corinthians 12:1-31 

A spiritual gift is given to each of us so we can help each other (v.7).

Those quirky internet tests can be fun to take. Answer a few questions, and you learn which superhero or character from a popular film you best resemble, or which country best fits your personality. People take these tests and then post on social media: “I got Batman!” “I’m Napoleon!” “I should live in Shangri-La!”

Sometimes we treat spiritual gifts in the same way. We fill out a spiritual inventory sheet and discover: “I’m a teacher!” “I have the gift of administration!” As we discover our spiritual gifts, however, it’s important that the focus doesn’t become only a picture of ourselves.

That was a challenge in Corinth. Look at their list of spiritual gifts: wisdom, special knowledge, great faith, healing, miracles, prophecy, discerning spirits, speaking in tongues and interpreting tongues (1 Corinthians 12:8-10). They’re sensational gifts that called attention to the person who had them.

Paul warned the Corinthians that these spectacular gifts proved nothing, as demons inspired pagan worshippers to do similar things. Such impressive demonstrations had led the Corinthians to serve “speechless idols”, but now that they followed Jesus they should know better (vv.1-3). They should realise that God had gifted them not to feel good about themselves, but to serve others (v.7).

The same Spirit who joined you to Jesus has gifted you to serve His body. God “has put each part just where he wants it” (v.18). You and your gifts are needed, right where you are. How can you discover your gifts? Try things. Ask others what they think you do well. But don’t obsess about it. You’ve been gifted to help others (v.7), so submit to the Holy Spirit’s leading and serve. No prior testing required!

—Mike Wittmer

365-day-plan: 2 Samuel 13:20-39

Read the lists of spiritual gifts in Romans 12:6-8,1 Peter 4:11 and 1 Corinthians 12:8-10,28. How can these gifts be used to serve others? 
A spiritual gift is any ability given by God that empowers you to serve the church. Which gifts are you using? Which gifts might you use more to glorify God and serve others?