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God Given Gifts

Staff Member
Taken from: Gotquestions.org

I am sharing this article from the above site after a lengthy thread regarding Joel Osteen's ministry in the arts & entertainment forum. This is a great article for all to read. Enjoy.

How does God distribute spiritual gifts? Will God give me the gift I ask for?

Answer: Romans 12:3-8 and 1 Corinthians 12 make it clear that each Christian is given spiritual gifts according to the Lord’s choice or direction and for the purpose of the edification of the body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:7; 14:12). But the exact timing of when these gifts are given is not mentioned specifically. I had always assumed that they were like “spiritual genetics” in that you got the one (or ones) that you got at the time of your spiritual birth (moment of salvation) and then had to develop what was there. However, there are some verses that may indicate that God may gift us later as well. Both 1 Timothy 4:14 and 2 Timothy 1:6 refer to a “gift” that Timothy had received at the time of his ordination “by prophecy,” that is, “through” (dia) prophecy. Most commentators take this to mean that one of the elders at Timothy’s ordination spoke under God’s influence of a spiritual gift that Timothy would have as an enablement for his future ministry. But these two verses would indicate that Timothy had a responsibility to not neglect but rather to stir up or develop and use this gift.

We are also told in 1 Corinthians 12:28-31 and in 1 Corinthians 14:12-13 that it is God (not we) who chooses the gifts and not everyone will have a particular gift. Paul tells the Corinthian believers that if they are going to covet or long after spiritual gifts, they should set aside their fascination with the “spectacular” or “showy” gifts and instead strive after the more edifying gifts such as prophesying (speaking forth the word of God for the building up of others). Now, why would Paul tell them to strongly desire the “best” gifts if they already had been given all that they had been given and there was no further chance of them gaining these “best” gifts? It may lead one to believe that even as Solomon sought wisdom from God in order to be a good ruler over God’s people, so God will grant to us those gifts that we need in order to be of greater benefit to His church.

Having said this, it still remains that these gifts are distributed according to God’s choosing, not our own. Or, it may be that Paul was simply wanting the Corinthians to “stop being fascinated with those gifts that they thought were ‘neat’ and ‘cool’ and start being fascinated with those gifts that are truly useful to the church! If every Corinthian strongly desired a particular gift, such as prophesying, I cannot God giving everyone that gift simply because they strongly desired it, because then where would be those who are needed to serve all of the other functions of the body of Christ?

There are a few things that are clear however, and I believe Hudson Taylor put it this way: “God’s command is God’s enablement.” That is, if God commanded us to do something (such as witness, love the unlovely, disciple the nations, etc.) then He will enable us to do it. I may not be as “gifted” at evangelism as another, but God commands all Christians to witness and disciple (Matthew 28:18-20; Acts 1:8), therefore I need to prepare for witnessing (1 Peter 3:15) and actually do it, whether I feel I have the gift of evangelism or not. Secondly, I have seen people who have less of a natural gift with music become better musicians than those who were naturally gifted...simply because of determination, so I believe that a determined Christian who strives after learning the Word and develops his teaching ability by accepting positions of teaching responsibilities will become a better teacher than one who may have the spiritual gift of teaching but who neglects the gift.

Thus, in summary, let me give you some brief answers to your questions: Are your spiritual gifts given to you when you receive Christ, or are they cultivated through your walk with God? I believe they are given to you at salvation but that they need to be cultivated through your walk with God. Can a desire in your heart be pursued and developed into your 'spiritual' gift? Can you seek after certain spiritual gifts? 1 Corinthians 12:31 says to “earnestly desire the best gifts” (NKJV). You can seek from God a spiritual gift and be zealous after it by seeking to develop that area. But while God may give you that as a spiritual gift, He may also feel that you are better fit to serve Christ with a different gift.

But no matter how much we have been gifted with one or another gift, we are all called upon to develop a number of areas mentioned in the lists of spiritual gifts...to be hospitable, to show acts of mercy, to serve one another, to evangelize, etc., and as we seek to serve Him, for the purpose of building up others for His glory out of love, He will bring glory to His name, grow His church, and reward us (1 Corinthians 3:5-8; 12:31-14:1). He does promise us that as we make Him our delight, He will give us the desires of our heart (Psalm 37:4-5) and this would include preparing us to serve Him in a way that will bring us purpose and satisfaction.
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i have been told my gifts (tounges i knew when i heard it)but my friend doesnt know is there any way i can help