Spiritual Gifts

Taking spiritual gift tests are a rite of passage for Believers. We pour over the spiritual gift passages and pick out the ones that sound cool or the ones we piously think we currently do. Gift test cheating is common, answering “very strongly agree” on the ones that lead you to have the gift of “ruling.” It becomes a study in self-analysis and ditches the Spirit entirely.

The first misconception of spiritual gifts is that they are natural, stuff I already do. Stuff you already do is more than likely a result of personality or upbringing and has little to do with the Holy Spirit. Spiritual gifts are spiritual in that they have no relation to your flesh, what you normally do.

The second misconception about spiritual gifts is that they have to do with you. 1 Corinthians 13 starts off with a list of spiritual gifts and then undermines all of them by including that love bit. You can exercise your gift all day long but it’s not spiritual and thus has no spiritual benefit. It may have other benefits, but not spiritual. I am sounding brass, I am nothing, it profits me nothing.

The misconception that comes in now is that if I have to love in order to be spiritual I won’t do anything until I “love” people, whatever that means. If it doesn’t feel automatic or if I’m not driven to tears every time I think about the poor souls who need me so desperately, I won’t do it because “I don’t love yet.”

Again, the point of spiritual gifts is not you: it’s the Spirit, they are His gifts. A spiritual gift requires love. Which is why Paul ends 1 Corinthians 13 with: “the greatest of these is love” This is the “more excellent way” of 1 Corinthians 12:31: It’s better to seek love than a gift.

It’s not about you. It’s about 1) the Spirit and His gifts and 2) the others you are loving.

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