Q: How do I discover my spiritual gifts?
A: I have five tips for discovering your spiritual gift.
1. Understand what the Bible says about spiritual gifts.
Study the biblical passages that speak of spiritual gifts. Specifically, I would encourage being thoroughly familiar with 1 Corinthians 12, 13 and 14. Those chapters not only reveal spiritual gifts but also address motives as well as the orderly use of spiritual gifts. Also study Romans chapter 12.
2. Ask the Lord to reveal your spiritual gift and trust that He will do it
Spiritual gifts are given by God (see 1 Corinthians 12:4–7) therefore spend time praying that God would reveal your spiritual gift. But be very careful about putting an expiration date on your prayer. Most of us start praying with predetermined expectations about when God should give us an answer. Don’t give God a deadline. Wait patiently and don’t allow yourself to give in to frustration while waiting. Waiting is never easy but God’s timing is best.
3. Be open to the empowering work of the Holy Spirit
Spiritual gifts are empowered by the Spirit of God. Never forget that. Pray that God would empower you with His Holy Spirit and be open to whatever manifestations of the Spirit He wishes to grant you. Read through the book of Acts and note the times that God’s servants were filled with the Holy Spirit and enabled to do what would have otherwise been impossible.
4. Get busy serving in your local church
In my own case, my spiritual gift was discovered as I just got busy serving. My local church needed some helpers in the youth ministry and Sue and I got busy helping in whatever way we could. Eventually, the ministry leader left and we were given the leadership reins for the youth and I was thrust into sharing the Word. Not only did I discover that I loved it, but I eventually came to realize that God had bestowed on me a spiritual gift that He wanted me to keep using to encourage His people.
You may have some areas of ministry in your local church that are hit and miss, but that’s okay. Learning where you are not gifted can be just as important. Stick with it and keep opening your heart to new possibilities and opportunities.
5. Be faithful as you wait
The Lord may have you in an area of ministry that isn’t your favorite but He may just want to see if you’re willing to be faithful. Remember the life of Joseph in the book of Genesis. (Review Genesis 39 and 40) Faithfulness is everything, so stick with it and continue to trust God to reveal your spiritual gift. Do what you’re given to do and follow this exhortation: Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ. Colossians 3:23–24 (ESV)