Have you ever wondered what your spiritual gifts are? It might be the most common question that I hear as a pastor. I love getting these questions because it shows a real desire to be used by God, and, what’s more, to be used in the way He designed us to be used! Since this is such a prevalent area of questioning, I thought it would behoove us to intimately study each of the gifts that are listed in Romans 12.
A Little Groundwork
Before we start looking at each individual gift that is found in this glorious chapter, it would benefit us to lay down a little groundwork. (Author’s note: all that will be said is of the opinion of the author. Nothing that will be said in this series of devotionals is in any way to “pick a fight”; rather, it is simply to help those looking for guidance.)
It is my belief that the gifts are relevant today, for many reasons, but mainly because the Bible never told us that they were only for a specific time. I believe that each generation and each nation will experience these same gifts in different ways.
Why Romans 12
Before we unpack each one of these gifts, let me begin this series by explaining why I chose Romans 12 for our discussion on spiritual gifts. There are three main sections in the New Testament that directly deal with spiritual gifts (Romans 12; 1 Corinthians 12; Ephesians 4). I chose Romans 12 because I believe that these gifts are ones that you can permanently possess. Each gift listed above can be used regularly by someone and hopefully, we will uncover that as we dig deeper. On the other hand, in 1 Corinthians 12, I believe Paul gives us a list of the manifestations of the Spirit.
It is my thought that these are not something that can be permanently possessed. For example, I don’t believe anyone has “the gift of miracles” at their constant disposal. Instead, I believe that these are ways in which God can manifest Himself in the life of a believer, some more regularly than others (e.g.. Tongues). I also believe that the verses that deal with spiritual gifts are interconnected. Meaning, when someone is walking in the gifts of Romans 12, they will experience one or several of the manifestations of the Spirit in 1 Corinthians 12, and they will be easily identifiable in an office of Ephesians 4.
Spiritual Gifts are Given Not Earned
The last comment I have before we embark on the sojourn of the individual spiritual gifts of Romans 12 is to notice the first phrase of verse 6. The gifts are given to us through the grace of God! In short, we can’t earn any of these and none are given because we are “worthier or better” than anyone else, and a quick reading of Romans 12 will make that abundantly clear.
So whatever gift you discover you have been generously given, be thankful for that gift! Do not make the mistake of the masses and complain about what God has so graciously extended to you! It is my prayer that we will all come to love and embrace the gifts that God has given to each of us, and not view any of them as greater or lesser than the others.
The Spiritual Gift of Prophecy
The spectacular, but oftentimes misunderstood, spiritual gift of prophecy is the first gift listed in Romans 12. This gift is always an interesting one to discuss, but it is also a gift we desperately need in the church today. Please don’t misconstrue the gift of prophecy as something mystic or psychic-like. Today, the word prophecy has evolved to mean telling the future or “foretelling.” However, the way it was originally intended was not “foretelling” but, rather, “forth-telling.” Prophecy was known as vocalizing the words that God gave the prophet to speak. Sure, there were plenty of times when those words from the Lord dealt with the future, but those words were always straight from our Source, the Lord!
Today, one who has the spiritual gift of prophecy is someone who is willing to share with others what the Lord has spoken to them. The most common occurrence of this is when one shares the Word of God with someone else at a time that it applies perfectly. For example, a friend counsels his friend through a marriage difficulty by telling him what God said in Ephesians 5. Or, another common occurrence is when someone is in sin and a brother or sister lovingly directs them to God’s Word to show them that their lifestyle is contrary to His will. These faithful friends are forth-telling what God has already put into words.
Prophecy with Faith
Now, let’s delve into the second facet. Romans 12 states that the one who prophesies must do so in proportion to our faith. There is some contention here on this phrase, “our faith.” It either is translated directly and means that the person prophesying needs great faith. This is often true because the Word of God is contrary to our flesh, therefore most do not like to accept what it says. It truly takes massive faith to share something you know someone won’t like because you know they need to hear it.
Another possible translation for this phrase is, “the faith.” If this is what Paul intended, he was warning those who exercise prophecy not to do so flippantly. He was commanding them to only prophesy according to what is accepted doctrine within the faith. If this is true, then the one who prophesies must be careful to never say, “Thus saith the Lord”, when He hasn’t actually spoken. This will keep one free from manipulating (i.e. using God as a means to get someone to do what you want) as well as speaking incorrectly.
In the end, the one who possess this marvelous and bold gift of prophecy is one who is beautifully passionate about God and His Word and is absolutely willing to share it even if it isn’t well-received (e.g. Jeremiah).
This is part of a series of articles about spiritual gifts. Click below to read more as they’re published.