Let’s review from the last lesson on what spiritual gifts actually are. Spiritual gifts are our God-given passions, abilities, personality, and experiences that were once used for Satan’s Kingdom. Jesus Christ plundered Satan’s kingdom by His death, rescued our giftedness from Satan, and now He has given them back to us so that we can use our spiritual gifts for His glory in His Kingdom. We use them for Him!
There are many spiritual gifts found in the Scriptures. In four different passages we see an apostle looking at the life of a church and noticing how they have been gifted spiritually. In Ephesians 4:11, Paul tells that church that Jesus has given out spiritual gifts for some to be apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers in the church. In Romans 12:6-8, Paul tells that church that he has noticed their spiritual giftedness of prophecy, service, teaching, exhortation, giver, leadership, and mercy. In 1 Corinthians 12:28, Pauls tells that church that he has noticed their spiritual giftedness of wisdom, knowledge, healing, miracles, prophecy, discernment, tongues, interpretation, helping, administration, etc. Lastly, in 1 Peter 4:10-11, Peter tells the church that he has noticed their spiritual giftedness of speaking and serving.
These are all the main passages on spiritual gifts. Notice how neither Paul or Peter said, “Here are all of the spiritual gifts we know about. Now try to figure out which ones yall have.” Instead, Paul and Peter seemed to live with and observe the life of the church. Whatever the members of the church were good at and if they used their giftedness for Christ…Paul and Peter seemed to label those abilities as spiritual gifts. What I’m saying is…spiritual gifts don’t seem to be limited to the only ones listed in the Bible. Rather, spiritual gifts may certainly include many different abilities that Jesus gives us to use for His glory in the church. Whether its gifts of preaching, singing, serving, art, computers, mechanics, mercy, etc…all are given and used by God for Jesus!
How can we figure out which gifts Jesus has handed over to us? Usually we see Christians today figuring out their gifts by taking a quiz called a “spiritual gift inventory.” I don’t think that’s the best way at all. For thousands of years the church has discerned their personal spiritual gifts and the giftedness of others by serving together in the church! We should figure out how God has gifted us by think about what we love, what we’re good at, who we really are, and how God has shaped us. Think SHAPE!
From what I understand, SHAPE is five questions designed up by Pastor Rick Warren to ask ourselves and for others in our church to answer about us in order to determine our spiritual giftedness. My version may be a little different. The “S” stands for spiritual gifts. Think through the spiritual gifts found in Scripture and let the ones listed shape the way you think about your spiritual gifts. The “H” stands for heart. What is it that you love to do with your spare time, your day, and your life? The “A” stands for abilities. What does it seem like you’re especially good at? What is it that sets you apart from others? The “P” stands for personality. What kind of person has God created you to be? Are you quiet or loud, leader or follower, strong or merciful, etc. Lastly, the “E” stands for experiences. How can you use your past to bring praise to Jesus Christ? God has designed and allowed our pasts to shape how we can minister in the present. Have you gone through hard situations, a training class, played a sport, or anything else that God could use for His glory in your life now or later? I would encourage you to answer all of those questions for yourself, and let others close to you in your church answer them. Then think about the ministry needs of your church and where you fit in, or a ministry that you need to start. After all, Jesus didn’t give us back our gifts for nothing!