In the work world, we are all asked to take different types of personality tests to categorize us (me being an ENFJ) but have many of you taken the time to access your spiritual gifts? Recently, our small group did a study on spiritual gifts and I found it quite fascinating. Before taking this test, I assumed that my spiritual gifts were the same as my personality gifts. While they did mesh well at times, I was surprised that some of my personality gifts ranked quite low on my spiritual gift survey. If you are wondering what exactly spiritual gifts are and how they differ from your personality, read this definition by Gene Wilkes:

A spiritual gift is an expression of the Holy Spirit in the life of believers which empowers them to serve the body of Christ, the church.

Romans 12:6 says that "we have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us."  God created us as unique individuals and through the power of the Holy Spirit he wants us to use our spiritual gifts to serve the church.  When I say "the church" I don't just mean the church you attend on Sunday.  What I'm talking about is this fellowship of believers - serving the body of Christ - to impact the entire world.  What an amazing opportunity he has given us to share the good news of Jesus Christ!  And, to make things cooler, we get to do this through the gifts he has given us.  The Holy Spirit enables us to use our gifts to glorify the Kingdom.  Wow....absorb that for a second.

Now, you might be thinking "What exactly are spiritual gifts?"  The Bible talks about them in these places:

Romans 12:6-8

1 Corinthians 12:8-10, 28-30

Ephesians 4:11

1 Peter 4:9-11

Quickly, I'll go through the different types of spiritual gifts:

Leadership, Administration, Teaching, Knowledge, Wisdom, Prophecy, Discernment, Exhortation, Shepherding, Faith, Evangelism, Apostleship, Service/Helps, Mercy, Giving, and Hospitality.  To find the definitions to these gifts, click here.

When I took my spiritual gifts survey, my top three gifts were faith, teaching, and administration.  My bottom three gifts were service/helps, giving, and apostleship.  As I mentioned earlier, I was very surprised to find that some of my personality traits (such as serving and giving) were ranked the lowest!   What I realized after taking this survey was that God wants me to use His gifts that He has equipped me with to impact the church rather than things that I knew I was good at or enjoyed.  For instance, take teaching.  This is something that God has placed on my heart; without a doubt.  Never would I have imagined that my purpose in this world would be to teach others the joys of living their lives for Christ.  But, I do it through the power of the Holy Spirit.  Also, let's use faith as an example.  Without my faith in God, I would have had such a harder time dealing with the girls' NICU experience.  But, through my faith, He used that experience as an opportunity to share His love to all of you.  I couldn't have been brave enough to share my fears and gratefulness without having faith that God was going to use our story in a BIG way...for HIS glory.  Finally, administration.  I can't help it; I'm a bit of an organizer.  When I began to analyze this gift, it made me think that maybe it was going to be used so I could administrate teaching opportunities or plan small group activities at our church.  Taking another quote from Gene Wilkes he says, "As a servant leader, God desires that you know how He has gifted you.  This will lead you to where He would have you serve as part of His vision and mission for the church."

Taking a spiritual gifts survey is a great way to catapult living your life for Christ.  We all get so busy with things we have to do - work, extracurricular activities, family, children - but how can we rearrange our life priorities where we are living daily to glorify Him?  I know it seems that I am focusing on this topic a lot lately, but I think it's important.  Are we living our lives according to God's will?  Are we using our God-given spiritual gifts to glorify His kingdom?  If not, how can we start?  On the other hand, if we are fulfilling our spiritual gifts on a daily basis, are we giving God the glory or ourselves the glory?  Time and time again, I see people wanting "credit" or "special attention" for what they do.  It is easy to want a pat on the back.  Do you think Jesus got himself a pat on the back for coming to this Earth?  Last time I checked, he got a big heavy cross to carry.  So, what I'm asking is, "Am I doing ____ out of my own selfish desires instead of giving God the credit?

Friends, I read a blog post from another blogger at my church, Rachel, and I felt such a connection to her post that I wanted to share a snippet.  She writes:

I am reminded that seeking ME, feeding my pride, lifting up myself – even (especially?) in a ministry context – leads me AWAY from the life I so ache to have. A life owned by Christ and not by me. A life where I give up every "right" and honor I could ever have in favor of pointing to someone far greater.  A life where I don't care about the esteem of others, so long as God is well pleased.

Can you imagine? The God of the universe... well pleased by US?

Take some time and fill out a spiritual gifts survey if you haven't already.  Click here to view the one that I did.  Pray that after you take this test and discover your gifts that you will seek opportunities to use your gifts to further advance the church.  If you are aware of your spiritual gifts, take a few moments to reflect on how you are using your gifts.  Ask yourself if you are using your gifts for pride or God's glory.  Pray a prayer of repentance or of renewed strength to continue giving Him all honor, glory and praise. 

"For to me, to live IS Christ" - Philippians 4:21

Till next time, let your light shine!

Blessings, christen