There is a lot written about identifying one’s spiritual gifts. Much of it centers around a description of the various gifts recorded in scripture. This is good and even so, there remains a considerable amount of uncertainty on the subject, principally regarding application. Everything that pertains to God and scripture must be understood, experienced, and acquired with faith. Faith is the key to heavens door, accordingly the door is locked to those without it. The opposite of faith is not unbelief, it is self-reliance. Many people in scripture struggled to believe. One man asked Yeshua to deliver his son saying, ” ‘But if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.’ ‘If you can?’ said Jesus. ‘Everything is possible for one who believes.’ Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, ‘I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!’ ” (Mark 9: 22-24). So, we can move from not believing to faith, but it is another thing entirely to move from self-reliance to faith. Trusting in self-will eliminate our ability to call out for God’s help, healing, or gift. When we think and reason for ourselves our own resources are the extent of any help; doctors and medical science alone are where healing can come, and spiritual gifts are only those that we can reasonably explain, like service, administration, or teaching.
On the contrary, I believe all true gifts from God must be obtained and exercised with faith. Moreover, faith is imperative in the exercise of gifts because the Holy Spirit empowers the gift. We could teach by acquiring a knowledge of scripture, but gifted teachers are able to inspire and impart understanding that goes beyond facts or knowledge. A gifted administrator brings together people and resources in a way that transcends the sum of an organizations parts. The prophetic gift empowered by the Holy Spirit can open the heart of people so that they cry out, “God is really among you,” (1 Cor. 4: 24-25).
Many people seem to be interested in God’s gifts, but they become like toys thrown aside because there are no batteries to keep them working. We search through the catalog of gifts wondering which one we prefer, make a selection, and expect God to zap us with it. This is the approach of natural reasoning which sees a gift as a possession and it leads many to conclude that spiritual gifts were for the first century church and are no longer necessary in the 21st century. There is a whole assortment of arguments to explain and deny their existence, yet very subtly ignoring clear passages and whole chapters of scripture. However, this is to be expected where faith is so critical and essential.
The Holy Spirit operates in an environment of faith and submission. We can have all the faith necessary, but if we strike out in our own best thinking we will fail. Just as the Israelites did when they assumed they could go into the promise land after rejecting God’s command to do so, or when they assumed they could conquer Ai, without first seeking God’s leading. (Deut. 1: 26-27, 41-44; Joshua 7: 4, 8: 1). We must be available to the Holy Spirit rather than to our own reasoning and this submission is in humility. We can not claim anything as our own when the Holy Spirit is at work. God deserves and expects the glory that is due Him. Moses was a man through whom much was done by God and he was the most humble man on earth. (Num. 12: 3). This is my encouragement: desire spiritual gifts with faith in God that He will accomplish loving acts as you surrender your ways and reasoning for His ways and leading. (Gal. 5: 6). Be courageous and bold as you hear His voice, fear and timidity are only found in false humility. A humble person can go where the proud will not and they will risk being thought a fool for their Messiah. His power is made perfect in weakness. (2 Cor. 4: 7, 12: 9). He lives in every believer.