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Are You Using Your Spiritual Gift?

December 22, 2022

-by Dr. J. Vernon McGee, from the digital booklet “Gifts of the Spirit: How and Why to Use Yours"

Every believer has a gift from the Holy Spirit.

But now God has set the members, each one of them, in the body just as He pleased. -1 Corinthians 12:18

I can’t think of anything more thrilling than to know God has given you and me gifts to function in this world, and that we are to be partners with Jesus Christ in the tremendous enterprise of making Him known. God sovereignly gives the gifts, and He gives them as it pleases Him. The purpose of the gifts is so the body can function.

A man in one of my congregations had a rare and helpful gift in the church. Although he wasn’t an usher, he would stand in the back of the church, and take care of any kind of disruption or commotion in the service. He had a great way of handling people. You may be surprised that something like that is a gift. Gifts vary from this helpful people skill to cooking to running an office or a home.

My friends, the Spirit of God is sovereign in all this. He is the one who determines what is important and what’s not. If God has called you to organize a campaign or sew a dress, then do it. That’s a gift. The Holy Spirit wants us to bring our gifts under the lordship of Jesus Christ and to put them to use.

We have three things to note here about our spiritual gifts. First, the definition of a gift.

#1: What is a gift?

A gift is the manifestation of the Spirit. If I may give my own simple definition, a gift is the Holy Spirit using the believer to do something through him. Anything Vernon McGee does in the flesh is useless to God, and God doesn’t want it. Only what the Spirit of God does through us is of value. This is my reason for warning folk who have natural gifts (a natural gift of speaking, a natural gift of singing, etc.) that they should be dead sure the Holy Spirit is using that gift. Be very sure you’re not just exercising a fleshly gift, but that the Spirit of God is using you. The reason why so many church services fall flat is that we have a demonstration of a natural gift rather than the Spirit of God doing something through a person.

#2: Who has a gift?

Every believer has a gift. Notice that “the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one.” If you are a child of God, you have a gift. The Spirit of God has given you a gift, and you are to use it.

#3: What’s the purpose of gifts?

A gift is “given to each one for the profit of all.” Every believer has a gift and is placed in the body of Christ to function. The gift is operational. What is the purpose? Well, the purpose is to profit the body of believers. A gift is to be used in the church to build it up, to help the church. It is never given to help you in your personal spiritual life. No gift was ever given to be used for selfish purposes. Every gift is to be used to build up the body of believers. Paul developed this point with an illustration of the function of members of the human body. For instance, my eye has no business running off and operating on its own. It has to operate for the benefit of the rest of the body. That is the only way in the world a gift is to be exercised. Different gifts are given to believers to be exercised for the good of the church: for the profit, for the wealth of, for the building up of the church—“for the profit of all.”

There are many gifts today, just as there are many members of the body—and there are hundreds of members of the body. I think one of the tragedies of the hour in the modern church is that so many believers feel as if they have no gift at all. If you are a believer, you have been put into the body of Christ in order to function in a very definite capacity. Every believer in the church should be doing his or her own “thing.” God has called you to do something, and He’s gifted you to do it. 

Download "Gifts of the Spirit: How and Why to Use Yours" for free.

My Turn

  1. Do you know of anyone in the body of Christ who is using their spiritual gifts for the benefit of the body? Do they serve? Do they teach? Do they encourage? Make an opportunity to affirm them in their exercise of their gift. 
  2. Read and ponder 1 Corinthians 12:4-11, Romans 12:6-8, Ephesians 4:11-16, and 1 Peter 4:10-11.
  3. Do you recognize where the Spirit has gifted you to serve in the church? Do you teach a class? Do you lead a small group? Do you pray for others? Do you volunteer in the church office? Ask God to help you see the way He has equipped you to fill in a need. Ask Him to help you use your gift to lead others to Jesus.