Spiritual gifts—everyone has them. Have you ever thought about the gifts within you? Do you know what they are? The apostle Paul talked about very specific gifts:
“Now concerning spiritual gifts, brothers and sisters, I do not want you to be uninformed … There are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit … To one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit, to another faith … to another gifts of healing … to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the discernment of spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues” (1 Cor. 12:1,4,8-10).
The gifts that Paul speaks of are certainly valuable. Even today, we seek to express them.
Perhaps as we look around and within ourselves, we can discover even more gifts—gifts which Paul did not mention or which did not exist in his time.
Greater understanding of the physical laws of the universe has allowed humankind the capability of making our world a more comfortable place, a place where we are living longer, healthier, more fulfilling lives. Because people like Galileo and Newton listened to their inner callings, we know more about the universe and the laws that govern our physical world. From this knowledge of math and science, we now have computers at our fingertips that perform functions in mere fractions of a second which previously took people hours to perform.
Because people like Alexander Graham Bell, George Washington Carver, and Jonas Salk used their knowledge to further the progress of humanity, today we take for granted ever-increasing technology that makes our modern world one of comfort and convenience.
Because of these courageous and gifted men and many other men and women, we can push a few buttons and talk to people on the other side of the planet. We hear almost instantly of events taking place on other continents. We are traveling into outer space and making new discoveries, and we are making advances in medicine. The list goes on and on.
Wealth and prosperity—gifts from God—continue to grow to new levels.
Jesus taught that it is God's pleasure to provide for us, and we live in a prosperous world now, largely because we have used the spiritual gift of knowledge to develop divine ideas which have opened the door to greater technological advances. Ideas, knowledge, motivation, dedication—these gifts from God never end. "Likewise all to whom God gives wealth and possessions and whom he enables to enjoy them, and to accept their lot and find enjoyment in their toil—this is the gift of God" (Eccl. 5: 19).
“Strive for the greater gifts.”—1 Corinthians 12:31
From the time we were children, we may have been told by a parent, a teacher, or a caregiver that we have a gift. We may be musically or mechanically inclined, or we may have a knack for technical things. We may be graceful or athletic or academically inclined. These are attributes that we feel confident about, and they enable us to achieve the goals we set.
You may be asking yourself, “How do I attain these gifts?”
The good news is that they are already with in you! To attain them, to get in touch with them, and to begin using them, you need only turn to God, because God is their source.
You are a child of God! You are a child of Goodness and Light. Know that this is true as you look within for the gifts you possess. Let go of any negative thoughts you may be holding; release any fear you may have about reaching a goal or using your gift; release any feeling of unworthiness. Turn to God and realize the truth about yourself—that you are God’s beloved child, filled with amazing gifts, wonderful qualities, and divine attributes.
In his letter to the Corinthians, Paul writes: “Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of services, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who activates all of them in everyone” (1 Cor. 12:4-6). Whatever gifts you discover within yourself, and there are many to discover, know that they are inspired by God. They are yours to use and to share, yours through which you can give and receive a blessing.
“Each has a particular gift from God.”—1 Corinthians 7:7
Yes, you have a gift. Your adventure is to find it, and not only to discover it but to develop it and use it for good. You have the gift of knowledge, the gift of wisdom. You have the gift of faith, even the gift of healing. Have you worked a miracle? Perhaps, if you have prayed and allowed yourself to be an open channel through which God can work.
But do not limit yourself to a gift mentioned here. Reach within. Take time to pray. Listen for answers. Follow your guidance. Follow your heart. As you do these things, you will discover your gifts, you will learn to use them, and you will become an open channel for their expression.
“Do not neglect the gift that is in you.”—1 Timothy 4:14
Once you discover what your gifts are, and perhaps you already have, Paul says not to neglect them. As with any knowledge or ability, you can continuously explore and develop them. You can do this through prayer and by drawing upon and using your gifts when opportunities present themselves.
This is where courage comes into the picture.
Early scientists, mathematicians, explorers, inventors—all used their gifts. But they also demonstrated courage—courage to take the first step, no matter what others believed. You have that same spirit of courage within you. It, too, is a gift from God.
There may be times when you are not sure what your gifts are, or you may wonder if you really have the capability to do something you want to do. Prayer is a very important and helpful tool to use at those times. Pray and open your mind and heart to God. When you are attuned to God, you can expect guidance and reassurance.
The gentle urging you may feel that propels you in one particular direction is the activity of Spirit, nudging you along your spiritual path. This is something you do not want to ignore, but embrace. If you choose to take a different path, you may find yourself once again dealing with the same questions and feelings farther along your journey.
For example, when I was a child, I dreamed of writing, but it was a dream I kept hidden within. I wrote for my own pleasure, but I never shared what I wrote with anyone, and I never told anyone of my dream, because I didn't believe it was a possibility for me. I didn't believe in myself.
Not until I was an adult did I begin to dare to imagine or hope that I could write. I let Spirit lead me as I began to look for opportunities and mentors and education, and I found all of those and more. I found confidence that I never knew I had!
So do not neglect your gift or ignore it.
Nurture it, and develop it. Don't hide it, but let it shine for all the world to see. By using your gifts—whatever they may be—you are a blessing, a blessing to yourself, to those around you, and to the world.
“Rekindle the gift of God that is within you.”—2 Timothy 1:6
You have a spark of divinity within. When it ignites a flame in your heart, you begin to discover new enthusiasm for your gifts. Keep this attitude of zeal for your gifts alive in your mind and heart as you develop them, and you will find them even more useful and exciting.
Remind yourself often of Paul's words: “God did not give us a spirit of cowardice, but rather a spirit of power and of love and of self-discipline” (2 Tim. 1:7). You have God's spirit of love within to guide you in all you do. Be joyous, not meek in your exploration and use of your gifts, and you will live in confidence and security, with faith that God is leading you joyously along your spiritual path.