How Do You Determine What Your Gift Is?
This is not an easy question to answer. Yet it is a natural question for any growing Christian who is desiring God's best. This person wants to be used of God, and so begins seeking every avenue to fulfill this desire. Let's look at four basic principles to help determine what your gifting may be.
A. What areas of ministry interest you?
Do you have a desire or burden to do a certain work? Do you have a desire to minister to a certain age group? Many times this is how God leads us.
1. God puts His desires and interests into your heart (Phil.2:13).
2. As you trust in Him and yield yourself to Him, He will direct your paths (Prov. 3:5,6).
3. In 1 Tim.3:1, Paul acknowledges that to desire the office of a Bishop is to desire a good thing. As we surrender He puts good desires in our hearts.
4. Paul felt God was leading him to Rome because he had "a great desire these many years." Also he had no where left to preach that hadn't already heard the Word (Rom. 15:23,24).
B. Have you ever sensed God using you while you were serving Him?
1. Fruit is a good test and proof of his gifting. You know the tree by its fruit (Matt 7:20).
2. The wisdom that comes from above always bears good fruit. If God in His wisdom gifts you in a specific area it will bring good fruit.
3. Paul saw the good fruit from his ministry in Ephesus and wanted to stay there. There was an effective door of ministry open to him (1 Cor.16:8,9).
C. Have others told you that God has used you in their lives?
Many times others can see where you are gifted before you do.
1. During the revival in Antioch, Barnabas knew the people needed another man with the gift of teaching. He knew such a man and went and asked Paul to come and teach the brethren (Acts 11:19-26).
2. Paul could see the gift Timothy possessed. He wanted him not to neglect it. His gift was even confirmed by prophecy (1 Tim.4:14).
D. What are some of your natural abilities ?
Your natural abilities are also a gift from God. Many times God will use your natural abilities as a compliment to the supernatural gifting of the Holy Spirit.
1. How many musicians find their gift and calling in worship, special music or in a band ministering evangelically?
2. How many who have natural communication skills go on to be used in teaching or one of the other communication gifts?
3. How many who are very organized or have management skills go on to be anointed by God for governing the church?
4. How many are gifted naturally in practical or technical areas find their ministry in the gift of helps?
II. How Do You Receive and Grow in Your Gifting?
A. Present your life to His service (Rom.12:1-8)
This is the first step to finding, receiving and growing in the ministry God has called you to. Paul makes it absolutely clear what it takes to experience God's perfect will. You must surrender your life completely into His hands. This is what opens the door for God to fulfill His purposes in your life; and His purpose is to bestow His gift in your life.
B. Seek Him first (Matt. 6:33)
Jesus makes a very simple request with a simple promise.Seek first the kingdom of God and He will add all the things you have need of. He sees that we have made his kingdom the priority of our lives and so adds to us all we need to accomplish our goal. His gifts will help to establish and further His kingdom.
C. Use the principles in section A
Begin by taking the time to really think through where your abilities and interests are, where God has already used you or where others have acknowledged your gifts are to be. This takes time, careful thought and prayer.
D. Seek opportunities to serve in your area of interest
This involves taking some action. Don't be passive. Don't think God is going to drop your ministry on you immediately and you're going to exercise your gifts perfectly. Don't wait for the perfect opportunity to come along. Start serving in little things. Be faithful here first. Just start serving where you have a desire or interest right now. You may after a few months say, "This isn't for me." This isn't a mistake, its really a help to you, because it further clarifies where your gifting is. This is the process of maturing in Christ. Then, once you find the ministry that is right for you, you must also be patient to mature there (Eph. 4:15).
E. Seek His empowering. Seek His direction
This is what Jesus told the first 120 disciples to do; "Wait in Jerusalem for the Promise of the Father" (Acts 1:4,5) (Acts 1:15). That's exactly what they did (Acts 1:14). And this is what they continued to do (Acts 2:42) (Acts 4:23,24) (Acts 12:12). We need His empowering and direction to begin our ministry and we need it to continue and mature. Notice, where Paul and Barnabas were when the Holy Spirit called them and gave them direction for their ministry. They were in a prayer meeting, waiting upon and worshipping God (Acts 13:1-3). Here is where a persons' earnest desire for His gifts and His power is revealed (1 Cor. 12:31).
F. Study all you can find on your ministry gift
First make a thorough study of everything the Bible has to say about your area of ministry. Look for every place this ministry is spoken of and how the gift is exercised. This will give you a solid foundation for your ministry (2 Tim.2:15) (2 Tim.3:15-17). Second, find as many books or testimonies of others that have exercised this gift or ministry. Be careful to filter and test all that you read by the Word of God (1 Thess.5:21)(Acts 17:11). Third, talk to others who are involved in your same ministry or possess the gift you are seeking from God. Preferably seek someone who has many years of experience to draw from. Yet again, test all by the Word of God.
G. If you make a mistake, be open to reproof. Reproof is essential for spiritual growth (Prov.9:8,9).
The religious leaders of Israel wouldn't receive it, but Peter would (Acts 7:51-54)(Gal.2:11-14). One became hardhearted the other matured in his life. If you read II Timothy you will see much of Paul's writing is a gentle reproof to Timothy in many needful areas of his ministry. Paul reproved him for being ashamed of the gospel and fearing persecution (1 Tim.1:7,8). He also gently reproved him for not preaching the Word and fulfilling his ministry as an evangelist (2 Tim.4:1-5). If you want to grow in your ministry I wouldn't wait for reproof. I would seek out constructive reproof from those you trust and love. This will help in maturing process of you ministry.