Friday, July 21, 2006

It's A Spiritual Gift: Don't Get It Twisted!

Minister Angela Lee Price

Have you ever tried to do something nice for someone only to have them read into your gesture something that wasn't there? A friend, co-worker, brother or sister in Christ "gets it twisted" and starts smiling, and staring at you as if to say, "I know you like me," after you compliment their shoes. You invite a friend to stay temporarily in your home while in their crisis situation only to discover they've "gotten it twisted," and you can't get rid of them months after they've gotten through their "going through." Your generous gifts were misunderstood, misapplied and misused.

The Lord has done something nice. He has given spiritual gifts to Christians, but often His gifts are misunderstood, misapplied and misused. Spiritual gifts is a subject about which there is much debate within Christianity, and many have "gotten it twisted." Some believe all, or certain gifts, ceased in the first century and none, or only a few, are available to 21st century believers. Other Christians believe all spiritual gifts are available to believers today through the Holy Spirit. Of those who believe in gifts of the Spirit, there is great debate over when certain gifts are received. Some believe they are bestowed on believers when they accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, and others believe Christians can receive a “Second Blessing” at some date subsequent to conversion which is evidenced by speaking in tongues. Know what gift(s) you have, and don't "get it twisted."

According to a 2001 St. Stephen Church Spiritual Gift Assessment Guide, spiritual gifts are “special abilities used for spiritual purposes given by the Holy Spirit to every believer in the body of Christ according to God’s design and grace for use within the context of the Body.” Spiritual gifts differ from talents in that talents are given to unbelievers and spiritual gifts are given to believers when they are born again. Talents, like gifts, can and should be use to glorify God. Spiritual gifts are found in four key passages in the Bible, Romans 12, l Corinthians 12, Ephesians 4, and 1 Peter 4. Opinions differ over the actual number of gifts in those and other ancillary verses.

Spiritual gift assessment guides or surveys can be good tools to help Christians identify their spiritual gifts. I completed an assessment in 2001 and retook the same assessment in 2005. It measured gift strengths in fourteen areas, administration, counseling, craftsmanship, creative communication, encouragement, evangelism, giving, helps, hospitality, leadership, mercy, prophecy, shepherding and teaching.

The 2001 guide consisted of 112 statements. Respondents were asked to rank the degree to which each statement was true for them from “0, - Not at all or never,” to “3 – Consistently or definitely true.” In 2001 my gifts were teaching, administration and prophecy. In 2005, the ranking was the same as 2001, however, I was surprised to discover that I received tie scores for administration and creative communication, and prophecy and shepherding respectively.

Use any spiritual gifts analysis with caution. Ask the Lord for discernment and be sure to take a second assessment. In researching the gift of tongues, for example, I learned that people in the occult speak in tongues and chant "Jesus" to invoke the powers of darkness. Satan is a master of the counterfeit so research spiritual gifts thoroughly and don't "get it twisted!"
Remember, it is not Mohammad, Buddha, Confucius, nor New Age that saves. Jesus saves!

This article is a modification and abbreviation of a Spiritual Gifts paper submitted to Dr. Stephen K Awonyi, Professor, New Testament Survey 1, Simmons College of Kentucky, Fall Semester 2005. The picture, Pentecost can be found in the Original African Heritage Study Bible. The scripture reads, "And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. Acts 2:3." To learn more about classes at Simmons College of Kentucky, click on the link in the heading.


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