Ah, spiritual gifts…those are two words that are thrown around fairly often but never taken very seriously. Do we really know what the New Testament writers meant whenever they wrote about them? Are we taking them as seriously as they did? From my experience, most Christians today have the tendency to either neglect the gifts of the Spirit or to abuse them. It’s time for us to take a sober look at what the New Testament writers viewed as radically significant.
Several months ago I began to notice a trend in many of the New Testament letters, most of which, were written by Paul. For some reason, I never noticed how much these New Testament verses intensely emphasized the use of spiritual gifts in the lives of every believer in the different churches. Paul writes about the usage of spiritual gifts in great detail in Romans 12, 1 Corinthians 12, and Ephesians 4, and in my opinion, several other places. Even Peter is very specific about the recognition and usage of spiritual gifts in 1 Peter 3:10-11.
Furthermore, it is vital to note that both Paul and Peter are not specifically writing to “ordained” ministers, but to entire congregations in each account, which means that the exhortation to exercise the usage of spiritual gifts is not just a “pastoral” thing, but is meant to be accepted and acted upon by every believer:
· “Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others…” 1 Peter 3:10-11.
· “The whole body…builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.” Ephesians 4:16.
· “Now, to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good.” 1 Corinthians 12:7.
· “We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us.” Romans 12:6.