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So I am of the understanding that Spiritual gifts, as mentioned in the book of Acts, persist today. As I understand in my reading from 1st Corinthians, we are all given different spiritual gifts.

However, like most things, I should think we have to practice and develop them to varying degrees. I have a strong desire to make use of these gifts, though I don't know:

  1. Is there a gift or two that is innate within us? Or can we develop whichever gifting we like?
  2. What sorts of things can be done to discover/develop my gifts?
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I'm concerned that this falls under "Pastoral advice", and thus off-topic. –  DJClayworth Sep 14 '11 at 16:46
It also seems like a huge topic, worthy of a teaching series. Even if the question was not off topic, I think the scope should be reduced. What is the question? How to discover your gifts? How to practice one specific gift? –  Wikis Sep 15 '11 at 5:27
Note that Willow Creek has an excellent Network series to answer this question. –  Wikis Sep 15 '11 at 5:28

4 Answers 4

While I do believe the gifts do exist today, I do not believe they are all distributed to everyone. (See Do Christians Regard Speaking in Tongues as Necessary?)

Since these gifts are distributed by God, I believe they are given to each in sufficient measure to fulfill their needs. Practicing these gifts is just ensuring you are using your gifts when called to. Even when you feel you are in a position in which you are not sufficient, by stepping up in faith, the Holy Spirit will provide the wisdom you need. (I've often heard this being referred to as "being stretched".)

1 Corinthians 12:7-11 (NIV)
7 Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. 8 To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, 9 to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, 10 to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues. 11 All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines.

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You are correct, we are all given spiritual gifts (1 Corinthians 7:7; 1 Corinthians 12:7). And its great that you desire to discover and develop them. Paul counsels us to do exactly that (1 Corinthians 12:31, 1 Corinthians 14:1).

Lets take a look at the purpose of spiritual gifts:

1 Corinthians 14:12 (KJV)

12 Even so ye, forasmuch as ye are zealous of spiritual gifts, seek that ye may excel to the edifying of the church.

The purpose of spiritual gifts is to edify others. We cannot seek them for selfish purposes. This is why Paul jumps into a discourse about charity (the entire 13th chapter) in the middle of his discourse about spiritual gifts.

1 Corinthians 13:1-2 (KJV)

1 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.
2 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.

So the first step is to make sure you're trying to develop your gifts for the right reason. The next step is to pray. Ask God about what gifts you have, about which ones you should pursue, and about how to develop them. I know from personal experience that prayer makes a big difference.

From there its hard to give a step-by-step plan. It really depends on what gifts you have. Some of them are easily developed proactively while others are more circumstantial. For example, if its the gift of knowledge and/or wisdom, then you can study the Bible (and perhaps other edifying books). If its the gift of the interpretation of tongues, then you have to hear someone speak in tongues which is largely out of your control. However something you can do about the more circumstantial gifts is to pray for opportunities to practice them.

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There appeared to be an abundance of gifts in Christians in the early church. But we didn't each have all the gifts and ministries. (1 Cor. 12:29-30) Jesus Christ as a man and our example had six gifts of the Holy Spirit. (Is. 11:6)

It could be inferred that we can ask for more gifts of the Holy Spirit by these two passages - Matt. 7:7 & 11 and Luke 11:9-13. In 1 Cor. 14:39, we are told to desire the personal gift of prophecy. Surely we are not to desire what is unattainable. I have told this to Christians who have done so and have gotten gifts. As an exorcist, I made sure they didn't get a spirit of divination instead, but none of them did.

As for discovering and developing gifts of the Holy Spirit, You need to verify what you seem to get by watching it come to pass. It is very helpful to have others who already have that gift to sharpen your gift with. 1 Cor. 14:29

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I have found (first hand) that spiritual gifts do exist (though not in everyone equally) the only way really to understand them is to pray and practice try meditating and just trying to move energy (either your own or that around you) around until you can control it.

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Welcome. Are you sure you're talking about Biblical spiritual gifts? Sounds more like the Force. –  Wikis Feb 20 '14 at 10:47
In what way is this answer representative of Christian teaching and whose views are represented? Please see the posts tagged faq+answers for information on what we expect from answers on this site. Also have you seen our tour page? –  Caleb Feb 20 '14 at 11:26

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