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How can I tell what my spiritual gifts are?

Spiritual gifts are like special talents given to believers by the Holy Spirit for the purpose of building and developing God's Kingdom. Every believer has certain spiritual gifts chosen specifically by God to equip each person based on their individual faith journey (1 Corinthians 12:7-11).

How can I figure out which spiritual gifts God has given me?

Just like those personality tests you can take online, there are equivalent questionnaires out there which can help identify one's spiritual gifts. You also could seek wisdom from other believers who have seen you doing God's work. They may be able to identify a spiritual gift within you that perhaps you’ve taken for granted or have never recognized in your life before. Getting that outside opinion can be eye-opening and give you things to consider.

That said, there is no magic formula or perfect test that can tell what your spiritual gifts are with total accuracy. Tests and people's opinions are not a definitive means of determining your spiritual gifts, and we should be cautious about limiting or judging ourselves simply based on a test or the words of another person. The only one who knows exactly what your spiritual gifts are is the gift-giver, God Himself.

A Long-Term Study of Your Spiritual Gifts

Just because these methods aren't definitive, that doesn't mean you can't ever discover what your spiritual giftedness is. The process will simply take more time and focus on observing your heart and the way you serve others. Since we know that spiritual gifts have the specific purpose of edifying the church (1 Corinthians 14:12), then we can observe where our aptitude lies when we're doing just that.

How do you respond to the call of edifying God's Kingdom? Do you jump at the opportunity to volunteer at your church? Do you have a strong desire to start your own small group Bible study within your youth group, school, or neighborhood? Are you able to clearly communicate God's truth to anyone? Do you pitch in immediately when you see someone struggling to do a task? Do you regularly give of your resources to those in need? Observing these kinds of behaviors can help you determine which gifts God may have given you.

Prayer is also an extremely important part of this personal study of your spiritual gifts (James 1:5). Since God is the one who knows your actual giftedness, it would make total sense to ask Him, wouldn't it? It's also perfectly OK to ask God to help you develop the gifts you have and ask for gifts that you wish you could have (1 Corinthians 12:28-31).

Also see "What are spiritual gifts?" for the spiritual gifts listed in the Bible.

Should I avoid trying to use spiritual gifts I don't have?

A common temptation for believers is to limit themselves due to feelings of insufficiency in their own abilities. They get caught up in thinking that they're only spiritually gifted in certain ways, so they focus all their attention in that area, neglecting other areas they aren't as confident in or have little experience with.

For example, let's say you don't feel you have the gift of evangelism, so you shy away from conversations about your faith because you don't think you'll do it "right." But the truth is, there are no "surprise" happenstances in God's eyes; He saw that conversation coming and knew you would need to be equipped for it (Hebrews 13:21; 2 Peter 1:3). Don't miss out on opportunities to bring God glory by limiting yourself in your own mind.

Knowing which spiritual gifts God has given you can be helpful as you move forward in life. However, that doesn't excuse you from expanding your knowledge of the Bible in case someone asks about your faith, showing compassion and kindness to someone in pain, giving of your resources to those in need if you are able, etc. Ideally, our faith will grow and strengthen in a well-rounded way—not just in one area.

Avoid the trap of stunting your spiritual growth by focusing too much on what you believe your spiritual gifts are. Be open to allowing God to use your life fully to edify His Kingdom, taking ownership of your responsibility to develop your spiritual giftedness, and He will equip you for every turn your life may take.

TL;DR

There is no perfect method to determine your spiritual gifts with total accuracy. Tests and people's opinions are not a definitive means of finding out. We should be cautious about limiting or judging ourselves simply based on a test or what somebody told us. The only one who knows exactly what your spiritual gifts are is God, the gift-giver. Avoid the trap of stunting your spiritual growth by focusing too much on what you believe your spiritual gifts are and missing out on opportunities to bring God glory. Be open, allowing God to use your life fully to edify His Kingdom. Take ownership of your responsibility to develop your spiritual giftedness, and He will equip you for every turn your life may take.

By: Catiana Nak Kheiyn

Cat is the web producer and editor of 412teens.org. She loves audiobooks, feeding the people she cares about, and using Christmas lights to illuminate a room. When Catiana is not writing, cooking, or drawing, she enjoys spending time with her two kids, five socially-awkward cats, and her amazing friend-amily.

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