The nine gifts listed in 1 Corinthians, chapter 12, are the basic supernatural manifestations of the Holy Spirit. They are direct manifestations given to born again, Spirit-filled (Baptized in the Holy Spirit) believers who are true disciples of Jesus.
1 Corinthians 12:8-10 “For to one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the ability to distinguish between spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues.”
God may equip everyone by personality, temperament, and motivations to match the gifts He gives them, yet the function of gifts goes beyond the personality and ability of people. The Holy Spirit’s supernatural influence makes the gifts operate.
Paul describes the proper attitude believers should have toward the gifts of the Spirit:
- Be knowledgable. Christians are not to be ignorant of spiritual gifts. They need to think through what these manifestations of the Spirit are and how they are to be used. Each believer also should consider how he can be used to express them
1 Corinthians 12:1 “Now concerning spiritual gifts, brothers, I do not want you to be uninformed.”
- Recognize your own gift(s). Each believer has the potential to function is at least one gift. They receive it for the good of the entire church, not for their own gratification or profit.
1 Corinthians 12:7 “To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.”
All believers have the Holy Spirit operating in them. All have the ability to move in the supernatural “But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills? (1 Corinthians 12:11).
- Desire the gifts needed in a particular church. A Christian’s motivation should be love and a desire to serve and bless others. If love is weak, the gifts will not edify or have their full effect. The Fruit of the Spirit — love — endows gifts with full authority and power to minister grace to others.
1 Corinthians 12:31 “But earnestly desire the higher (best) gifts.”
- Stir up the gifts. Believers should not neglect their gifts but stir them up. Saints are stewards over the gifts.
2 Timothy 1:6 “For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands…” (ESV)
NKJV “Therefore I remind you to stir up the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands.”
- Guard against misuse and abuse. Once God gives a gift, it will not be withdrawn or recalled.
Romans 11:29 “For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.”
To avoid misuse or abuse of the gifts, they must remain submitted to the written Word of God. A person may be convinced they have a revelation or a word from the Lord, but if it contradicts the clear teaching of Scripture, it must not be accepted. The church’s only safeguard from delusion is to stay within the boundaries of objective, revealed truth from the Bible.
1 Corinthians 14:37 “If anyone thinks that he is a prophet, or spiritual, he should acknowledge that the things I am writing to you are a command of the Lord.”
Leaders of local churches also oversee the operation of the gifts. The fact that gifts are spiritual does not mean they cannot be ordered, guided, and judged. God knows the potential for human error always exists, and He has provided for its restraint and correction.
1 Corinthians 14:29 “Let two or three prophets speak, and let the others weigh what is said.”
Operation of the gifts requires cooperation from yielded Christians; however, human vessels do not become puppets, act unconsciously, or go into trances.
1 Corinthians 14:32 “… and the spirits of prophets are subject to prophets.”
Believers actively cooperate with the Spirit. They participate intelligently and voluntarily. They are not in an ecstatic, euphoric stupor when the Spirit moves.
By faith and by an act of the will, Christians obey the Spirit’s prompting to put themselves in positions where the Holy Spirit can use them and manifest Himself through them.
Romans 6:13b “… present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness.”
It is time Christians begin to believe the Lord for more regular, normal manifestations of the gifts of the Spirit in the church. The Lord has purposed to work supernaturally through His supernatural people this way.