Have you ever wondered for sure whether or not you possess a certain spiritual gift? A good first step is to take a spiritual gifts assessment (www.assessme.org might be a good place to start). However, after you take an assessment, you may still question your personal gift mix. To gain additional clarity, I recommend five steps to test whether or not you have a particular spiritual gift:
1. You Enjoy It – The use of your spiritual gifts should bring a certain amount of personal fulfillment. I’m not suggesting your giftings feed your ego, but rather, that you are not drained by the use of your gifts. If you feel zero satisfaction or fulfillment when you use a gift, then it’s probably not your gift.
2. Others Grow or Benefit from It – The purpose of spiritual gifts is to serve others. Ephesians emphasizes using gifts to build up the body of Christ and to serve others. If you do not notice a positive impact or benefit for others when you exercise a gift, perhaps it’s not really your gift. Giftedness should be accompanied with fruitfulness.
3. Leaders Confirm It – Typically when you serve in your God-given gifts, others will affirm them. Be willing to seek out leaders to provide honest feedback on the use of your gifts. You’re not seeking praise, you’re seeking perspective.
4. The Kingdom is Advanced by It – When you use your spiritual gifts, the Kingdom should move forward. By no means is the Kingdom of God hinged solely on the use of your spiritual gifts. However, the use of your gifts should contribute to the advancement of God’s Kingdom agenda, not your own.
5. God is Glorified by It – This is a motive test. Who is elevated most by the use of your gifts – God or yourself?
This five-step test is not the final authority on your spiritual gifts. Sensitivity to God’s leading is essential. But when you are honest about the five tests above, you can often discern whether or not God has deposited certain spiritual gifts within you. Don’t be afraid to exercise what you believe to be your gifts against the backdrop of these five tests. Whatever the outcome, admit it and accept it – then take your next step.
For some, the next step will be the continued use of the gift. For others, it will be an examination and testing of other spiritual gifts. We ALL are gifted…sometimes it just takes some testing to gain clarity about those gifts.
One final word of caution: your spiritual gifts need to be developed. Nobody is perfect! You will not look like Billy Graham the first time you use a gift. Keep things in perspective, remain sensitive to the Lord’s leading, be honest about your observations and the feedback of others, and maintain a learning posture.