If someone on the street was to come up to you and ask “what is your greatest strength?” what would you say? As a kid, it was probably much easier. Whatever sport you played, or whatever class sucked the least. But as we mature, gain new skills, let others fade, this question becomes a little more difficult.
According to the Bible, there are spiritual gifts that we can use to the benefit of others. Some gifts that Christians might have include giving, administration, apostleship, discernment, faith, and knowledge. There are also many more – I encourage you to click the link at the bottom to a site with a list of gifts and a test that you can take to learn more about your gifts and/or your disposition.
There are many different gifts that we can have. But there are certain gifts that every Christian does have.
7 For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.2 Timothy 1:7 NLT
As Christians, we are not supposed to be scared all the time, but intrinsically we should be courageous because of the gift of salvation, and the presence of God in our lives. But there are other gifts that not one of us (most likely) has the complete set of. However, we should be aware of our strengths and capabilities, and spend time using them for God.
6 In his grace, God has given us different gifts for doing certain things well. So if God has given you the ability to prophesy, speak out with as much faith as God has given you. 7 If your gift is serving others, serve them well. If you are a teacher, teach well. 8 If your gift is to encourage others, be encouraging. If it is giving, give generously. If God has given you leadership ability, take the responsibility seriously. And if you have a gift for showing kindness to others, do it gladly.Romans 12:6-8 NLT
Whatever our gifts are, we should use them for what is good. And when we invest in ourselves, we should especially pour time into the things that we can use effectively. This might be a little counterintuitive, since we generally want to get strong in the areas that we are weak in. While I don’t think that we shouldn’t try to get better at things we are bad at, I do think it is more important to use and train our skills that we are obviously better at.
4 There are different kinds of spiritual gifts, but the same Spirit is the source of them all. 5 There are different kinds of service, but we serve the same Lord. 6 God works in different ways, but it is the same God who does the work in all of us.1 Corinthians 12:4-6 NLT
Our gifts should be used to serve God, as mentioned before, and we as believers can complement each other’s skills by using our own effectively.
7 A spiritual gift is given to each of us so we can help each other. 8 To one person the Spirit gives the ability to give wise advice; to another the same Spirit gives a message of special knowledge. 9 The same Spirit gives great faith to another, and to someone else the one Spirit gives the gift of healing. 10 He gives one person the power to perform miracles, and another the ability to prophesy. He gives someone else the ability to discern whether a message is from the Spirit of God or from another spirit. Still another person is given the ability to speak in unknown languages, while another is given the ability to interpret what is being said. 11 It is the one and only Spirit who distributes all these gifts. He alone decides which gift each person should have.1 Corinthians 12:7-11 NLT
Sometimes I think we get caught up thinking about the things we’re not very good at. And for me, that’s a lot of things. But God doesn’t ask us to be good at everything. We are the body of Christ, and I think that means that we come together to form a more functional entity. So we are inclined to become more communal through our weaknesses.
18 But our bodies have many parts, and God has put each part just where he wants it. 19 How strange a body would be if it had only one part! 20 Yes, there are many parts, but only one body. 21 The eye can never say to the hand, “I don’t need you.” The head can’t say to the feet, “I don’t need you.”1 Corinthians 18-21 NLT
It’s so important to use what gifts we do have for the good of others. If we use them only for our self-glorification, than it indeed is a travesty.
Most importantly, we have to be loving Christians.
If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn’t love others, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I understood all of God’s secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn’t love others, I would be nothing. 3 If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it; but if I didn’t love others, I would have gained nothing.1 Corinthians 13:1-3 NLT