The Holy Spirit decides who will get which gift and when it will operate. Overall, each gift is for edification, strengthening, and encouragement. Which gift do you have?
1 Corinthians 12:7-11 NLT says:
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.
About the gifts
- The Holy Spirit decides who gets which gift.
- A saint can have more than one gift.
- The Holy Spirit controls the operation of each gift.
- You should ask the Holy Spirit when you want to use your gift.
- We can receive a gift we desire if God wills (1 Cor 14:1,12).
- The purpose of each gifts is for edification, strength, and encouragement (as mentioned many times in First Corinthians chapter 14).
How to receive the gifts
There’s no longer a need to wait for an apostle to lay hands on you to receive the Holy Spirit or his gifts. Just believe, repent, and receive the Holy Spirit. Afterward, look for the manifestation of your gift.
In the beginning, the “laying on of hands” was necessary through the apostles to prevent schism. Now that we have an established doctrine and a complete Bible, waiting on an apostle or pastor is not necessary.
The 9 gifts and how they work
- The gift to speak in unknown languages (tongues)
How it works: it flows out—you’re not making it up. You should pray for interpretation afterward.
- Gift of interpretation of unknown languages
How it works: you can interpret unknown languages whether heavenly or earthly.
- Gift of discerning of spirits
How it works: you know which spirit a person is operating in. A spirit includes a demon, an angel (good or evil), a person, the Holy Spirit, Jesus Christ or God the father. Example: Paul understood a girl was under the influence of a spirit of divination (Acts 16:16-18).
- Gift of faith
How it works: your extra faith boosts morale when others’ faith is low.
- Gift of knowledge
How it works: you receive knowledge about hidden things to help you or others understand a person, place or thing.
- Gift of wisdom
How it works: you receive “godly understanding” and practical knowledge that leads to success. It’s useful for yourself and when counseling others.
- Gift of healing
How it works: you can lay hands in faith (like Jesus) and people will be cured. Secondarily, you’re given knowledge of how to use earth’s elements to cure illnesses and diseases.
- Gift of miracles
How it works: extraordinary things happen through you to solve problems. Example: An old testament profit threw salt in water to purify it. Jesus walked on water because he didn’t have a boat. Men of God multiplied food and resurrected the dead.
- Gift of prophecy
How it works: you speak God’s mind about someone’s past, present or future. More about prophecy in this series.
Don’t “major in minors”
What God highly esteems we should as well. The gift of tongues is listed below the gift of prophecy and mentioned last on the list of importance (1 Cor 12:28). Yet, many churches still emphasis unknown tongues above everything else—we shouldn’t do this. All the gifts are important, but we should desire and emphasize the more important gifts as scripture suggests (like wisdom, faith, and prophecy).