Is there any value to a spiritual gifts test/inventory/assessment?Question: "Is there any value to a spiritual gifts test/inventory/assessment?"
Answer: It is definitely commendable for God’s children to desire to know the spiritual gifts given to them by the Holy Spirit for the purpose of serving and glorifying God (2 Timothy 1:6). At the same time, the Bible does not indicate that one's spiritual gift(s) can be determined by taking a test. The many spiritual gifts assessments primarily work the same way. The person taking the test simply responds to a list of statements or questions. After all the questions are answered, a number value is assigned to the response choices, calculated, and that number determines the spiritual gift(s). In contrast, the Bible teaches that the Holy Spirit grants spiritual gifts according to His will, according to how He has chosen to use the believer to minister to others.
One of the problems with the spiritual gift test approach is that, among Christians today, there are many different opinions on the whole subject of spiritual gifts, such as how many there are, exactly what they mean, whether some gifts are inactive, and whether to include Christ’s gifts to His church (Ephesians 4:11) in the list of spiritual gifts. Seldom are these issues addressed in these assessments. Another consideration is that, more often than not, people tend to see themselves differently than others see them, which can mean a false outcome in the assessment of one’s spiritual gifts.
A third problem with using this approach to determine spiritual gifts is that these gifts come from God via the Holy Spirit, and the Spirit gives these gifts to whom He chooses (1 Corinthians 12:7-11). In John 16:13, believers are promised by Jesus that the Holy Spirit will guide them into all truth. It stands to reason that, since it is the Holy Spirit who decides who gets which gifts, He is even more interested in us finding out what our gifts are than we are. In truth, our own curiosity of how “gifted” we are many times is motivated by vain thoughts of our own importance. Conversely, the Holy Spirit’s desire that we know our spiritual gifts is always for the best, in order for us to function in the body in such a way that brings glory and honor to the Father.
If we are genuinely seeking God’s leading through prayer, fellowship, studying God’s Word, and the teaching of God’s servants, our gifts will become obvious. God gives us the desires of our heart (Psalm 37:4). This does not necessarily mean that God gives us whatever we desire - rather, that He can and will give us the desires themselves. He can place within our hearts the desire to teach, the desire to give, the desire to pray, the desire to serve, etc. When we act on those desires, and we are truly committed to His glory in the use of our gifts, positive outcomes will result—the body of Christ will be edified and God will be glorified.
Recommended Resource: The Spirit-Filled Life: Discovering the Joy of Surrendering to the Holy Spirit by Charles Stanley
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