I‘ve created a simply but effective spiritual gifts test. And it only has one question.
When I was a teenager, I took a spiritual gifts test. It involved a 1-10 ranking of about 40 questions. (What’s the difference between a 6 and a 7 for “how often do you share your faith?”) Needless to say, I didn’t find it very clarifying.
The pitfalls of tests like these are their subjectiveness. I had a close friend I admired. My test looked a lot like his, because all my subjective answers were skewed toward what I wanted to be–not necessarily what God had given me.
This test is (hopefully) different.
Here’s how it works. Below is a list of the spiritual gifts taken from Romans 12, 1 Corinthians 12, Ephesians 4, and 1 Peter 4.
Step 1: Read the Gifts
Briefly read through the below list, lingering only long enough to understand each gift:
Administration: Planning, organizing, charts, and graphs. If that makes you salivate, this one’s for you.
Apostle: Not to be confused with the big twelve (Peter, John, and those guys), the gift of apostleship is to go out and create. Church planters and missionaries fall into this category.
Discernment: Spotting the root issue: is this from God or elsewhere? And PS, there really is no middle ground. (Someone with the gift of discernment told me that.)
Evangelism: A front-line gift where you’re able to weave the Gospel into every new conversation. We’re all called to share the Gospel, but some of us just do it more naturally and more often.
Exhortation: Encouragement and building up. Your mission is to make sure we’re all operating as the best we can.
Faith: Every believer has faith, but the gift of faith is the unswerving trust in God and His ways, no matter what life throws. Like with all gifts, we still never do this perfectly.
Giving: When you look at your assets–be they money or time or talent–do you see means to support others?
Healing: God works through his people in a myriad of ways. Healing is one of those, be it physical, emotional, or mental.
Helps: This might as well be service (below). It’s the foot that moves the body so that the hands or head or whatever can move forward to do their job.
Hospitality: Making another feel comfortable in your area. Maybe that’s opening your home. Maybe it’s making new members feel welcome in your church group.
Knowledge: Data and facts and all that are the backbone of healthy decisions. You are the one who wants to make sure we’ve got all this stuff straight.
Leadership: Having a vision and motivating others to follow you in it.
Mercy: Sensitivity to those in pain. Typically you know pretty quick when you’re not this one (or maybe that just me).
Miracles: Like healing above, miracles are about being a conduit of God’s supernatural work.
Pastor: The desire to care for and nurture the local gathering of believers.
Prophecy: Speaking God’s message. This is rarely, if ever, about the future. Often it’s about course-correction.
Service: Directly putting others’ time and needs before your own.
Teaching: To help others understand the Word (and other lessons).
Tongues: A spiritual language not learned but given. It’s a way of communing with God.
Tongues interpretation: The ability to understand one of these spiritual languages and, you guessed it, fill in the rest of us.
Wisdom: The practical and relevant application of spiritual truths.
Step 2: Mark Yours
Now comes the test part.
On a scale of 1-10, which one or two gifts rank as an 11? That is, not which do you feel you should be exhibiting or is good in its own right, but which gift do you get excited just reading about?
Isolating that one or two is a good indication that you’ve found your gift(s). And here’s a hint: once you get it, it’s typically not too much of a surprise.
Step 2.5: Own It
This part is important. So important it gets its own quasi-step.
Once you’ve figured out your spiritual gift(s), pull out a pen and paper and write down–or open a browser window and email yourself–this statement:
I, [your name], was created by God and gifted to [spiritual gift].
For example, mine looks like this: “I, Joe, was created by God and gifted to teach and encourage.”
Writing it out serves as both a way to internalize and then regularly remember it.
In the body of Christ, this statement is your calling card. It’s the thing that gets you fired up, and it’s the thing you’ll do for free all day (and night) long. This is your place in the body of Christ.
The sooner you own it, the better for all of us (and that includes you).
Step 3: Redouble
If the answer to Step 2 is not immediately apparent, don’t worry. Take some time to think (and pray) through this. Asking others is helpful, too.
Spiritual gifts are not earned, they’re given. And they’re given to everyone who is a part of the body, the church.
As I mentioned in my example above, one of my gifts is exhortation (encouragement). I figured that out one day, because, despite everything around me, I found myself always stepping into the roll of encourager. I want people, more than nothing else, to see the beautiful side of following Jesus.
Another Way: Look for the Friction
There’s another way to spot your gift, and that’s by paying attention to what upsets you.
My other spiritual gift is teaching. More so than encouragement, this one caught me off guard. I found myself getting downright angry when God’s Word wasn’t being clearly explained.
My granddad helped me onto this idea one day when I was complaining about something. As I was passionately going on and on, he calmly interjected and said, “maybe that’s because that’s what God has for you to do.”
That was the light bulb I needed. From then I began to look at these kinds of frustrations as opportunities for me to step in and use my gifts. The friction became an alert bell.
Click here to read Part 2: How to find Your Spiritual Theme.