Vol. 14 No. 39
Discovering Your Spiritual Gift
Even though we all have been given a spiritual gift in which we are to excel at in application of our spiritual life, 1 Peter 4:10, “As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God,” we are all commanded to exercise many of them in our daily walk even though they are not our gifts. This is called our “general service” as members of the body of Christ.
Gifts given to some:
6. Showing Mercy
Command given to all for general service:
1. Great commission, Mat 28:19
2. All witness, Acts 1:8
3. Serve one another, Gal 5:13
4. Exhort one another, Heb 10:25
5. All give, 2 Cor 9:7
6. Be kind, Eph 4:32
7. Walk by faith, 2 Cor 5:7
An interesting thing is that as you serve Christ generally in the application of these mandates, you will come to know what your specific spiritual gift is.
So there are several things you can do that will help you to discover your spiritual gift over time.
1. Educate yourself about the total package of gifts in your life, including:
a. Your natural abilities. God-given at birth, they include things like I.Q., a measure of health and strength, musical talents, linguistic abilities, mechanical aptitudes, etc.
b. Your acquired abilities. These include things like cooking, sewing, driving a car, learning a language, learning to play an instrument, etc. While we may tend to take such skills for granted, remember that many people in the world have few opportunities to acquire skills in these areas.
c. Your spiritual gift(s). A believer should inform himself the function of each category of spiritual gift and try them out in general service.
2. Prepare yourself by taking every opportunity available to serve.
All believers have to perform inside the Plan of God for their lives under General Service / Ministry. It is our duty regardless of the spiritual gift we have been given. In fact there are more scriptures regarding the general service we are to perform than there is regarding our particular spiritual gift and specific service. Unfortunately, many believers excuse themselves from general ministry because they say it is not part of their gift or specific service. Whether the service is applicable to your gift or not, is not the issue. The believer’s obligation is to obey the commands of Scripture. The imperatives of the Bible must be followed regardless of our spiritual gift or specific service. For example, the Pastor can help out from time to time in maintenance of the church, administration, personal evangelism, etc. He is not excused from general service just because he is a Pastor. Our spiritual gift equips us for a particular service or ministry that demands our attention, but it does not excuse us from every other service or ministry.
As Ryrie notes, “Gifts are both discovered and developed by activity. Practice brings perception of one’s total package of abilities, and practice develops those abilities. If you are seeking to discover your gift(s), then do not turn down opportunities to serve, even if you think they do not fall within the range of your abilities. God may be trying to tell you that you have abilities you do not recognize.”
The relationship between our responsibility toward general service and ministry and the exercise of your spiritual gift can be illustrated by my college education. In college, I majored in Human Resources Management. I took many courses in this field, but not all of my courses were in my major field. The University I attended prescribed a course of study that included a considerable number of “general requirement” courses as well, such as English, Mathematics, History, Sciences, Psychology, Sociology, etc. Even though my major was Human Resources Management these general courses helped to round me out as a professional and prepared me to better serve in my major field. And that is the key! Everything we do for God works together for good when we do it in love for Him. Our general service helps to round us out as believers so that our specific and overall service will be the best that it can be. But unfortunately, many believers want to minister only in the area of their gift, and they miss out on the important affects God has for them in performing general requirements as well. As a result they will not be the best that God has intended them to be, even in their specific ministry and gift.
The benefit of general service or ministry is in discovering your specific spiritual gift(s) and specific ministry. By “testing the waters” you eventually discover what your specific gift and ministry is, also assuming you continue to grow spiritually through the consistent intake and application of the Word of God. Being obedient and faithful in general service / ministry will enable you to determine your spiritual gift(s) and specific ministry. This is so obvious many believers have overlooked it. The Spirit of God is at work in the life and (general) service / ministry of every believer. God is at work in you, “both to will and to work for His good pleasure,” Phil 2:13. It is only as you are growing spiritually and engaging in general service / ministry to one another that you will discover the God-given potential you have for your specific service / ministry.
My own personal experience has borne this out. I had an idea from my late teen years that I might have the gift of Pastor-Teacher, but in fact I did not become a Pastor until my 30’s. In between I served my church in a number of different capacities from painting walls, to removing old insulation, to passing out communion, to various plumbing work, to teaching in the prep / Sunday school, to substituting for my Pastor, etc. As a result God focused my understanding of my gift and at the same time gave me a greater appreciation for what it takes to shepherd a church.
As Ryrie notes, “If you are active in doing what you can, then other opportunities may arise which will bring to light additional spiritual gifts. For example, when we first meet Philip in the Book of Acts we see him helping distribute the relief money to needy (and bickering) widows. (6:5). It is doubtful that before he undertook this ministry he sat down to decide whether or not he had that spiritual gift! Here was an opportunity to serve and he took it. He proved faithful in performing this menial task. The Lord then entrusted him with another ministry, that of evangelizing the Samaritans (8:5), and later, the Ethiopian eunuch. As he used that gift he became known as Philip the evangelist (21:8). But first he was Philip the helper of widows.”
Unfortunately, believers are going to seminars, reading books, and trying all kinds of fast track formulas to discover their gift or ministry when the key is found in living the Christian way of life by simply trusting and obeying God’s Word and just flat out serving generally. God’s Word tells us that every believer has a spiritual gift, 1 Cor 12:7, 11 and 1 Peter 4:10 and if you are a born-again Christian, then you have at least one gift. Trust God and believe His Word and He will reveal it to you. And remember that among the many commands to minister, God’s Word instructs every believer to “grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ,” 2 Peter 3:18; “admonish one another,” Rom 15:14; “encourage or exhort,” Heb 10:25; “witness,” Col 4:5-6; 1 Peter 3:15; and “help,” 1 Thes 5:14, one another. We must either obey these instructions and others like them as faithful servants of God or become unfaithful servants.
For every vital function of the Church, there are some who are specially gifted to perform that function. The way for you to discover your gift is to obey the Scriptures, carry out those functions to the best of your ability, and determine which of them God most blesses you to do. How then do you discover your spiritual gift? The answer: Grow in the grace and knowledge or our Lord Jesus Christ and obey the imperatives of the Bible related to general service / ministry.
3. Your Spiritual Gift is discovered on the basis of your specific ministry, and not that of others.
Each gift has a unique ministry application. Be careful not to think you do not have a specific gift and ministry because it is not like someone else’s. Attempting to discern your gift by comparing your service / ministry with those of others is a fatal flaw. Many times, believers try to define their spiritual gifts in terms of the ministry of well-known servants of God like Billy Graham who obviously has the gift of evangelism or the late Pastor Robert Thieme, Jr. who had the gift of Pastor-Teacher. Just because you may wrongly perceive that you do not measure up to the stature of others does not mean you do not have the same gift as they. Remember every gift has a unique ministry to perform and effect. Every believer possesses a spiritual gift; in addition they have a specific ministry and a particular degree of effectiveness as ordained by God, 1 Cor 12: 4-7. For example, you might conclude that you do not have the gift of evangelism simply because you do not preach to large audiences from a stadium and have thousands respond. In this case you may be wrongly comparing your ministry and effectiveness with some of the giants of the Christian faith, 2 Cor 10:7-18.
4. Some specific action to discover your Spiritual Gift.
a. Pray, ask God to make your ministry and your gift(s) evident, 1 Cor 14:13, (an example of prayer regarding a temporary gift); Phil 4:6 and 1 Peter 4:4-10.
b. Study the Scriptures, note the commands of the Bible, and ask God to give you insight into specific ways that you may put the imperatives of the Bible into practice, 2 Tim 2:15.
2 Tim 2:15, “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, handling accurately the word of truth.”
c. Look for needs about you, and consider how you may meet those needs, 1 Cor 10:24; 14:12. Take the initiative to get to know others and their needs and stop waiting for people to invite you in or have you over. Begin to proactively seek ways of serving others. Before you begin each day, consider a particular place that you are going to, pray about it and serve as the moment presents itself.
d. Do not compare yourself with others. God has given you a spiritual gift with a unique ministry and effect. Just do what God has placed before you to do, and do it well.
e. Always be sure you are filled with the Spirit when entering into service. You cannot exercise your Spiritual Gift without the filling of God the Holy Spirit, Eph 5:18-21.
The following is a description of the Permanent Spiritual Gifts for the Church Age that make the body of Christ function. All other gifts have ceased with the completion of the Canon of Scripture, 1 Cor 13:8‑10.
Pastor-Teacher, POIMEN-DIDASKALOS, Shepherd and Teacher, Rom 12:7; 1 Cor 12:28; Eph 4:11-16, (“joint” is the P.T.); 1 Tim 3:1-7; 1 Peter 5:1-3; John 21:15-17; Acts 18:24-28.
This is the ability to shepherd, provide for, care for, and protect God’s people. In Eph 4:11 teaching is linked to pasturing and in Acts 20:28 to ruling. It includes the ability to explain God’s truth to people. The Pastor-Teacher is one gift, (Granville-Sharp rule), having the supernatural ability to teach and to individually apply the truths of the Scriptures. This is the highest rank of authority for the communication gifts remaining in the Church Age today. There is no higher authority spiritual gift. It is given to male believers only, 1 Tim 3:2; Titus 1:6, and is designed to function primarily inside the local church. The pastor is not an administrator; he is a policy maker. One of his titles, as found in Eph 4:11, says he has the responsibility of seeing that the policy of administration lines up with the Word of God, and that it is a policy that fulfills the concepts of the New Testament. But he himself does not involve himself in administration. A Pastor should have nothing to do with the “handling” of money in the church, nor with the building and how it functions. He makes policy for the funds to be applied to and the building to adhere to, but the Pastor is not administratively responsible for the inter-workings. Every pastor is the dean of a Bible training school, which school is composed of those members in the Church of Christ committed unto him.
Application for the Gift of Pastor -Teacher in general service can be found in Rom 15:4-6, 14; Eph 5:25-27; 6:4; Col 3:16; Titus 2:3-4; 2 Thes 3:15; Prov 31:26.
Evangelism, EUAGGELISTES, an evangelist, a bringer of good news. From EU – good, well done and AGGELOS – a messenger, Eph 4:11; Acts 8:5-6; 26-40; 24:8 (Philip the Evangelist).
This is the ability to proclaim the Gospel message with exceptional clarity. Also included in this is the idea that the ministry of an evangelist was itinerant. It might also be done publicly or privately. Whether or not one has the gift of evangelism all believers are to be witnesses. The gift is the supernatural ability to effectively communicate the gospel and win the lost to Christ. While the gift of Pastor-Teacher communicates the whole realm of doctrine to the saved inside the local church, the gift of Evangelism is designed to communicate the gospel to the unsaved outside the local church. The male believer with the gift of Evangelism has the God-given ability to communicate the gospel in a manner that holds the unbeliever’s attention. This is the spiritual gift by which people will gather or assemble to listen to the presentation of the gospel. These unbelievers will give attention and listen to the evangelist, where they would not listen to anyone else. His gift is designed to reach the unreachable with the gospel message. He has the ability to teach and express the gospel so that unbelievers will listen and have a clear understanding of the issue of salvation; i.e., that faith in Christ means eternal life, and that rejection of Christ means eternal condemnation. Every evangelist must learn doctrine from his right Pastor-Teacher.
Often an evangelist will have a speaking talent that goes with his gift, but it is actually the gift that provides hearing from the unbeliever. When this spiritual gift functions, the unbeliever will listen to the gospel almost by compulsion. The man with this gift is sensational in his communication of the gospel to the unbeliever. He is a sensational speaker with a sensational personality; this is necessary in order to get a hearing from unbelievers. Such a person can hold the attention of unbelievers.
Application for the gift of Evangelism can be found in 2 Cor 5:19-20; Col. 4:5-6; 1 Peter 3:15.
Administration (a.k.a. LEADER, RULER), Rom 12:8; 1 Cor 12:28.
This is the ability to rule in the church. In Rom 12:8 the Greek word is PROISTEMI that comes from PRO meaning before and HISTEMI meaning to make to stand. Combined it means, “to put before, to stand before, to set over, to rule, or to preside.” Note: The change to pitch (12) and font (2) must be converted manually.He who leads must do so with diligence (SPOUDE – haste, eagerness, earnestness).”
In 1 Cor 12:28 the Greek word is KUBERNESIS, “to steer, guide, or govern.” It is used for “governments or administrations.”
The two Greek words describe the two parts of this gift. It entails both authority and leadership, and the function of administration. Therefore, the gift of Administration is the supernatural ability to lead others. This is the gift of administrative leadership. Those who serve in the local church who have this gift have delegated authority from the Pastor. Those with the gift of Administration will clearly understand the immediate and long-range goals of the local assembly and devise and execute effective plans for the accomplishment of those goals.
This spiritual gift is typically held by deacons and those on the Board of Directors. Likewise, those who fulfill administrative responsibilities on missionary boards; leaders of Christian service organizations; those who lead and administer the training of children in the local church; church officers and chairmen of standing committees or other organizations within the local church may have this gift.
Apparently, this gift is given to men only. Men with this administrative leadership spiritual gift must chair the various committees in the local church; such as the church office committee, finance committee, membership committee, missionary committee, nursery committee, prep school committee, property committee, and ushers committee. (Those who serve on committees must have the gift of ministry or service.)
There are two kinds of Deacons: 1) Those with the administrative leadership gift and 2) those with the service administrative gift, called the gift of ministry or the gift of service, as we will see below.
It is the responsibility of the Pastor to identify men who have this gift and appoint them into the appropriate slot. The pastor who fails to do this eventually becomes the loser himself. The very existence of this gift emphasizes the fact that the primary responsibility of the Pastor is not administration. The gift of administration, then, is linked to the function of the local church.
One important distinction must be made. A person can be great in administrating some business or organization, but that does not necessarily mean he has this spiritual gift. The gift of administration calls for more than simply effective administrative function. It is a spiritual gift, which is sensitive to the needs of the local church and how they are best administered, coupled with the supernatural ability to lead others towards the accomplishment of those needs.
As a side note, in 1 Tim 3:4-5, 12, the Pastor and Deacons are to rule their household well as a qualification for their offices. In addition, those Pastors who rule their congregations well are to be honored (supported financially) by their local assembly, 1 Tim 5:17; 1 Thes 5:12, Heb 13:7.
Application for the gift of Administration can be found in 1 Cor 14:40, “All things must be done properly and in an orderly manner.” See also Rom 16:1-2, (helper = PROSTATIS feminine of PROISTEMI); Eph 5:23-6:9; 1 Tim 1:4; also in Titus 3:8, 14, (i.e., maintain or engage).
Ministry / Service, DIAKONIA meaning, “service or ministry.” It is from DIAKONOS meaning, “a servant or minister,” Rom 12:7.
DIAKONIA is a spiritual gift of service given to both men and women. Some confusion arises because DIAKONIA resembles DIAKONOS, 1 Tim 3:8-10, 12-13, which is transliterated “deacon,” but DIAKONIA actually refers to the gift of service or ministering, where the person possessing it may or may not serve as a Deacon of the church.
DIAKONOS is the office in the local church, held by a man serving on the Board of Deacons, and as we noted above, the PROISTEMI and KUBERNESIS or the male DIAKONIA are the ones with spiritual gifts of Administrative Leadership or Service who serve on the Board of Deacons or Directors. The Deacon, who is the chairman of a committee, has the gift of Administration. Those who serve on the committee (male or female) have the gift of ministry or service. This makes for effective administrative function in the local church. Therefore, this gift, DIAKONIA, functions in the administration of the local church. Those who have this spiritual gift should serve on committees and in specific administrative functions in the local church, on mission boards, or in Christian service organizations. This spiritual gift is strictly administrative without the leadership function provided by the Holy Spirit
Although women cannot have the first three spiritual gifts, they can have this spiritual gift. This explains the feminine form, “deaconess,” (DIAKONON) in Rom 16:1. No woman has the gift of Pastor-Teacher, the gift of Evangelism, or the gift of Administration. But this should not keep ladies from teaching children, from personal witnessing, or from functioning in the administration of the church if they have the gift of service.
Application can be found in: 1 Cor 12:5; 2 Cor 6:4; 9:12; Gal 5:13; Eph 4:12; Rev 2:19; Mark 15:40-41; Luke 8:2-3.
Helps, is the noun ANTILEMPSIS that means, “help, support-gift, helpful deed or relief,” in 1 Cor 12:28 and comes from ANTI, “instead of,” and LAMBANO that means, “to take hold of or to support.” ANTILEMPSIS is the opposite of taking; it is giving or helping. It is a laying hold of, the ability to help, a helper, or one who aids. It also can mean perception with the sense of knowing what others need. It is a H apaxlegomena, which means it is used only once in the New Testament.
The verb form is used three times in Scripture, Luke 1:54: Acts 20:35; 1 Tim 6:2. Thayer defines the verb ANTILAMBANOMAI as: 1) to lay hold of, hold fast to anything; 2) to take a person or thing in order as it were to be held, to take to, embrace, 3) to help, to be a partaker of, partake of (the benefits of the services rendered by the slaves). It is used in
Those with the gift of “helps” are not necessarily people in positions of authority. Instead, they are individuals with resources, (both spiritual and physical), which others lack. As such the gift of “helps,” involves the giving and sharing of those resources with those who can benefit from them.
This spiritual gift functions by helping and ministering to others including the sick, the afflicted, the handicapped, and the helpless. It is the supernatural ability to invest in the life and ministry of others, thereby enabling them in their ministry and effectiveness while increasing their success.
It is held by men and women. This gift is possessed by thousands of believers and is very important. It is this gift that makes the Royal Family tick. It is the most sustaining gift, and it provides the real stability in a local church. It is a marvelous thing to behold. It is this gift which functions by visiting the sick and those in hospitals. It is not the Pastor’s responsibility to call on the sick, but for those who have the spiritual gift of Helps. This is their great and magnificent function. This is the spiritual gift that really undergirds all the other spiritual gifts. It can be extended inside or outside the church. It can function to both believers and unbelievers. Possibly one difference between the gift of ministry or service and the gift of helps is that ministry or service functions within the church, whereas the gift of helps functions both inside and outside the local church.
Application can be found in: Acts 20:35, 1 Thes 5:14.
Exhortation, is the noun PARA-KLESIS or the verb PARAKALEO in Rom 12:8, that means, “exhortation, encouragement or comfort.” This involves the ability to encourage, comfort and admonish people.
PARAKALEO is the root verb meaning, “to call to or for, to exhort, to encourage; that is appeal, beg, or to call near.” It also can mean, “to invite, invoke (by imploration or consolation), beseech, call for, be of good comfort, desire, give exhortation, entreat or pray.” It is a compound word from PARA meaning, “near or nearby, beside, by the side of, by, ect.” and KALEO that means, “to call.”
The noun PARAKLESIS comes from the root verb and means, “a calling to one’s aid, i.e. encouragement, comfort, appeal, consolation, exhortation, urging, imploration, solace in the sense of comfort, and entreaty.”
A cognate of PARAKLESIS is used as a title for the Holy Spirit to describe His ministry in the Church Age; PARAKLETOS in John 14:16; 15:26; 16:7. It is translated “helper” but could also be translated “comforter or exhorter.”
In classical Greek it was used to mean, “one who is called or sent for to assist,” and was used in legal contexts where it referred to one who was called to assist or defend another who had been accused of something. The kind of assistance offered in a court of law was not part of the formal jurisprudence but a personal act of friendship. In non-legal contexts it was used in the same manner. For example, one who encouraged soldiers before a battle was called a PARAKLETOS. So we see further description and amplification of the role of the believer who has the Spiritual Gift of Exhortation.
Exhortation is the supernatural ability to encourage, counsel, comfort, admonish, warn, and advise others going through the spiritual warfare of the Angelic Conflict. This gift is also described as anyone who is honest with you as a friend. It is the special ability to minister words of comfort, consolation, encouragement and counsel to other members of the Body of Christ, so that they feel helped and healed. Being different from plain teaching, it is an appeal for action. It is the practical aspect of a preaching ministry. It leads people into the active realization of the will of God.
“The primary purpose of exhortation is not necessarily a call for the self-activity of the individual, but to encourage the individual’s affirmative response by faith to the sanctifying grace of Christ. Exhortations do not encourage believers to fight against sin in their own strength so they might conquer it. On the contrary, believers are exhorted to participate in their sanctification by faith, the evidence of which will be an actual separation from the reign of sin, cf. Rom 6:2, 12; Col 3:5.” (Complete Biblical Library Greek-English Dictionary.)
It is Gal 4:16, “Have I therefore become your enemy by telling you the truth?” balanced with 2 Tim 4:2, “Preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction.”
Applications of Exhortation can be found in: Acts 15:36f, 2 Cor 1:4; Phil 2:1-8; Heb 3:13; 10:25; 1 Thes 4:18; 5:11, 14; 1 Tim 4:13.
Giving, METADIDOMI is a compound word from the preposition META meaning, “with or among” and DIDOMI meaning, “to give.” So METADIDOMI comes to mean, “to give over, give a share of, share, impart, or bestow.” It indicates the giving or granting of something from the store or abundance of one’s resources. It is used for the spiritual gift in Rom 12:8, and is the ability to be very generous with what means one has. It should be exercised with “liberality,” i.e., simplicity: generously with no thought of return or self-gain.
This gift is the supernatural ability to contribute material resources to the work of the Lord with liberality and cheerfulness to meet the physical (mainly financial) needs of others. It is the ability to be very generous with the means you have, committing earthly possessions to the Lord for His use. It is primarily in the form of materialism but can be of time or talent as well, ergo the phrase, “time, talent or treasure.”
In Rom 12:8 this gift is to be exercised “with liberality.” Liberality is the Greek noun HAPLOTES, which comes to mean, “singleness, simplicity, liberality, sincerity, mental honesty, purity, or generosity, and the virtue of one that is free from pretense and hypocrisy. It means not self-seeking and openness of heart manifesting itself by generosity, copious bestowal and bountifulness. This means that giving should be exercised with simplicity, which means with no thought of return or self-gain and with no strings attached.
HAPLOTES comes from the adjective HAPLOUS meaning, “simple, single or clear.” This is a compound word from the Greek negative A and PLOOS meaning, “voyage,” which is from PLEO meaning, “to sail.” So it comes to mean, “not to sail away.” In other words, to not take the materialistic blessings God has given to you singularly for your own adventure or voyage, but to share those blessings with others.
This is a special spiritual gift given to both rich and poor for the extravagant use of their earthly possessions in providing for the needs of both believers and Christian institutions. This would include their local church, missions, Christian service organizations, the destitute and needy, and those who are financially helpless.
A person with the spiritual gift of giving will give sacrificially. There are two types of believers who have this gift: rich and poor. If you have this gift, you will give sacrificially, assuming you are growing spiritually on a consistent basis. If you have the gift, God will provide for the poor and for the rich to give sacrificially. If you do not have this gift, you are still obligated under general service to have the mental attitude desire to give, whether you are able to give or not, and to do so without compulsion or obligation, 2 Cor 9:7.
The application of this gift can be found in: Mark 12:41-44, (the widows mite); 1 Cor 9:9f; 1 Cor 9:14; 2 Cor 8:1-9; 9:1-15; Gal 6:6; 1 Thes 5:12-13; 1 Tim 5:17-18; 6:18-19.
Showing Mercy, is the verb ELEEO, (el-eh-eh’-o) in Rom 12:8, that means, “have mercy or pity on (someone) or show mercy.” It means to help someone afflicted or seeking aid, and to bring help to the wretched. Its noun usage is ELEOS, which means, “mercy, pity or compassion,” that is kindness or good will towards the miserable and the afflicted, joined with a desire to help them. It also means, “to exercise the virtue of mercy, and to show yourself merciful.” The word focuses upon acts of kindness between individuals who have a mutual relationship. The closer the relationship, the more mercy is expected when needed. Like the gift of serving and helps, this involves aiding, particularly those who are sick and afflicted.
Showing Mercy is the supernatural ability to visibly demonstrate love and compassion to the unlovely. This person will feel genuine empathy and compassion for individuals, both Christian and non-Christian, who suffer distressing physical, mental or emotional problems, those who may be suffering persecutions and for those who are victims of tyranny. They translate their compassion into cheerfully done deeds, which reflect Christ’s love, in order to alleviate the suffering. It is similar to the gift of Helps, which also focuses on the weak, sick, needy and poor, whereas Showing Mercy is directed toward those who are sick, afflicted or persecuted. Therefore, it is perhaps more dramatic than the gift of helps.
Rom 12:8 Note: The change to pitch (12) and font (2) must be converted manually.carries with the gift an implication that the person with this gift may not like what they are challenged with or face. That is why we have the addition of the phrase, “with cheerfulness.” Cheerfulness is the Greek noun HILAROTES used only here in the New Testament, (a hapaxlegomena), that means, “cheerfulness or graciousness.” Thayer adds to the definition, “readiness of mind,” which is why we say virtue is necessary for the application of this gift.
HILAROTES comes from the adjective HILAROS used in 2 Cor 9:7 to describe the mental attitude of the giver. It means, “cheerful, joyous, prompt to do anything, propitious, merry or graciousness.” It is where we get our English word hilarious from, and the Latin HILARITAS, but the meaning is quite different. The root word for both of these is the adjective HILEOS meaning, “propitious, gracious, kindly, gentle or merciful,” as in Heb 8:12. Adverbially it was a Hebraism used to say “God be gracious!” or “far be it!” or “God forbid!” as in Mat 16:22, with the sense of averting some calamity.
So this “cheerfulness” or virtue is necessary because when we are faced with the unlovely of this world, it can be depressing and discouraging on many levels. But we are not to look at the condition for our happiness or as motivation for service. We are to apply God’s Word, resting in Him and relying on the inner peace and happiness we have gained through His Spirit and Word, in order to serve in this gift or even generally. We are to operate with the virtue of God in us. That is why Rom 12:8 commands that “cheerful-lness” accompanies the function of this spiritual gift using the Dative of Manner. Therefore, showing mercy is a virtue that all believers can possess under grace, but the gift of Showing Mercy is the supernatural ability to deliver mercy to those who otherwise may not receive it from man, yet still calls for a cheerful mental attitude. When Rom 12:8 was written, it was dangerous to help Christians who were imprisoned or under persecution because of their belief. Hence, this spiritual gift is always related to courageous acts of mercy.
The application of this gift can be found in: Mat 5:7; 18:21-33; 25:34-40, Luke 10:33-37; Acts 16:33-34; 2 Cor 4:1; Gal 6:16; 1 Tim 1:16; 2 Tim 1:16; Heb 4:16; James 1:27; 2:13; 3:17; 1 Peter 2:10-12; Jude 1:2, 17-23.
Mat 5:7, “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.”
James 1:27, “Pure and undefiled worship in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world.”
Faith, is the Greek noun PISITS that means, “faith or faithful” and sometimes Bible doctrine. It is used for the spiritual gift in 1 Cor 12:9; 13:2. Its root word is the verb PEITHO meaning, “to persuade, to have confidence or to be assured.” PISTIS can also mean conviction of the truth of anything, with the idea of trust and holy fervor born of faith and joined with it. So it is belief with the predominate idea of trust or confidence, whether in God or in Christ, or in His Word, springing from faith in the same. It can also mean the character of one who can be relied on.
This gift is the supernatural ability to believe God for the supply of specific needs. Every believer should walk by faith and each has a measure of faith, but not all have the gift of faith. This gift has been debated as to being a permanent verses temporary gift, but here we are treating it as a permanent gift.
The person with this gift discerns with extraordinary confidence and conviction the will and purpose of God for his service or ministry. It manifests itself not so much in the trust of Jesus Christ as Savior, but more so by having unalterable confidence in God in respect to His power and love working in the details of their lives, supplying their every need and guiding their steps. Having this confidence in their own affairs, they are able to share that confidence with those around them.
This must be distinguished from the Faith‑Rest Drill. This is a special spiritual gift whereby a believer demonstrates faith while being in a group that is being persecuted or under some special pressure. While others are fearful and without faith, this believer exercises great conviction in deliverance by God or in confidence that God’s will, will be done. In the process they encourage the group to do the same.
This person exercises his gift of Faith on behalf of the group to comfort them with Biblical promises and doctrine. If a group of believers is about to go to the lions, the one with the gift of Faith stands up and demonstrates great courage, confidence and peace. This in turn positively affects the courage and faith in God of the others.
It is more than claiming promises from the Word to apply. It is complementary to the promises and doctrines of the Bible, so that others will learn how to apply the Faith‑Rest Drill. This is noted by extension in 1 Cor 13:2, “If I have all faith so as to remove mountains.” One definition of the moving of mountains is the removal of fear, worry, and anxiety from the soul caused by giving over to the temptations of the sin nature during times of adversity, disaster, trials and tribulations. Those with the gift of Faith will greatly encourage others by demonstrating great courage and exhorting them to walk in faith too while under pressure.
In addition, the believer with this gift may be a “prayer warrior,” someone who is faithful in offering up prayers for those around them who are in need. By demonstrating confidence in prayer they will lead others to have confidence in prayer and to wait patiently on the timing of the Lord for the answers to their prayers.
The application of this gift can be seen in the general service principles found in: Acts 27:21-25; Rom 4:18-21; 2 Cor 5:7; Eph 4:13; 6:16; Phil 1:21-30; Titus 2:10; Heb 11:all; James 1:5-7.
2 Cor 5:7, “For we walk by faith and not by sight.”
Titus 2:10, “…showing all good faith so that they will adorn the doctrine of God our Savior in every respect.”
If you would like more information on this subject, you may watch/listen to lesson:
#’s 15-120 through 15-123
A PERSONAL NOTE FOR YOU
If you have never accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, I am here to tell you that Jesus loves you. He loves you so much that He gave His life for you. God the Father also loves you. He loves you so much that He gave His only Son for you by sending Him to the Cross. At the Cross Jesus died in your place. Taking upon Himself all of your sins and all of my sins. He was judged for our sins and paid the price for our sins. Therefore our sins will never be held against us. Right where you are, you now have the opportunity to make the greatest decision in your life.
To accept the free gift of salvation and eternal life by truly believing that Jesus Christ died for your sins and was raised on the third day as the proof of the promise of eternal life. So right now you can pause and reflect on what Christ has done for you and say to the Father:
“Yes Father, I believe that Your Son, Jesus Christ, died on the cross for the forgiveness of my sins.”
If you have done that, I welcome you to the eternal Family of God!