“Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit.” 1 Corinthians 12:4
God is so creative and so diverse, that He uses gifts to reach the lost. Now there are a lot of gifts that the Holy Spirit gives, but I am only going to talk about the nine mentioned in 1 Corinthians 12.
“But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all: for to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, to another the word of knowledge through the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healings by the same Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits, to another different kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills.”
I Corinthians 12:7-11
I will mention each gift and give what I believe each are used for. I’m not an expert in every gift, and I am still learning, but this is what the Lord has taught me so far. Since we talked about tongues in the previous post, I won’t stay on it too long here.
The Word of Wisdom
The first thing to notice is that this is not all of God’s wisdom. It is only a word of His wisdom.
There are two ideas to what this gift is. One is that it is special wisdom for a moment that really benefits the person you are speaking to or praying for. The other is that this gift sees into the future. Which would mean that it goes hand in hand with prophecy. (You’ll find that all of the gifts work very closely together.)
I personally believe it is a gift to tell about future events with detail. Now I could be wrong, because that is essentially prophecy, especially in the Old Testament. I am not super familiar with this gift. I want to learn more, and I believe the Lord will show me.
The Word of Knowledge
The word of knowledge is not all of God’s knowledge, it is only a word of His knowledge. The simple definition would be: Something that is true in the present that you could only know by the Spirit of God.
On the other hand, I am the most familiar with this gift. This is God giving you divine information about something that is true in the moment. For example, the other night I was at a Starbucks, and I was talking to the barista. As I was speaking with him, I heard the Lord say repeatedly, “sleepless nights, sleepless nights, sleepless nights.” So I asked him, “Hey dude, have you been having trouble sleeping?” He said “Yeah man, every night. I have the hardest time getting sleep.” So I said “Wow dude, can I pray for you? I feel like God was telling me that. That’s why I asked.” He said “Sure go ahead.” So I grabbed his hand and prayed rest over him.
It’s usually used in most settings to know about medical conditions and physical problems, or mental problems. It always builds faith. I have also seen it used to tell people what occupation they are, and what not. This gift is a really good way to build faith in you and the person you are praying for. It’s definitely the gift I walk in the most.
The gift of Faith
This is such a valuable gift. We are all called to grow in faith, but this gift can really help push you over the edge in difficult situations. Sometimes what you need is a special gift of Faith to believe God can do anything.
When I first surrendered to Jesus, I was beginning to see healings after a few months of praying for people. I was growing, and still am. One day at work I was playing music in the kitchen and a co-worker walked in. I’ll call him John. (Not his name.) I said “Hey John, is this music too loud?” He said “I don’t know, I can’t really hear it, my right ear is pretty bad. I only have about twenty percent hearing in it.” I said “No way dude, can I pray for you?” He said “I guess, if you want. I’m up for anything at this point.” So when I got the chance to pray for him, I told him that he would definitely be healed. I had never seen anyone receive hearing after praying for them. I believe that in this moment I received a gift of faith. I was so confident that it would happen. So I put my hand near his ear and said “Spirit of deafness come out, ear open in Jesus name.” And he said “Why is my ear so warm? Oh my God it’s so hot!” I said “Dude, Jesus is healing you right now!” After his ear cooled down, he put headphones in and played some music. He said “It sounds the same in both ears. What happened?” I later shared the gospel with him. He’s running from God, but that was such an important seed sown.
The gift of Faith can change situations, and bring your faith to a higher level.
Gifts of Healings
One thing to notice is that the words gift and healing are plural. I’ve heard people say this a lot, “You have the gift of healing!” Or they will say, “I don’t have the gift of healing” and they immediately exclude themselves from the command to heal the sick.
These are gifts of healings. So they are individual in there application. When do they start and when do they stop? I am not sure. Sometimes someone walks in a strong gift for a certain disease, and other times someone in another. Growing in faith is always a good idea, because it will always work no matter if you have a gift for a healing or not. I believe these are the Lord’s way of helping us when we struggle with faith. Also you can see people who play music and people get healed, or when they walk past someone. These are various gifts.
Build yourself up and walk in faith and gifts of healings! (Jude 20)
The Working of Miracles
This one is the bold counter-part to the gift of Faith. The gift of Faith says, “stand back and watch God do this.” The working of miracles says, “Stand back and watch me do this.” Now, we understand that it is God who holds the power, and He performs miracles through us. However, this gift comes into play when the believer does something to activate the miracle. “Then Peter said, Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk. And he took him by the right hand, and lifted him up: and immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength.” Acts 3:6-7
What caused this miracle was not Peter’s words, it was when he grabbed the man by the right hand and lifted him up. The first modern-day example that comes to mind is an early 1900’s Pentecostal preacher named Smith Wigglesworth. Smith had ridiculous faith, and worked many miracles. He told a woman in a wheelchair to stand up, and she replied with, “but I can’t walk.” And he grabbed her and forcefully pulled her to her feet, and she was instantly healed. He said “I told you to stand up, now don’t talk back to me!”
This isn’t only for healing. Jesus fed 5,000 and that was a working of miracles. Remember the water into wine? They filled the water pots with water before wine was made. The working of miracles requires action!
“But he who prophesies speaks edification and exhortation and comfort to men.”
1 Corinthians 14:3
Prophecy in the New Testament, edifies, exhorts and comforts. It’s not wrong to have negative words for people, but they should always bring people closer to God. Even negative words in the Old Testament were more often warnings. Now, if a word of wisdom is information about the future, then prophecy is the proclamation of that word. It is the forth-telling of the word you heard. Prophetic words can inspire someone to position themselves for what God has for them, or it can cause it.
In the Old Testament, Prophets were judged. If they had a wrong word, they could be killed. In the New Testament, prophecy is judged. If you feel the Lord may be speaking to you, preface it by saying “I feel like the Lord is saying…” if you start with “Thus saith the Lord,” you don’t leave room for people to judge your word. We shouldn’t be offended if we get corrected. This is not about us. We are learning. Here are a few great teachers on prophecy:
I have a very prophetic friend who told me I would be getting the kitchen lead position at work and I should go for it. At the time, I was the least likely choice for that position. Within a few months, things changed dramatically at work. Our manager left, our kitchen lead had to go because she was having a baby, and the other person who was going to get the kitchen lead position left for a month and a half. I had to step up, and I was offered the position. Knowing it was God’s will made it even sweeter. Very encouraging!
Discerning of Spirits
This is not the discerning of evil spirits. It’s simply the discerning of spirits. Angels, demons, human spirits. All of them. It can show up in different forms. I’ve heard of people who can actually smell spirits. What an interesting way to have that gift. My mother can sometimes smell the presence of God. She walked into our church before we started going there and said “I smell Jesus on everything.”
This gift can manifest in so many different ways. Once I was talking to a man at my church, and he was telling me how excited he was to share Jesus with people. He told me he wanted to join me sometime. He seemed normal, just a really nice guy. But the Holy Spirit said to me, “Lee, stay away from him.” Now I’m not suspicious of people, but if God tells you to stay away, you listen. I’ve only ever seen that guy twice since then. He never really brought up Evangelism again.
Sometimes this gift shows up in a feeling. One time, I walked near my friend at work and began to feel anxious and tired. So I asked them, “do you feel worn out and anxious a lot?” They said “yeahhhhh, yeah I do! All the time.” So I prayed for them and they said “woah I feel really hot right now” that was the gift of discerning of spirits.
Just like Jesus knew Judas was a thief, this gift can make you aware of what kind of person you are talking to, or what spirit is governing them.
Tongues and Interpretation
So, there are a variety of tongues. The first we are probably the most familiar with is the heavenly language we receive when baptized with the Holy Spirit. (1 Corinthians 14) The other is the gift of other tongues, which was demonstrated in Acts 2. Everyone understood each man in their own language. This gift is really cool. I have personally never seen this gift manifest in this way in my life, but the Holy Spirit can speak through you to another person in tongues. There have been countless stories of people preaching and all of the sudden getting an urge to speak in tongues, and all of the sudden, they are speaking in German, or Spanish, or whatever! When that happens, it could be for only one person to hear, or a lot of people. I think it’s amazing that God would interrupt a meeting to speak to one person.
Interpretation is usually used to interpret the first kind of tongues. The heavenly language. This gift is very useful. Sometimes this is the best way for God to speak directly to us without our thoughts getting in the way. Some ministers will speak in tongues and interpret. Other people will speak in tongues, and another will interpret. Either way you do it is great. This gift is very powerful for the edification of the church.
I was at Creation with some really great friends of mine. We were volunteering in the prayer tent. A girl came into the tent who just gave her life to Jesus. A few of them surrounded her in prayer. One of our girls spoke in tongues over her, and one of our guys interpreted. It was exactly what she was going through, and God spoke to her directly. She began to cry. Later I saw her and gave her a word from the Lord and it was directly connected to the tongues and interpretation they gave earlier. God is amazing!
Change the world
These gifts of the Holy Spirit are what’s going to transform people, cultures, and nations. We’ve preached the gospel to a lot of people. Sometimes I’m not sure what gospel though. This is more than just making it into heaven. This is the gospel of the kingdom. We want people to experience the love of God in a tangible way. The forgiveness of sins, the deliverance of torments, and the healing of our bodies. The message is so important, and it isn’t complete without the power of God.