When the Bible talks about a “gift of the Spirit,” it might sound all spooky and hocus pocus to you. You might wonder if it involves flipping into a trance and exhibiting weird behavior. But, in reality, the Bible explains what a spiritual gift is in pretty down-to-earth language:
Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. (1 Corinthians 12:7)
To put that in other words, everyone who has the Spirit living in his or her soul (i.e. everyone who has trusted Jesus) will begin to show the evidence of that Spirit, as He begins to transform their mind, emotion and will (the soul) from the inside out. Romans 12:2 calls this process being “transformed by the renewing of your mind.” The evidence of those changes are “the fruit of the Spirit.”
Each of us has been designed by God to show (manifest) the influence of the Holy Spirit in a particular way. We do not all have the same “gift.”
Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. (Romans 12:4-5)
Each of these unique “gifts” do have something in common, however: they serve the common good (of the body of believers).
Paul goes on, in verses 6 through 8, to illustrate some of the possible ways this gifting will look, such as wisdom, strong faith, leadership, etc. This is not an exhaustive list, just examples. However the Spirit transforms what you do in a particularly effective and helpful way is your gift. Those gifts call attention to Him, not you. Paul says, when you find your gift, use it!
I know someone whose gift is to provide a calming influence in meetings in which several strong opinions have been expressed. It is amazing to watch the Holy Spirit work through that man. I know someone else with the gift of making brownies. If you ever tasted those brownies you wouldn’t wonder if that was really a spiritual gift.
So, what’s yours? When you open a Christmas gift, it is fun to experience the anticipation, the surprise and the joy that follows (assuming its not a tie…). If you keep it simple, “unwrapping” your gift from the Spirit can be a lot like that. Enjoy!