When we approach a spiritual gifts test, most of us are eager to know what our gift might be. And if we really understand what the Holy Spirit is doing in us, we recognize He’s endowing us with the grace to serve the church. But if we’re not careful, we can use our gifts in selfish, fallen ways. How do we know if we’re operating in a healthy or unhealthy manner? Use this quick guide to help you assess.
Healthy: Courageous, winsome truth-telling
Unhealthy: Arrogant, divisive condemnation
Questions to Ask: Do I pray for the right timing and tone to speak up—in person, online, or written form? Or am I argumentative in unhelpful and unedifying ways toward the body of Christ?
Healthy: Selfless, eager assistance on behalf of others
Unhealthy: Attention-seeking martyr making
Questions to Ask: Do I find joy in coming alongside others, freely offering help? Or do I take on too many tasks and complain that I get too little credit for my labor?
Healthy: Openhanded giving that invests in the kingdom
Unhealthy: Subtle control that funds an agenda
Questions to Ask: Do I give in a selfless manner and spread my resources liberally for the kingdom of God? Or do I expect my giving to be noticed, or to afford me power over others and the church’s direction?
Healthy: Earnest desire to point people to Jesus
Unhealthy: Fleshly desire to point people to self
Questions to Ask: When teaching, do I recognize that it’s God who works through me to bless others, and not my own genius or strength? Do I feel frustrated when spiritual leaders don’t call on me to teach?
Healthy: Intentional words of affirmation
Unhealthy: Self-seeking words of flattery
Questions to Ask: Before speaking to my brothers and sisters, do I thoughtfully and prayerfully consider their circumstances and needs? Or do I instead offer easy platitudes and meaningless Christian-speak to feel good about myself?
Healthy: Servant-leadership that shepherds
Unhealthy: Autocratic leadership that manipulates
Questions to Ask: Do I view a leadership position as an opportunity to equip and empower others for the sake of the kingdom of God? Or do I see it as my chance to be in charge, to drive people toward my expected end?
Healthy: Empathetic selflessness that pursues justice
Unhealthy: Self-righteous virtue signaling
Questions to Ask: Am I using my influence, my hands and feet, and my resources to help alleviate human suffering? Or do I merely want to be seen as standing on the side of justice, being vocal online or in conversations, so people know I have the right opinions about issues?