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Spiritual Gifts and the Fruit of the Spirit Declare the Presence of The Holy Spirit

Dr. Larry Gilbert

The Scriptures emphasize that Christians are to use their gifts to minister to others and that the power to use those gifts comes from the Holy Spirit.

In fact, 1 Corinthians 12:7 seems to indicate that spiritual gifts are one of the manifestations, or indicators, of the Holy Spirit’s presence in the life of the believer.

Galatians 5:22-23 tells us about the fruit of the Spirit, which are behavior patterns that result from the presence of the Holy Spirit in the believer.

On the other hand, the Bible passages that tell about spiritual gifts are referring to capacities given for service for Christ in the life of the believer.

The “fruit of the Spirit” deals with attitude; gifts of the Spirit deal with action in service.

Both are indications that the Holy Spirit is present in a person’s life.

Spiritual gifts should not be confused with the fruit of the Holy Spirit.

The scriptural ideal seems to be the exercise of the fruit and the gifts of the Spirit at the same time.

Spiritual gifts are not rewards. Gifts are given without regard to any degree of commitment. They are given by God’s grace, not our faithfulness. They have nothing to do with how spiritual a person is. In 1 Corinthians 1:7, Paul says to the Corinthians, “you do not lack any spiritual gift.” Yet, we know the Corinthians were very unspiritual and immature.

Spiritual gifts are not natural talent. You are given natural talents at your natural birth and spiritual talents (spiritual gifts) at your spiritual birth. Your responsibility as a Christian is to use both in service to glorify God. Talents are available to the all people, Christians and non-Christians. Talents operate on a physical and social level. Talents alone cannot do God’s work. God did not choose talents as the primary channel through which the Holy Spirit is to work.

Do not confuse spiritual gifts with the Christian’s role or responsibly. For example, all Christians have been given the responsibility to tithe and reach out to others with the Gospel. Yet God has given a gift of Giving which allows some to give far beyond their tithe. Plus, the gift of Evangelism allows some to influence far more people with the Gospel than those without the gift. The danger comes when Christians use the lack of these gifts to neglect the responsibility to tithe or evangelize.

Anyone familiar with Scripture knows there are spiritual gifts. I want to reaffirm that God has given everyone in His family at least one spiritual gift and everyone in His family has a responsibility to use their gifts. It is important that common misconceptions be cleared up so that a proper biblical foundation is established so that everybody knows where the spiritual gifts come from. In other words, all of God’s children need to know they are gifted and why they are gifted.

Dr. Larry Gilbert is founder and chairman of Ephesians Four Ministries, and founder of For more on spiritual gifts, see Dr. Gilbert’s books from which this article was excerpted: Team Ministry: Gifted to Serve (for pastors and group leaders) and Your Gifts: Discover God’s Unique Design for You (for individuals and groups).

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