Activating Spiritual Gifts may be much more easy than you expect. And there are keys that help, keys that help hugely!
This key will make sense by hindsight. The key is service, or actually seeking to use your gifts. And there is another key that successful users of Spiritual Gifts do more than the rest of us – they ask questions.
The error I long made, and maybe you have, too, is to try to discover or use a gift without actually applying it in service or asking questions.
A useful way of thinking about this is to Follow Jesus. Model your ministry after what Jesus does.
Jesus ministers as he sees or hears from Father.
You can do this, too.
But how do we start, and get results? Simple: respond to a need. Bring the Kingdom of God to what is needed. Restoration is what Jesus did again and again. And, he destroys the work of the devil, the adversary.
You can do the same. How?
Look for needs, look for a need in someone’s life. Ask questions, such as:
How do I help or minister to this need?
What do you want me to do about this?
How do I pray for this situation, this person?
Then simply pay attention to what comes to your attention next. Being careful not to let thoughts, associations, ideas, images, or any experience pass by without assuming and accepting that this is an answer to your question.
And, because, as Dan Pendergrass once told me when I was asking about why replies from God are so often surprising, he said simply that God knows more than we do.
What we miss, in activating our gifts, too often or easily, are things like this:
Forgetting to bring God’s agape love to a person with a need.
Neglecting to ask how to minister.
Forgetting to ask how to pray for the person you are loving and for their need.
Not realizing that what comes to your attention next is actually an answer and reply from God. It’s unexpected, seems too easy, seems too ordinary.
How do you get started, if you don’t see where or how to get started? Ask Jesus to point out to you or bring to your attention people who need ministry or service or restoration (of health or well being).
Ask and serve. Ask and minister. In serving or ministering, you are applying and using your Spiritual Gift where needed. A great way to be living.
A friend, who believes she has gifts as a prophetic seer and gifts of healing, asked some important questions. This may answer some of your questions, too. We need to practice using our Spiritual Gifts to we become more skillful; just like we need to practice playing an instrument even if you are gifted at music. Here’s our dialogue, lightly edited for clarity.
Q. Will be for Questioner, A. for Answerer.
Q. Will there be anything happening soon in my life?
A. You are learning to ask Jesus questions, and pay attention to Holy Spirit for answers. As you learn to do this, and to act on what you learn, your life will transformed hugely. This opens whole new worlds of doing and ministry for you. And you will be adding even more love to your ministry. The generous, God kind of love: agape. As in 1 Corinthians 13.
A. And you can ask for more of him in you. I find this makes hearing God much more practical and better. When I do this, I hear God so much more and more easily and better. Even though I don’t feel a thing – I can experience the difference, having asked for more of Holy Spirit. And I can ask for Holy Spirit to be on me more. On me for ministry for others. Holy Spirit can transform the atmosphere of where you are, the room you are in. Ask how, and do as you are shown. It’s a wonderful thing to do – for yourself as well as others.
Q. I will
A. People will gradually learn that the atmosphere is better where you are. Some people will learn more quickly, others more slowly. Yet many will learn. And this opens doors. For more ministry.
A. People who come to my house report that the atmosphere is full of peace. That’s the Presence and Spirit of God doing that.
A. You will do this, also. You will transform the atmosphere of where you live and work. The Presence of God and Holy Spirit will transform the atmosphere of places you go. People will notice and be helped. Some even heal without your doing anything, as Holy Spirit ministers in the place where you are. You get to be an active participant in all this!
Q. Glory to God!! Interesting
A. You invite more of Holy Spirit. You are transformed, and Holy Spirit will do what Holy Spirit does in that place and with the people there. Invite more of Holy Spirit. And receive with faith. So simple; easy to forget to do. Yet Holy Spirit is literally our Helper. Your Helper.
Q. Got it
A. The same Helper that raised Jesus from the dead lives in you and will help you. Invite and call on and receive more of Holy Spirit.
A. I find this stunning, I am amazed, and when I remember these things I want to call out to God in praise or even song. (Considering how much I love worship in silence, that’s amazing.)
A. And when you find a partner who will pray for you as you do these things or minister, ministry results will improve even more. And later, you can pray for them as they minister. And talk to each other about how it went. What you are learning. Encourage one another. Jesus always sent out his disciples in pairs. When I have no partner, I look for someone who will pray for me when asked. Then I have prayer support while ministering. They and I can talk about it afterwards, what happened, what we’re learning. It can be exhilarating and joyous. This is what I want for you; these very things.
Q. Oh how I want this for myself
A. Good! This is what our Lord wants for you.
Q. God will send me some really special A. Yes. You can copy and paste from these notes into your prayer journal, or start one. Or other notes in a file or notebook. Then start practicing these things and learn as you go. Learn as you ask your Helper to help you learn these things and to help you do these things. And give you even better ideas, from Jesus. Who knows so much more than you or I. Here’s an interesting principle, not well recognized: how much you seek God with your heart – is how much God will make himself known and present to you. And even more. He will always do the same or more, as you. (I think more; yet the more you do, the more he multiplies the grace he gives you.) If he made himself totally known to us, our brains would fry. So he is gentle and careful. And gives of himself in proportion to how much and how strongly you seek with your heart.
Q. Amazing and wonderful! . A. Yes. So just practice.Look for people who need healing, ask how to heal them, and do as Jesus tells you through Holy Spirit. You will be ministering like Jesus, who only did what he heard and saw.
Where is your sphere of influence, your “metron”? It’s probably larger than you have noticed or expect. Good idea is to do a review of this and ask some good friends you trust.
Who is called to receive through you? Who makes you seem smarter? Who receives well through you – probably one or more people-groups, different kinds of people.
Who are you called to serve? Gifted to serve? Who receives really well through you? Who is smarter when you are with them?
What do people tell you that you are gifted at? (Many of us have a habit of not taking such things told to us seriously. So you can do a careful review of this, too.)
What sorts of people do you love being around? You may have similar gifts and callings or you may have ones that compliment and complete or help balance the gifts of those you serve.
What do you have energy to do? And who do you have energy to do such things with, or for?
I encourage you to experiment and explore. Make mistakes, great ones that you can learn a lot from.
Let your audience teach you what they need that you offer. And what they want. (Wants and needs do not always overlap.)
I encourage you to review and learn from your mistakes. Especially your big ones. Painful ones. Mistakes you don’t even want to think about. Learn enough through these, and your life will change in wonderful ways.
I’d love to hear from you. And to learn what else you want or need. What I’m missing here and not saying that could be helpful. Any thoughts, ideas or musings that you will share.