Worship is to be the focus of our lives, and as we live out daily lives of worship, one way in which we worship God is by serving others. Particularly, within the body of Christ, we are to serve others by exercising our spiritual gifts.
The New Testament contains several passages that teach about spiritual gifts and how they should be used with the church. Romans 12 and I Corinthians 12 are two of the key passages.
Spiritual gifts are given for the benefit of the church. As we use our God-given spiritual gifts, we are building up the body of believers to which we belong. No matter which gifts we have, we can exercise them for the sake of others.
So, using our spiritual gifts can actually be a means of showing love to others. As we serve in the ways in which God has gifted us, we are aiding our fellow believers who may have different gifts than we do. Paul says that the gifts are given to believers “for the common good” (I Corinthians 12:7). All of the spiritual gifts are needed within the church, but since every believer does not have the same gifting, the body of Christ must work together for mutual benefit.
Ephesians 4:15-16 tells us that “we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.” So, the body is built up in love as each member functions in the way in which they were intended.
How does this play out practically? Multiple gifts may be exercised by fellow believers within the body of Christ at one time. Consider an ordinary Sunday morning within a local body of believers. Perhaps one person is showing the gift of mercy by comforting someone who has suffered loss, while another person is exercising the gift of exhortation by challenging a believer who has not been involved with Bible study for quite some time. Simultaneously, another believer might be demonstrating the gift of service by caring for children in the nursery, while another Christ-follower is leading a Bible study which shows the gift of teaching.
All of these believers are ministering to the body of Christ in significant ways, even though they are utilizing different gifts. Without any one of these gifts being exercised, the body would suffer. A need would not be met, and the ministry would be hindered.
So, we must ask how we can love others well by exercising our own spiritual gifts, and we should also encourage our fellow believers to do the same. There are multiple tools which we can access that will help us determine our spiritual gifts, and we should take advantage of them. There are books on the subject of gift discovery, as well as online tests which can be of help.
Loving others well within the body of Christ means using our spiritual gifts in a way that honors God and builds up the body. In order to use our gifts, we must first discover them, and then find ways in which to exercise them. So, pray for wisdom to know and use your spiritual gifts in loving others.