Continuing to define Spiritual gifts we now look at four more.
Discerning of spirits
Ability to ‘see’ and identify/perceive the motivating spirit behind words, actions, events or thinking, and to judge whether such spirit is divine, human or demonic
This is one of the nine gifts Paul writes about to the Corinthians (1 Cor 12:10). It is exemplified in various New Testament passages such as Acts 13:8-10 where Paul confronted the magician, Elymas, who was seeking to turn away the proconsul from following the faith and in Acts 16:16-18 where Paul cast the spirit of divination out of a slave girl who was ‘greatly annoying’ him.
This gift can serve to protect an individual or a church from deception and/or counterfeits of Satan. It is also used in conjunction with the exercise of deliverance/exorcism. However, the gift is not only for ‘special’ situations; all believers are urged to distinguish between the Spirit of truth and the spirit of falsehood (1 John 4:1-3, 6).
The ability to share the gospel effectually, often accompanied by signs and wonders.
One of Jesus’ final acts on earth was to commission the church, through the early disciples, to take the gospel into the world and make disciples (Matt 28:19), the often called Great Commission. We are all called to be witnesses to Jesus Christ and to be ready to give reason for the hope that is in us (1 Pet 3:15).
However, there are some who have a burning passion, given by the Holy Spirit, to take every opportunity to witness. Most important, they also have a train of people who have come to faith through their witness. For a gift to be authenticated there must be conspicuous fruit.
The ability to stimulate the faith of others and to encourage, comfort, strengthen, counsel and admonish them in such a way that they are helped to live a life worthy of God.
It is good for all believers to be alert to opportunities to bring encouragement and to exhort people to deepen their walk with God and to become more mature, thus building up the body of Christ.
In Rom 12:8, exhortation (or encouragement, depending on the translation) appears in the list of spiritual gifts, which Paul exhorts the reader to make full use of. The root word carries the feeling of a person standing alongside another to support, help and motivate him to do his best. Sometimes this may involve a word of correction.
Total assurance that God can and will do certain improbable or impossible things despite apparent evidence to the contrary, and to speak and/or act accordingly.
Faith is another spiritual gift mentioned in the 1 Corinthians 12 list (1 Cor 12:9). It is, of course, a frequently used word in the Christian context for many different situations e.g. a) Saving Faith. We are all saved by faith: ‘For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith’ (Eph. 2:8). b) Faith to live by (trust). If we are to please God, we are all to continue having faith: ‘And without faith it is impossible to please him …’ (Heb 11:6). c) Faith meaning a creed or doctrine. (Eph 4:13; 1 Tim 6:20,21; Jude 1:20).
The spiritual gift of faith is typically applied in a particular situation or context such as Moses opening the Red Sea (Exod. 14:21, 22), Jesus cursing the fig tree and then teaching on faith to move mountains (Mark 11:14, 20-24) or Paul exercising faith at the time of shipwreck (Acts 27:21-26).