Should I take a spiritual gifts test/inventory/assessment? Do spiritual gifts tests have any value?
It is a good thing for a Christian to desire knowledge concerning his or her spiritual gift(s). In this pursuit, some have developed various spiritual gifts tests to help people in this process. Are these tests accurate or helpful?
First, it is clear the early Christians did not need a test to determine how to best serve God. The first Christians all participated in ways to meet the needs of the church and reach unbelievers (Acts 2:42-47). It was not until later that the apostles Paul and Peter would mention spiritual gifts in their letters as abilities given to believers to serve the Lord and others.
Second, spiritual gifts tests are developed based on a person or group's interpretations of the biblical teachings regarding spiritual gifts. For example, how a writer defines a spiritual gift will determine which traits are used in questions on a test. These may or may not be accurate in comparison with the Bible's intended meaning.
Third, the best a spiritual gifts test can do is provide direction, not specific answers. If a person gets top scores in teaching, this could help a person see he or she really cares about the Bible and sharing it with others. However, this is a trait every believer is to have. Even so, when compared to other spiritual gifts, certain gifts may stand out over others to show strengths and weaknesses that can help in better serving the Lord. This can be a positive experience, even if the test is limited in its helpfulness.
A spiritual gifts test may have some value. However, a more helpful approach may be to live as the early believers who prayed, learned from the apostles' teachings, spent time together, and sought to meet needs. As they did, God revealed certain gifts and callings to each person. For example, Barnabas sold a field he had to give the money to the church (Acts 4:36-37). He would become known as a son of encouragement and later helped bring Paul into the church as a leader. God revealed his giftedness through his life lived for Christ.
As some have said, if we want to know how God has gifted us, we should spend more time with the One who gives the gifts. Spiritual maturity will help us know ways we can serve the Lord far better than any assessment. As we serve the Lord in the community of other believers, God will make clear His unique calling for our lives.
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