The spiritual giftsIntroduction Spiritual gifts are given by God for chosen people to do specific functions in the church, the body of Christ. These specific gifts are best used for the advancement of the church and for the fulfillment of its purposes.  As enumerated in 1 Corinthians, the spiritual gifts are follows: wisdom, knowledge, faith, healing, mighty deeds, prophecy, discernment of spirits, varieties of tongues and the interpretation of tongues.
St. Paul has sadly noted that the early Christians were generally in ignorance of the spiritual gifts which ought to have been maximized for the good of the church. To be able to put them to good use, the members of the church – especially those who have been blessed with such gifts – would have to know what the gifts are, what they can do with such gifts and what God would want them to accomplish through the exercise of their gifts. Historical and Literary Context of the Passage The spiritual gifts emanated from the Holy Spirit, which Jesus sent to the very first Christians days after he ascended to Heaven. The gifts, among others, were supposed to strengthen them in their struggles against the forces that condemned them and persecuted them, and to help them carry out their mission to spread the Word and to establish the Church on earth. It was an enormous undertaking for the chosen followers of Christ. They never tackled anything quite like it before in their lives, but they found themselves equipped with the needed abilities, talents and charisma to persevere in their tasks as appointed disciples of Christ. There is no doubting the importance of the spiritual gifts.
Even St. Paul mentioned and listed down the gifts as having been bestowed to the followers of Christ four or five times in his letters. Even without the specific mention of these exact nine gifts of the spirit, passages of the Bible have been written to show sufficient proof of how spiritual things – those that benefit one’s spirit – have to be valued over and on top of other less important things. A good example of how this lesson was presented in the Bible is the story of Mary and Martha, sisters of Lazarus whom Christ raised up from the dead. While Martha busied herself with tasks in the kitchen, attending to all sorts of superficial ways to welcome Christ into their home as a guest, Mary simply preferred to make the most of the privilege to have Christ with them by spending time listening to all that He had to say.
This story ran true during their time, and it rings true even now. The more important things that profoundly supply our souls with much-needed strength and peace ought to not be taken for granted or set aside for trivial affairs of the world. These gifts ought to be gratefully received, and then optimized. But then, the way to not let such gifts go to waste is to be well aware of them – of what they are and what can be achieved through them – and then to devote oneself to using them for the greater glory of God.
These gifts, when used well and shared, enable one to serve his purpose as a member the Church. These spiritual gifts are beautiful qualities and abilities that enable the soul to be aware of Christ’s presence and to be able to discern the meaning behind events and affairs as they occur. These gifts open one’s eyes to the realization that there is beauty to behold in living life in God’s grace and in fulfillment of God’s plans for one’s life. These spiritual gifts, then, bring one to live a life of virtue and grace.  Wisdom leads us to have “a right sense of proportion” so that we know what to give importance to and what to stay away from. Through wisdom, we give value to things that bring us closer to God and that make us holy, and we shun the things that would only lead us to living sinful lives.
Through wisdom, we realize that the things of this world ought to be used for what goes beyond life in this world – the life in union with Christ in His heavenly kingdom.  The gift of knowledge gives us the ability to understand the truth and to see it despite all the obstructions presented by circumstances. It keeps one fully aware of what goes on and what is best to be done in any given situation. The gift of knowledge also serves as the source of our spiritual “know-how.” It makes us mindful of what will help us or harm us spiritually.  Thank God for the gift of faith, which keeps us hanging on even when there seems to be no reason to hope and to believe that all things turn out well in God’s appointed time. Faith keeps us strong when our senses perceive no sign of better times; faith keeps us fighting for Christ’s church when the easiest thing to do is to simply succumb to all forms of idolatry and sinfulness.
 The gifts of healing and mighty deeds enable one to perform miracles in the name of Christ, the source of such gifts. It makes one a bearer of God’s love and healing touch. Lucky are the persons with this gift, they bring hope to those who have none and they re-establish faith where it has been brushed aside due to dire circumstances that were mistakenly blamed on God.
 The gifts of prophecy and discernment of spirits guides one to see what others cannot see. When used in God’s name and for purposes that help the Church and its cause, these gifts are useful aids in bringing about the conversion of people who have turned their backs on God. Meanwhile, the varieties of tongues and the interpretation of tongues are gifts that come as handy tools in the course of evangelization in one’s country and in foreign lands. These gifts make one marvel at how anything is possible and at how any talent and ability can be acquired by Christ’s instruments as they work on making unbelievers become devout members of the Church. Understanding the Meaning of the Passage Ignorance is said to be due to either “a lack of spiritual understanding or rejection of knowledge.
” Submission to the Lord and His infinite wisdom makes one the wisest of all. Bowing down to God and relying on His love and mercy ultimately give one more strength and power. There is but fleeting confidence that one may achieve through worldly accomplishments or from the power that goes with positions of authority in the society of man. “If you continue to lean on your own understanding, your understanding will remain limited.”  How foolish man can be when he fails to value above all the spiritual gifts that can only come from God. Everyone has a unique role to play in Christ’s Church. As said in the passages, there are different gifts given by God to different people and He uses them all in perfect orchestration. To one person, He gives one gift and to another, a different one.
Then these persons are led into settings and circumstances where their gifts are most needed. They then shine, and they give glory to the Lord by shining on others through the exercise of their spiritual gifts.Conclusion Learning about the spiritual gifts is a beautiful experience. It makes us see that we have roles to play in the different scenarios that our lives have put together. Through the diverse situations – locations, people, societies, responsibilities and circumstances – that all of us have been brought to, there are gifts to be used and there is a mission to accomplish. Knowing about these spiritual gifts lead us to realize that we should pause and discern what gifts we have and how we can thank God for them. As always, the best way to thank God is to fulfill our purpose in His Church as His faithful disciples. At these times of utmost troubles when the world easily succumbs to sin and all sorts of temptations, the spiritual gifts are the most valuable weapons against the minions of evil and against the pull of worldly, sinful pleasures.
The spiritual gifts would keep us vigilant and committed to work for Christ’s Church and would enable us to keep going even when there seems to be no one on our side. The mission to build Christ’s Church is strewn with trials and tribulations – it was never easy for the earliest martyrs of the Church and it is not easy even now in our times. But the spiritual gifts will keep us afire with love and devotion to Christ.BIBLIOGRAPHYTrese, Leo. The Faith Explained. Manila: Sinag-Tala Publishers, Inc., 2001.Baxter, J.
& Baxter, Robert. Gifts of the Spirit. Kregel Publications, 2003.
Smalley, Stephen. “Spiritual Gifts and I Corinthians.” Journal of Biblical Literature, 87, no. 4 (December 1968): 427-433.Remi Adeyemi. Gifts of the Holy Spirit: Receiving the Content of God’s Heart. (Airleaf, 2006), 45.1.
J. Baxter and R. Baxter. Gifts of the Spirit. (Kregel Publications, 2003), 27-29.. Remi Adeyemi, Gifts of the Holy Spirit: Receiving the Content of God’s Heart (Airleaf, 2006), 1.
. Stephen Smalley, Spiritual Gifts and I Corinthians 12-16 (Journal of Biblical Literature, 1968), 427.4. Leo Trese, The Faith Explained (Sinag-Tala Publishers, Inc., 2001), 136.5.
Ibid, 1376. Ibid, 1377. Ibid, 1388. Ibid, 1379. Ibid, 137.
Remi Adeyemi, Gifts of the Holy Spirit: Receiving the Content of God’s Heart (Airleaf, 2006), 4.