Increasing in Spiritual Gifts

by Pastor Jim Feeney, Ph.D.

Summary:  Spiritual gifts need not remain static in our lives. They can and should be stirred up and increased. Here's how.

2 Timothy 1:6  For this reason I remind you to FAN INTO FLAME the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands.

KJV:  STIR UP the gift of God...

1 Timothy 4:14  Do NOT NEGLECT your gift, which was given you through a prophetic message when the body of elders laid their hands on you.

•• I believe that every sincere Christian will want to increase in his or her God-given spiritual gifts. That is normal, and it is biblical (seek that ye may excel).
“Spiritual Gifts” such as — (1 Corinthians 12:8-10, KJV) “...the word of wisdom ... the word of knowledge ... faith ... gifts of healing ... the working of miracles ... prophecy ... discerning of spirits ... divers kinds of tongues ... the interpretation of tongues ...”

“Spiritual Gifts” such as — (Romans 12:6-8) “...prophesying ... serving ... teaching ... encouraging ... contributing to the needs of others ... leadership ... showing mercy ...”

Ascension-Gift Ministries such as — (Ephesians 4:11) “... apostles ... prophets ... evangelists ... pastors ... teachers...”
•• Today I believe that the Lord wants to encourage us to increase in these spiritual gifts and ministries, and to show us HOW.

(1) Avoid a neutral mindset“Do not neglect your gift.”

(2) Become assertive, in a positive sense be aggressive“Stir up ... fan into flame the gift of God which is in you...”
• Years ago I had an elderly friend who was very well used by God in spiritual gifts. He gave me wise counsel along these lines — “Jim, before every church service, go to the prayer room. And pray to the Lord to USE you in spiritual gifts that will edify the church.” The key, he said, was an active desire to be used by God for the blessing of others.

1 Peter 4:10  Each one should use whatever gift HE has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms.

(3) “Each” includes each of us. Understand that God intends to use you.

(4) “Use
whatever gift he has received” — Seek to increase in those areas where God has obviously called and gifted YOU. Don’t copy someone else.

1 Corinthians 12:31; 14:1  ...EAGERLY DESIRE the greater gifts.... [14:1] Follow the way of love and EAGERLY DESIRE spiritual gifts...

12:31, KJV  ...COVET earnestly the best gifts...

(5) A growing ZEAL to be used in spiritual gifts isn’t presumptuous. No, but rather it pleases God.
“COVET... EAGERLY DESIRE spiritual gifts.”

• Bring this desire often before the Lord.

1 Corinthians 14:12b  Since you are eager to have spiritual gifts, TRY TO EXCEL in gifts that build up the church.

(6) Seek to “EXCEL” in gifts. The purpose is very worthy — to “build up the church.”

Ephesians 5:18  Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, BE FILLED with the Spirit.

Amplified:  “EVER BE filled and stimulated with the Holy Spirit.”

(7) Seek, pursue, cultivate a Spirit-filled walk. This is a command, so we have a part in this. “BE filled”!

John 16:14-15  Jesus said, He [the HOLY SPIRIT] will bring glory to me by taking from what is MINE and making it known to YOU. [15] All that belongs to the FATHER is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will take from what is mine and make it known to you.

(8) Understand “the flow” of spiritual gifts — it’s the Holy Trinity in action.

Galatians 5:16  So I say, LIVE BY THE SPIRIT, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature.

KJV:  WALK IN THE SPIRIT, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.

(9) Make up your mind to “LIVE by the Spirit ... [to] WALK IN the Spirit.” That will enable you to put down “the flesh” and to see things more spiritually.
• John was “in the Spiritto receive the Revelation.

• We, too, need to be often “in the Spirit” — in prayer, in praise, in the Word, in quiet reflection — in order to prepare ourselves to hear the Lord’s voice, to receive spiritual gifts from His Spirit, and to see the great things He wishes to show to us.

Romans 12:6  We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man’s gift is prophesying, let him use it in PROPORTION to his FAITH.

(10) Spiritual gifts are linked to our faith levels. So we ought to be doing all we can to increase our faith.s

1 Corinthians 14:1  Follow the way of LOVE and eagerly desire spiritual GIFTS...

(11) Spiritual gifts operate best out of a heart of LOVE
• Love for the sick person needing healing

• Love for the hurting person needing mercy

• Love for a lost society needing our witness

John 7:37-39  On the last and greatest day of the Feast, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, "If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, STREAMS OF LIVING WATER will flow from within him." By this he meant THE SPIRIT...

(12) Pray for rivers of living water from God's Spirit to flow from you.

In sum, to increase in spiritual gifts...

• Do not become neglectful of your spiritual gift(s).

• Aggressively pursue these gifts, and stir them up. Fan them into flame.

• Understand that God desires to use you.

• Operate in the spiritual gifts God gives you. Don’t try to copy someone else.

• Covet, eagerly desire to be used in the gifts of the Spirit.
 
• Seek to excel in spiritual gifts to build up the church.
 
• Cultivate a daily, Spirit-filled walk.
 
• Notice the “flow” of the gifts. It is the full Trinity in action.
 
• “Walk in ... live by the Spirit.”
 
• Seek to grow in faith.
 
• Spiritual gifts flow from a heart of love.
 
• Pray for the Holy Spirit-given “rivers of living water” that Jesus promised to flow from within you.

A more extensive bible study of the modern-day validity of spiritual gifts is available at our article entitled "The Supernatural Gifts of the Holy Spirit Are For Today".

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©2001, James H. Feeney. Copyright statement.