Cultivating New Spiritual Gifts

I think many have the approach that they either have a spiritual gift or they do not and there is nothing they can do about it... however, that is not how it typically works.

There are certain spiritual gifts that come from the Lord that are hardwired into how we are made. However, there are many that are not but can be cultivated. When I talk to people about healing, it is amazing how many believe that they can not operate in it because they have not seen God heal through them before. However, we all start somewhere. Every gift - administration, teaching, helps, etc. does not come perfectly refined to the person the first few times they try. Very few people with the spiritual gift of teaching sound like they were born to teach the first time they were handed a microphone. If there is a process of growth and refinement in these gifts, why should we not expect there to be a process of learning how to cultivate other gifts like healing on our lives?

So how does one do this? Well, clearly someone who wants the gift of teaching is going to need to step out and actually practice teaching. They are going to need to learn how to fail, try again, learn from their mistakes, learn how to do things better, and so on and so forth. They probably will not be flowing perfectly in their teaching gift for some time. The same is clearly true with praying for sick people. How will someone cultivate a gift for healing if they do not or only rarely pray for sick people? No one would think that a teaching gift would come without practice, learning, failing, and perseverance.

Another clear way gifts come is through relationship with another who has the gift. God did not really ever intend His body to live in a vacuum. This is the beauty of Alcoholics Anonymous - those that are struggling find another who has gained a measure of victory and seek to learn from them. There is a grave danger to the body of Christ when people put others that operate in spiritual gifts that they don't have on a pedestal - it will cause them to think the gift on that person can not come on themselves because they are too far above them. It is also a danger if we treat them with suspicion and have to receive all our breakthroughs only through God alone... God just often does not work that way - He does things through His body.

We would think the alcoholic who refused to get help from others by going to an A.A. meeting because, if God wants him sober, he can do that to him through answered prayer from his couch, would be ridiculous. In the same way, I need to value relationships and seek to learn from those that have the spiritual gift(s) that I want. To feel that I have all of the spiritual gifts possible for me, but to live without ongoing relationship with people with certain gifts, will cause me to miss out on what could have been available for me. My relationship with God is NOT one dimensional. It is lived both with relationship with God and others. The gifts that I want do not come simply by being alone with God (although they do sometimes come that way). Often, they come from the context of relationship with other people.

Someone learns how to teach through getting input and teaching from a teacher. Someone learns hospitality through seeing how others do hospitality. In the same way, we learn healing through being in relationship with those that see healing occur often and see how they use those gifts.

I have reason to suspect the idea that I do not have any certain spiritual gift simply because it did not come to me without some measure of practice and/or relationship with someone else who has it. If I am unwilling to persevere in practice and not seek to learn from others who are operating at a higher level in the gift or to treat others with immediate suspicion because they have a gift that my circle of influence does not have, could cause me to continue to not have that gift.

If a bunch of alcoholics who wanted to change treated every person who was able to get sober with suspicion or skepticism, their odds of ever getting clean would go down drastically. They have shut down their method of getting clean - through relationship with the gift on another's life. Who are you in relationship to help you grow or acquire more of the gifts God wants to give you? How can you practice these gifts to edify the body around you?


Child-like trust can open options that appear non-existent. Many times, we think there are two choices of action for a circumstance. But child-like trust of the Lord can create whole new options! His best might be different than simply praying for his hand on what looks to be a possible solution! Jehoshaphat had two apparent options in 2 Chron 20 - surrender or fight. Through trust, God brought a whole different option that worked far better than either. God doesn't tend to stay inside the boxes we try to create for Him. Sometimes the answers that are being sought aren't there because the pray-er has limited how God is allowed to answer. Or sometimes even because the focus shifted from trust in the Lord to trust in a means (that He might have even showed) for the provision!

Sometimes we are better off believing something to be impossible (outside of His hand at work) and simply believing God for it and stewarding what He has given us/doing what He shows to do than trying to make things happen in our own strength... Sometimes we can be taking responsibility to try to do what He instead wants us to believe Him for.