I moved to a new office today at work. As I was sifting through all my papers I found a print out of a Spiritual Gifts Test which I have mentioned here before. Since the topic of discernment has been discussed recently I started to read through the descriptions of the gifts to see if I could gain any wisdom.
I thought the descriptions were quite interesting as they paralleled some things I have said recently and I had to laugh when I read the description of my main gift as it fits me to a tee. I’d like to highlight two gifts in particular here: The Perceiver and The Encourager. I hope by looking at the differences between these two you can see how they could fall on opposite extremes on some issues. Yet God gave each of us our own gifts to be used in conjunction with other members of the body. (I list my own results at the end)
Descriptions Taken from www.gifttest.org:
The first motivational gift in Romans 12 is the gift of perceiving. The Greek word for this gift is "propheteia". In scripture, we can see specific traits and behaviors of the gift of perceiving. They are: 1) the ability to interpret scripture, 2) to reveal information to others, and 3) an ability to speak the mind of God.
Perceivers have a keen sense of right and wrong. This is a form of discernment that we have seen in Christians and non-Christians alike. It is because of this sense of right and wrong that perceivers hold very high standards. They tend to be perfectionists because of their high standards and often become their own worst critics. In some cases, perceivers do not realize their gift and they can become very critical of other people or situations, which emerges as a pessimistic attitude.
The primary function of this gift is to reveal information the perceiver has discerned in a way that will help others. This information is not always positive and well received. As a result, perceivers sometimes appear direct, blunt, or inconsiderate of the feelings of others particularly when sharing this information with people possessing different motivational gifts. This is a classic case of the gift being misunderstood because their real intention is to help people.
In contrast, at times the primary function of the gift is not to reveal the information the perceiver has discerned – in these cases, God has allowed the perceiver to discern such things so they can pray about them. Often when people do not understand the purpose of this gift, they can feel (and become) judgmental instead of prayerful. Make no mistake about it, this information is purposefully shown to the perceiver for a reason!
The Greek root word for encouraging is "paraklesis". The scriptures show that the gift of encouragement will 1) edify and exhort 2) give peace to a troubled mind through speaking a message of encouragement and 3) bring joy and comfort.
Encouragers have the ability to call forth the best in others through encouragement and motivation. Thus naturally, people with the gift of encouragement feel comfortable around people and tend to have extraverted personalities. Anecdotal research shows that encouragers not only encourage others but also like to prescribe practical advice. Encouragers want to see people improve and succeed. They have an ability to bring new life to people who have lost their determination and feel burnt out.
Encouragers are good with every personality and gift. However, because encouragers are considerate of the feelings of others, they can easily be offended when people are not considerate toward them. Encouragers love to "fix" things and make the world a happier place!
Hmmm. “Perceivers sometimes appear direct, blunt, or inconsiderate of the feelings of others” while “Encouragers…can easily be offended when people are not considerate toward them”. So should the Perceiver not be so blunt or should the encourager not be so sensitive? I guess it depends on who you ask.
If you haven’t taken this test yourself, give it a try and find out which areas you are most gifted (you get a percentage for each of the 7 gifts). I found the descriptions very helpful in understanding the strengths and weaknesses of my own gifts and the gifts of others. Charles Stanley of In Touch Ministries did a great series on the pros and cons of each spiritual gift recently but unfortunately the outlines don’t appear to be posted on their website (but I’m hoping they will show up).
My top gift was teaching and sounds just like me (some excerpts from www.gifttest.org):
“People with the gift of teaching are consummate debaters.”
“Teachers need to know the reasoning behind concepts or ideas. They do not take anything at face value. Teachers can appear argumentative while they are simply trying to gain further understanding.”
I do learn by debating as I need to understand the logic behind things before it sinks in for me. Some days I’m denser than others. I have also been misinterpreted as being argumentative so I have become a wee bit better at how I approach my “debates” (maybe I should change that "wee" to "teeny-tiny"...)
If you take the test stop back over and let me know your results!
"The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our Lord stands forever. Isaiah 40:8
Christian Women Blogging
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