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   A Foundational Understanding

Part 1



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1 Cor 12:1-6  Now concerning spiritual gifts (matters), brethren, I would not have you ignorant (uninformed)…. Now there are diversities (varieties) of gifts (motivations)… there are differences of administrations (service or ministries)… And there are diversities of operations (workings or manifestations)…”






The basic inward drive God places in each Christian to express His Love



I Cor. 12:4





The opportunities of Christian service which are open to us for the exercise of our basic motivation.


I Cor. 12:5





The actual result in the lives of those to whom we minister as determined by the Holy Spirit.


I Cor. 12:6




There has been much confusion in the Body of Christ concerning the general subject of “Spiritual Gifts”.  The correct “formula”, looking at the diagram above, is (1 + 2 = 3).  When we exercise our motivation (Romans 12) through our ministry (1 Cor. 12:27-31, Eph. 4:11) the Holy Spirit determines what manifestations (1 Cor. 12:7-11) will benefit the receiver the most. (1 Cor. 12:7). A person concentrating and depending on their spiritual charisma, using it through the service or ministry opportunity open to them will see the manifestation that the Holy Spirit directs in the lives of those to whom they are serving.  The motivational or charisma gift, as someone said, is “The Unction to Function”.  Now let’s take a closer look at section 1; Motivations

1.     Motivations

Rom 11:29  For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance.”  The word “gifts” is the Greek word “charisma” which means Divine gratuity or endowment and is the primary motivation in the life of a Christian.  It is through this gifting we are to do all service for the Lord.  And when God gives something, He does not take it back; the Charisma He equipped you with is given to you by God and is yours to develop and use in His service.

Rom 12:1-3  I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.  And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.  For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.”

There are seven basic motivations:

1.      Declaring Truth (prophet)

2.      Serving (ministry - server)

3.      Teaching (teacher)

4.      Exhorting (exhortation)

5.      Giving (giver)

6.      Administrator (ruling)

7.      Empathizing (shower of mercy)

Rom 12:4  For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office:  So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.  Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith; Or ministry, let us wait on our ministering: or he that teacheth, on teaching; Or he that exhorteth, on exhortation: he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that showeth mercy, with cheerfulness.

Declaring Truth (prophet)

“Make love your aim and earnestly desire spiritual gifts, especially that you may prophesy (proclaim Truth).  (1 Cor. 14:1)  Rom 12:9  Let love be without dissimulation (Hypocrisy). Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good.”

Serving (ministry - server)

“Through love serve one another.” (Gal 5:13)  “Whatever you do, do heartily, as for the Lord…It is the Lord Christ whom ye serve.” (Col 3: 23-24)  Rom 12:10  Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another;”

Teaching (teacher)

“Teach and help one another along the right road with your psalms and hymns and spiritual songs…” (Col. 3:16)  “…Teach them to observe all things that I have commanded you.” (Matt. 28:20)  Rom. 12:11  Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord;”

Exhorting (exhortation)

“…Exhort one another daily, while it is called today.” (Heb. 3:13)  “…Exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.”  Rom. 12:12  Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer;”

Giving (giver)

“Freely ye have received, freely give” (Matt. 10:8) “Give and it shall be given unto you…” (Luke 6:38)  Rom. 12:13  Distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality.”

Administrator (ruling)

“A father must manage his own house well…” (1 Tim. 3:4)  “A wise servant shall have rule over a son that causeth shame, and shall have part of the inheritance among the brethren.” (Prov. 17:2)  “…He that ruleth his spirit is mightier than he that taketh a city.” (Prov. 16:32)  Rom 12:14  Bless them which persecute you: bless, and curse not.”

Empathizing (shower of mercy)

After illustrating mercy in the account of the good Samaritan, Jesus said, “Go and do likewise.” (Luke 10:37)  “Bear ye one another’s burdens and so fulfill the law of Christ.”  (2 Cor. 13:8)  “…Put on a heart of compassion.” (Col. 3:12)  Rom 12:15  Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep.”

Each gift will perform all seven activities, but through our basic motivation.  If our gift is teaching, we will show mercy to one who is sick in order to clarify truth.  If our gift is giving, then we may use the activity of administration to help others organize their affairs.  If our gift is exhortation, then we may use the activity of preaching to talk to and encourage a group as we would one person.

There is a minimum of weariness and maximum effectiveness in all seven activities when we approach them through our motivation.  The reverse is true when we try to imitate someone else’s motivation.

The following Scripture indicates that we have only one basic motivational gift:

  • The noun for gift in 1 Peter 4:10 is singular in number.  …As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another.”
  • Gifts are compared to members of a body.  Rom 12:4  For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office:”
  • Each man / woman is to concentrate fully on the gift God has given him /her.  This would not be possible if they had more than one motivational gift.  (See Rom. 12:3-8)

Knowing each other’s motivation coordinates and unifies Christians within the Body of Christ:  If an Apostle has the gift of serving, he will emphasize practical needs.  If a Pastor has the gift of mercy he will emphasize the feelings of people through his messages and prayers.  If a Prophet has the motivation of administration, he will emphasize getting projects completed and the proper procedure to accomplish the projects.  If an Evangelist has the gift of giving, he will encourage all those to whom he speaks to be sensitive to the needs of others thus eliminating poverty in the church.  If the Teacher has the gift of teaching, he will encourage the body to look up the meaning of words, get revelation from the Lord and to be accurate in their sharing of the Gospel of the Kingdom.

The goal of our basic motivation is freeing other Christians to carry it on as an activity.  We will be especially sensitive to any Christian who is not exercising our motivation as a part of his Christian life, whatever his basic motivation may be.

  • We must exercise our gift in love to avoid competition and disunity.  (1 Cor. 12:13-14)
  • We must be aware of Scriptural guidelines in the exercise of our gift.  (1 Cor. 14:40)
Discerning Spiritual Gifts:

Every Christian has a spiritual gift:  When we were born physically we possessed certain natural abilities.  When we were born again spiritually, born into the Family of God, we find that we received certain spiritual abilities as a member of the Body of Christ.  “So we being many are one body in Christ and everyone members one of another.  Having then gifts differing according to the grace that was given us…” Romans 12:5 & 6

Joy comes in exercising our gift:  The root word for gift is “charisma”.  This comes from the word “char” which means joy.  “Charis” is the word for grace, which involves God giving us the desire, and power to accomplish His will.  (Phil. 2:13)

Finding personal fulfillment and making your call and election sure is only possible by developing our spiritual gift:  Each of us has a desire for meaningful achievement.  The ultimate of this is having a significant part in a divine program.  This divine program is being carried through the Body of Christ by the proper functioning of each person’s gift.

Each gift is designed to unify and bring to maturity the Body of Christ:  Just as there are varying functions in the members of our body, so each Christian has a particular and necessary (vital) function in the Body of Christ.

God wants each of us to understand our gift:  If we are to concentrate on our gift as instructed in Romans 12, we must first understand what that gift is.  Also, if we are to have harmony with others within the Body of Christ, we must understand what their particular functions are.  When we know and understand the spiritual gifting of others and recognize their indispensable place in the Body of Christ, we move toward true unity, harmony and growth to maturity. 

Defining Basic Motivations



Amplification and Guides

Danger or Abuse


Prophet: Proclaiming Truth


The motivation to identify and reveal righteous or unrighteous motives or actions by presenting God’s Truth



To be persuasive in speech.  To bring to light things previously concealed.  To reveal the secrets of men’s hearts; causing them to fall down and worship God. (1 Cor. 14:25)


One who proclaims must: Have love without hypocrisy; Despise that which is evil; grasp that which is good.



  • Being proud of his persuasive speech.
  • Becoming more dependent on his ability to speak than the power of the Holy Spirit to convict and reveal truth.
  • May judge too quickly or too harshly.
  • Sharp-tongued.
  • Little patience for those who don’t grasp the truth or concept he is trying to convey.




The motivation to demonstrate love by meeting practical needs.





Able to detect personal needs.

To overlook personal discomfort in order to meet these needs.


A server must: have genuine affection for others; demonstrate brotherly responsibility; be willing to let others have the credit; a spirit of sacrifice.



  • Being proud of good deeds.
  • Being brash or premature in meeting the needs of others before they realize their needs.
  • Over-emphasizing practical needs to the neglect of basic spiritual needs.
  • Being proud of his sensitivity to others.
Teaching: Clarifying Truth


The motivation to search out and validate truth that has been presented. 






To engage in research and detailed study in order to validate truth.  A digging out of facts and accumulation of knowledge.


A teacher must: Be diligent in the details of his work; fervent in spirit; do his work as unto the Lord.


  • Pride in knowledge.
  • Boasting of the knowledge that he has accumulated.
  • Concentrating on details of information rather than communicating basic life principles.
  • Being more concerned about the research than the response of his students.
  • Believing he can discern spiritual truth by reason rather than revelation.


Exhortation: An encourager


The motivation to stimulate the faith of others.





To call to the side to urge one to pursue a course of conduct or action.  Personal counseling to encourage spiritual growth.


An exhorter must: Rejoice in hope; be patient with slow progress; be persistent in prayer



  • Boasting of personal results.
  • Becoming discouraged with lack of progress.
  • Motivating others for selfish gain.
  • Spending too much time with those who want only temporary relief.




The motivation to discern the financial needs of the members of the Body.




Sensitive to the needs of others.  Looks for the opportunity to encourage others by giving to their needs.  Joy when his gift meets a specific need of a person.

A giver must:  Rule his own house well; be submitted to and guided by the Holy Spirit in his giving.


  • Using money to control others
  • Pride in ability to accumulate finances.
  • Others may look to him, instead of the Lord, to meet needs.
  • Using finances to gain recognition in the church.


Ruler: An administrator


The motivation to organize the efforts of others in order to achieve a common goal.




Ability to turn chaos into order; Can identify the gifting of others and guide them to be effective; Is most joyful when the organizational challenge is the greatest.


A ruler must:  Be fervent in  spirit; Keep moving to new challenges; Always be focused on a goal or vision.


  • Pride in knowing that his gift is foundational.
  • Delegating to avoid his share of work.
  • Because of being focused some may think he is too narrow-minded.


Shower of Mercy


The motivation to discern the heart position of other members of the Body of Christ.




Ability to be sensitive to the emotional position of others.  Willing to put another’s needs first.


A Shower of Mercy must:

Be active in intercession, praying for others.  Be dedicated to Loving the brethren and to helping them whenever possible.  Be sincere.


  • Pride in sensitivity.
  • Rushing to the aid of someone when the Lord has not said to.
  • Avoidance of firmness even when the Lord directs.
  • Their sensitivity to God’s timing may be considered to be procrastination.
  • Being judgmental instead of exhibiting compassion


Characteristics of the gift of Prophecy (the charisma gift of a prophet)

1.      A need to express his message verbally.

2.      The ability to discern the character and motives of people. (2 Peter 2:1-3)

3.      The capacity to identify, define and hate evil.  (Rom. 12:9; 1 Timothy 3:7)

4.      The willingness to experience brokenness to prompt brokenness.  (John 20:21)

5.      The dependence on Scriptural truth to validate his authority.  (1 Peter 4:11)

6.      A desire for outward evidences to demonstrate inward conviction.  (1 Cor. 14:25)

7.      A directness, frankness and persuasiveness in speaking.  (1 Cor. 14:25)

8.      A concern for the reputation and program of God.  (2 Sam. 12:14)

9.      An inward weeping and personal identification with the sins of those he talks with.

10.  An eagerness to have others point out their “blind spots.” 

Misunderstandings of the charisma of prophecy:

1.      Frankness may be viewed as harshness.

2.      Interest in groups may be interpreted as disinterest in individuals.

3.      Efforts to gain results may be seen as using gimmicks.

4.      Focus on right and wrong may be judged as intolerance of partial good.

5.      Emphasis on decisions may appear as neglecting spiritual growth.

6.      Public boldness and strict standards may hinder intimate personal relationships.

7.      The strong desire to convey truth may be interpreted as little interest in listening to

 another person’s point of view.

Characteristics of the Gift of Serving

1.      The ability to recall specific likes and dislikes of people.

2.      The alertness to detect and meet practical needs.   Enjoys manual projects.

3.      The motivation to meet needs as quickly as possible.

4.      Physical stamina to fulfill needs with disregard for weariness.

5.      The willingness to use personal funds to avoid delays.

6.      The desire to sense sincere appreciation and the ability to detect insincerity.

7.      The desire to complete a job with evidence of unexpected extra service.

8.      An involvement in a variety of activities with an inability to say “no”

9.      A greater enjoyment of short-range goals without frustration over long-range ones.

10.  A frustration when limitations of time are attached to jobs.

Misunderstandings of the charisma of the server:

1.      Quickness in meeting needs may appear to be pushy.

2.      Avoidance of red tape may result in excluding others from jobs.

3.      Their disregard for personal needs may extend to their own family’s needs.

4.      Eagerness in serving may prompt suspicion of self-advancement.

5.      May react to others who do not detect and meet obvious needs.

6.      Insistence on serving may appear to be rejection of being served.

7.      Desire to sense sincere appreciation may result in being easily hurt.

8.      Quickness in meeting needs may interfere with spiritual lessons God is teaching those with needs.

9.      Meeting practical needs may be judged as lack of interest in spiritual matters.

10.   Their stamina may be interpreted as insensitivity or impatience with others helping.

11.  Enjoyment of short-range goals may result in leadership positions and frustration or disorganization with long-range objectives.

12.  Inability to avoid others’ needs may result in sidetracking employer’s directions.

Characteristics of the Charisma of Teaching:

1.      Their belief that their gift is foundational to other gifts.

2.      An emphasis on the accuracy of words.

3.      A testing of the knowledge of those who teach them.

4.      A delight in research in order to validate truth.

5.      The validating of new information by established systems of truth.

6.      The presentation of truth in a systematic sequence.

7.      An avoidance of illustrations from non-Biblical sources.

8.      A resistance to Scriptural illustrations out of context.

9.      A greater joy in researching truth than presenting it.

Misunderstandings of the Charisma of the Teacher

1.      The emphasis on the accuracy of Scriptural interpretation may appear to neglect its practical application.

2.      The research of others may appear to be dependent on more than the teaching ministry of the Holy Spirit (through meditation).

3.      The use of revealed knowledge in testing others may appear to be pride of learning.

4.      The concern to impart details of research may appear to be unnecessary to those listening.

5.      The need to be objective in research may appear to lack warmth and feeling when speaking.

Characteristics of the Charisma of Exhortation

1.      A desire to visualize specific achievement and prescribe precise steps of action.

2.      A tendency to avoid systems of information that lack practical application.

3.      The ability to see how tribulation can produce new levels of maturity.

4.      A dependence on visible acceptance when speaking to individuals or groups.

5.      The discovery of insights from human experience, which can be validated and amplified in Scripture.

6.      An enjoyment with those eager to follow steps of action.

7.      A grief when teaching is not accompanied by practical steps of action.

8.      A delight in personal conferences that result in new insights.

Misunderstandings of the Charisma of the Exhorter:

1.      The emphasis on steps of action may appear to oversimplify the problem.

2.      The urgency in giving steps of action may appear as having overconfidence in them.

3.      The desire to win non-Christians through living examples may appear as a lack of interest in personal evangelism.

4.      The use of Scripture for practical application may appear to take it out of context.

5.      The emphasis on steps of action may appear to disregard the feelings of those being counseled.

Charactersitics of the Charisma of Giving

1.      An ability to make wise purchases and investments.

2.      A desire to give quietly to effective projects or ministries.

3.      An attempt to use his giving to motivate others to do likewise.

4.      Alertness to valid needs that others might overlook.

5.      An enjoyment in meeting needs without the pressure of appeals.

6.      A joy when his gift is an answer to specific prayer.

7.      A dependency on another’s council to confirm the amount of a gift.

8.      A concern that his gift be of high quality.

9.      A desire to feel a part of the work of a person to whom he has given.


Misunderstandings of the Charisma of the Giver

1.      The need to deal with large sums of money may appear to be a focus on temporal values.

2.      The desire to increase the effectiveness of a ministry by his gift may appear as an attempt to control the work of a person.

3.      The attempt to encourage others to give may appear as lack of generosity and unnecessary pressure.

4.      The lack of response to pressure appeals may also appear as lack of generosity.

5.      The personal frugality by which he lives may appear to friends and relatives as selfishness in not meeting their wants.

Characteristics of the Gift of Organization; (ruler)

1.      An ability to see the overall picture and to clarify long-range goals.

2.      A motivation to organize that for which he is responsible.

3.      A desire to complete tasks as quickly as possible.

4.      An awareness of the resources available to complete a task.

5.      An ability to know what can or cannot be delegated.

6.      A tendency to stand on the sidelines until those in charge turn over responsibility to him.

7.      A tendency to assume responsibility if no structured leadership exists.

8.      A willingness to endure reaction from workers in order to accomplish the ultimate task.

9.      A fulfillment in seeing all the pieces coming together and others enjoying the finished product.

10.  A desire to move on to a new challenge when a previous task is completed.

Misunderstandings of the Charisma of the Organizer

1.      The ability to delegate responsibility may appear as laziness in avoiding work.

2.      The willingness to endure reaction may appear as callousness.

3.      The neglect in explaining why tasks must be done may prompt workers to feel they are being misused.

4.      The viewing of people as resources may appear that projects are more important than people.

5.      The desire to complete tasks swiftly may appear to be insensitivity to the schedule, weariness or priorities of workers.

Characteristics of the Charisma of the Shower of Mercy

1.      The ability to “feel” or sense the joy or distress in an individual or group.

2.      An attraction to and an understanding of people who are in distress.

3.      A desire to remove hurts and bring healing to others.

4.      A greater concern for mental distress than physical distress.

5.      An avoidance of firmness unless he sees how it will bring benefit.

6.      Sensitivity to word and actions that will hurt other people.

7.      An ability to discern sincere motives in other people.

8.      Enjoys being around those who are sensitive to the needs and feelings of others.

9.      A closing of his spirit to those who are insincere or insensitive.

Misunderstandings of the Charisma or Mercy

1.      The avoidance of firmness may appear to be weakness and indecisiveness.

2.      The sensitivity to the spirit and feelings of others may cause some to feel he is guided by emotions rather than logic.

3.      Those of the opposite sex may misinterpret the attraction and understanding of those in distress.

4.      The sensitivity to words and actions that cause hurts may appear to be taking another’s offense.

5.      The ability to detect insincere motives may cause some to feel estranged.

Each gift has certain characteristics that are emphasized more than others.  These characteristics have been listed above and will provide significant help to many in discovering their spiritual gift.

There may be many reasons why a person is not able to discern his motivational spiritual gift.  Here are a few:

  • Unresolved root problems in personal living:  It is significant that the gifts of Romans 12 are not mentioned until the moral conflicts of the Romans described in Romans 12 1 through 11 are dealt with.
  • Lack of involvement with the needs of others:  Our gifts are stirred up and discovered as we focus on the needs of others rather than what our “ministry” is to be.  A servant’s heart is essential to discover our spiritual gift.
  • Attempts to imitate motivations of others:  If a Christian is caught up in trying to imitate the ministry of other Christians he will not be free to discover his own motivation.
  • Lack of empathy for others.
  • Failure to analyze why certain activities appeal to us:  It is important for us to understand what the basic motivation is for our present Christian activities.  Many activities will be the means of fulfilling our basic motivation.
Confusion between motivational gift and ministry gift:  A person with motivation of teaching may, for example, have a ministry of prophecy which he thoroughly enjoys.  This may cause him to question which one is his actual motivational gift.

Soul Tie Prayer