Desiring Spiritual Gifts

There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. There are different kings of service but the same LORD. THere are different kinds of working, but in all of them, and in everyone, it is the same God at work. Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues. All of these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and He distributes them as He determines.

1 corinthians 12:4-11

Collectively, the aforementioned gifts are called MANIFESTATION gifts as these are spiritual gifts that are accessible to you through the Holy Spirit; gifts which are exercised by His might and power. The manifestation gifts can be divided into three categories: (1) UTTERANCE (gifts of utterances), (2) ACTION (gifts of power) and (3) REVELATION (gifts of revelation).

The gifts in focal scripture are listed in order of importance. In the Bible, a list is never “just a list” – it is either chronological (in date order) or hierarchical (showing importance or rank).

Gifts of Utterances

The utterance gifts are: prophecy, speaking in different kinds of tongues and interpretation of tobgues.


Paul wrote that, “the one who prophesies speaks to the people for their strengthening, encouraging and comfort.” As prophecy edifies the church, Paul proclaimed that he would much rather all believers prophecy [than speak in tongues]. See 1 Corinthians 14:5.

Speaking in Different Kinds of Tongues

We first see this gift manifested in the book of Acts on the day of Pentecost. Acts 2:4 reads: “All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.” For more, see Acts 2:8-11.

Speaking in tongues edifies the speaker. When it has great value to the body is when someone interprets (1 Corinthians 14:5). When someone interprets tongues, that is the word of the LORD, from the LORD, spoken in real time by the power of the Holy Spirit.

When someone interprets tongues, that is the word of the LORD, from the LORD, spoken in real time by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Zemi Stewart

Speaking in tongues edifies the body when it is used for intercession. Ephesians 5:18 reads: “And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests.”

According to author Tomi Arayomi: “Tongues are encoded prophecies, revelations, words of knowledge and doctrines waiting for you to decode the mystery and release them as a sound of distinction.”

Interpretation of Tongues

This is a great gift to be desired as it places you in a position as heaven’s translator. Paul even suggests that those with the gift of speaking in tongues should pray that they may interpret what they, themselves, have said (1 Corinthians 14:13-18).

Gifts of Power

The action gifts are: faith, gifts of healing and miraculous powers.


By definition, faith is the “substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1). Every believer should have faith, but some are endowed with CRAZY FAITH. In our generation, the example that comes to mind is Pastor Mike Todd who even has a book titled Crazy Faith. Biblically, Abraham is credited often for his crazy faith.

Gifts of Healing

The word “gifts” is plural here because there are multiple forms of healing. For example, emotional, physical, psychological, etc. When we think of this gift , most think of Jesus and Paul.

Miraculous Powers

The Bible is full of miracles, which inspire varying degrees of awe. From the parting of the Red Sea, to turning water into wine, to the healing of the sick with a handkerchief – all of these are performed by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Gifts of Revelation

The revelation gifts are: message of wisdom, word of knowledge and distinguishing between spirits.

Message of Wisdom

This gift is used for decision making. King Solomon requested the the gift of wisdom in 1 Kings 5:1-15. He specifically asked for: (i) a discerning heart to govern God’s people and (ii) the ability to distinguish between right and wrong.

This gift mentioned first in the focal scripture as it is of utmost importance that we are able to discern right from wrong, good from evil, of God and not of God.

See also:

  • James 1:5
  • Proverbs 1:7
  • Proverbs 2:6
  • James 3:17
  • Proverbs 4:7

Word of Knowledge

If we go back to Eden, knowledge was the gift that the serpent bribed Eve with into taking. He told her that if she ate the forbidden fruit, “You will be like God, knowing good and evil” (Genesis 3:5).

Wisdom means to make sound judgements while knowledge is simply knowing. Wisdom uses knowledge. Word of knowledge uncovers hidden truths.

See also:

  • Proverbs 15:7
  • Hosea 6:6

Distinguishing Between Spirits

Distinguishing between spirits is the ability to discern between the truth of the Word of God and deceptive doctrines. It will be needed more and more as we approach the end of days and as false prophets abound.

See also:

  • 2 Timothy 2:15
  • Matthew 24:11
  • Matthew 24:24

Now that we have a basic (and I mean BASIC!) understanding of the nine manifestation gifts, I would like to leave you with tips on how to steward your desire and gifts.

Stewarding Your Gifts

1. It is good to desire all of the gifts. It is a good and admirable to desire to be fully functional in the body of Christ, but keep in mind that we may never be endowed with all of the gifts. See 1 Corinthians 12:27-30.

2. Check your motive and the reason for your desire. All that we do in ministry must be done so that the church may be built up. If your goal is fame, followers, fortune or anything self-focused — check your motive.

Ask yourself, why do I want this spiritual gift? Is it because Jane has it and it made her famous? is it because Joe has it and people sow into him like crazy? Do you want to speak in tongues to prove you are saved? Why do you want to prophecy? Why do you want heavenly wisdom? And on the self-assessment goes.

If your motives are off, you will abuse the gifts.

3. Do not pay for it, prepare for it. Prepare your character to steward the gifts(s) well.

We know of a very tragic example of someone who thought they could buy a spiritual gift. In Acts 18: 14-24 Peter rebuked Simon, a recent convert, because he desired to purchase the power of the Holy Spirit. Peter exclaimed, “May your money perish with you because you thought you could buy the gift of God with money.” Peter went on to caution Simon to repent and to work on his flawed character.

4. When you have it, it is yours always. We learn from Romans 11:29 that the gifts are irrevocable.

5. When you have it, do not neglect it. Do not neglect the beautiful gifts that the Holy Spirit have blessed you with.

Paul admonished Timothy, “Do not neglect your gift, which was given through prophecy when the body of elders laid their hands on you” (1 Timothy 4:14).

6. Give glory where glory us due. We were not meant to be carries of God’s glory, only conduits. We must give all of the glory to God. It is not your accuracy that makes a prophecy so powerful. It is not the strength of your anointing that heals the sick. It is not how oily you are that you are so wise. No, it is by the power of the Holy Spirit working within you!

7. Desire the Holy Spirit above all and do not grieve him. I always admire Elisha who boldly asked Elijah for a double portion of the Holy Spirit that was in Elijah (2 Kings 2:9-10). Elisha knew that Elijah was just a vessel and that the true source was the Holy Spirit.

In the book Good Morning, Holy Spirit evangelist Benny Hinn writes, “The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of God the Father and the Spirit of God the Son. He is the power of the Godhead — the power of the Trinity.” He also writes, ‘The Holy Spirit is the power of the LORD.”

Ephesians 4:30-31 reads: “And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were seated for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.”

8. Do not just desire His power, walk by the Spirit. I encourage you to read Galatians 5:16-26. The fruit (evidence of) the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Desiring to grow in these areas is highly esteemed by God. Paul writes, “Follow the way of love [the greatest gift of all] and eagerly desire the gifts of the Spirit, especially prophecy.” (To see that love is a gift, read Romans 5:5.)

Though Paul says “especially prophecy” in the above passage, love is an essential gift to have. We learn this in 1 Corinthians 13:1-13 — also known as the love scripture. Without love, even if you prophecy with great accuracy, you are nothing. Operating in spiritual gifts without love is meaningless. Those who do so will be those to whom God says, “I never knew you.”

9. Use it to profit all and to build the church. Paul writes, “Since you are eager for gifts of the Spirit, try to excel in those that build the church” (1 Corinthians 14:12).

10. Your gifts is not (necessarily) your identity. In other words, your gift is not necessarily your title. I, for example, have the gift of prophecy but I am not a prophet. No matter how much I prophecy to God’s people, assigning the title of “Prophet” to me would be incorrect.

Those mantles (i.e. apostle, prophet, teacher, etc.) are revealed through prophecy and word of knowledge. Be careful assigning titles for the gift when you do not hold the office or seat.

Be careful assigning titles for the gift when you do not hold the office or the seat.

Zemi Stewart

For illustration, every orator is not a politician and every politician is not a member of parliament (MP). A politician cannot call himself an MP without having first won the seat.

In closing, let us go back to the opening verse for further meditation (1 Corinthians 12:4-6): “There are different kinds of gifts but the Spirit distributes them. There are different kinds of service, but the same LORD. There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is still the same God at work.”

To watch the teaching I did on this topic with Kerel Pinder, click here.

For additional videos on Spiritual Gifts, please see below:

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: