Fun fact about me: I love to take personality tests. I love to dive more into self discovery, finding out more of who God made me to be and how I really tick. Myers-Briggs? Enneagram? DISC? They all fascinate me. As a believer, I’m also interested in spiritual gifts. I want to know how God uniquely designed and blessed me to be a blessing to the body, to my family, and to others.
As a Christian parent, one of the avenues I can exercise my gifts is through my parenting. But how do I use my specific gifts to influence and help my family?
So, what exactly are spiritual gifts anyway? How and why should we use them? What about the gifts I lack? Does God want me to grow in those areas? These questions and more I have asked when exploring this topic. I’m still learning about spiritual gifts but here are a few nuggets I’ve learned when uncovering more about spiritual gifts and how they pertain to my parenting.
What are spiritual gifts and who can use them?
Spiritual gifts are not like superpowers, but they are supernaturally given. These gifts are not reserved for the select few or even spiritually elite. They are for all believers who possess the Holy Spirit. As you walk with the Holy Spirit and keep in step with His guidance, you’ll find that he has uniquely wired you for accomplishing specific tasks.
Keep in mind that these gifts are not for your benefit. They are not to make us happier, wealthier, or more successful. 1 Corinthians 12:7 explains, “To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.” The Holy Spirit works through us via these giftings to benefit the body of Christ and influence the world for God’s glory.
A few of these gifts are listed in Ephesians 4:11-12, “And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds, and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ,” There are of course other gifts we may receive that are not listed in this particular passage, so I recommend you dive deeper in your own Bible to learn more about spiritual gifts. Seek the Lord’s leading to help you discover what your personal gifts might be. Seek the counsel of others to find out how they see the Lord working through you. You can even take a spiritual gifts assessment to help you gain clarity on the subject. Here’s a gifts survey I recently took myself. I found it helpful and enlightening.
How do you use your gifts to help parent your children?
Because there are numerous gifts and countless combinations of said gifts, the answer to this question varies immensely. I can only speak for myself so I’ll use the gifts that I’ve discovered and how I try to use them to influence my family.
The gift of mercy
I’m an empath, so I can sense when someone is hurting or in distress. I utilize the gift of mercy by remaining compassionate. When my children are in need, I have an overwhelming desire to fill that need. I am quick to forgive their wrongdoings and maintain a healthy relationship with my children. The gift of mercy is a contagion as those who receive mercy, show mercy – just as Christ was merciful to us.
The gift of exhortation
Through the gift of exhortation, I encourage others and am enthusiastic about others joining the work of the Lord. I use this gift to persuade others to action and to serve. As a parent, this gift is more than the ability to get my children to clean their rooms. No, I use it to exhort them to serve the Lord and serve others and to continue in their relationship with Jesus.
The gift of teaching
This gift is a little more self-explanatory, and it does mean I have a desire to see my children learn and an ability to teach them. But I’m also cautious and careful to consider “what” I am teaching them. I must keep a close watch over whether I am teaching them things of God or things of the world.
What if you need skills you lack in the way of spiritual gifting?
Obviously, we are all gifted in different ways for the benefit of the body, but what about the ways in which we lack. It is easy to see others’ gifts and not feel like the gifts we ourselves possess are of equal value. Rather than coveting that which your neighbor has, I would encourage you to show gratitude for the gifts you have received. And then partner with others for a well-rounded church and family unit.
For instance, my wife has the gifts of administration and hospitality. Because her gifts differ from mine we are able to partner together as parents for a more well-rounded home. Had our giftings been the same we would actually be able to accomplish less. God in His divine wisdom paired us together for the task of raising our children.
Still, we need others, and realizing this we desire to parent within the village. We welcome other mature believers into our children’s lives for the sake of all spiritual gifts to be used in the raising of our kids. This can be done whether you parent in a two parent home or as a single parent. Having the body surround you for this task is immensely important.
I leave you with these words from Paul in Romans 12:4-5, “For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.” I pray you use your one unique set of spiritual gifts to build up the body, raise a godly generation, and reach the world for God’s glory.
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