Picture of Jay McSwain
Jay McSwain

Founder & President
PLACE Ministries

What Spiritual Gift For What Situation?

“ You shouldn’t always be quoting chapter and verse from the Bible to our friend who questions if God is even real. You are turning him off to Jesus. ”

Recently, Jay McSwain sat down with a college freshman from the University of Georgia who told him her friend, who was a new Christian kept telling her the quote above regarding a mutual friend they had who claimed to be agnostic.  The freshman was confused as to what she should do.  But, before we give you how Jay guided her let’s lay out her spiritual gifts and what difference that made in Jay’s advice.

The freshman had the spiritual gifts of both prophecy and mercy. 

The spiritual gift of prophecy in its simplest understanding is regularly quoting,

“ This is what God, the Bible says regarding … ”
" The spiritual gift of mercy is simply wanting to be with hurting people and sympathizing with them without having to give answers. ”

Here’s a little more information regarding the freshman’s friend who thought her friend was turning the agnostic off by quoting the Bible regarding poor lifestyle choices the agnostic was making.  Her friend, the new Christian was also making many of the same poor lifestyle choices and knew God didn’t desire for her to make these choices.

On the other hand the agnostic friend was very open to hearing what the Bible said about his poor lifestyle choices and was very unhappy with his life.

So, how did Jay advise the freshman to handle the situation with her friend, the new Christian regarding her advice to quit quoting the Bible to their agnostic friend who was open to hearing the Bible regarding his lifestyle choices.

Jay helped the freshman understand that with her friend who was a new Christian and still making poor lifestyle choices, but knew they were wrong she need to use her spiritual gift of mercy and walked through life with her friend without being judgmental and quoting chapter and verse.  She needed to sympathize and empathize along with encouraging her friend as she grew in her faith.  In other words she needed to use her spiritual gift of mercy with the new Christian.

But, with the young man who was questioning the existence of God, unhappy with his life AND open to hearing what God and the Bible said about his choices she should use the spiritual gift of prophecy.  Jay also encouraged her to be sensitive to her new Christian friend when sharing the Bible regarding her poor lifestyle choices that she knew was wrong.  In other words she didn’t need chapter and verse (prophecy) to know her choices were wrong.  She needed a friend that would walk through her struggles (mercy) with her.

How To Apply This Teaching…

First, know what your spiritual gifts are and not just the words, but what their true meaning is from the teachings of the Bible.  For instance, the spiritual gift of encouragement is not just saying nice words to people. 

Those with the spiritual gift of encouraging are gifted and passionate about helping others who have challenges, goals and obstacles in their lives and providing steps to move beyond those challenges, accomplish those goals and remove the obstacles or barriers in their lives.

Secondly, understand that God has given you different spiritual gifts and those spiritual gifts should be used in different ways according to the circumstances.  The application of I Corinthians 12:1 tells us, “Now about the gifts of the Spirit, brothers and sisters, I do not want you to be uninformed.” 

Understanding the Bible’s teachings of each spiritual gift and knowing HOW and WHEN to use your gifts will allow you to live out I Corinthians 12:1.

Serving Him Together,