The Gifts of the Holy Spirit

The Holy Spirit can also give us what the Bible calls gifts of the Spirit. Paul wrote,

1 Corinthians 12:4-11 There are diversities of gifts, but the same [Holy] Spirit. There are differences of ministries, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of activities, but it is the same God who works all in all.

But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all: for to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, to another the word of knowledge through the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healings by the same Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits, to another different kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills.

Below are specifics of some of the gifts of the Spirit, but something important to keep in mind is that even when you or others receive one of these fascinating gifts, you can only use such a gift to testify of Jesus, to lift Jesus up, to boast of Jesus’ greatness. In John 15:26 Jesus tells His disciples, “But when the Helper comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify of Me.”

These gifts should cause others to see Jesus in you; these gifts are not for the sake of bringing others to you, but to bring you and others closer to Jesus.

1) The gift of unstoppable faith

“If you have faith as a mustard seed,” Jesus told His followers, “you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you”. [4] Mustard seeds are among the smallest of tree seeds. So what Jesus is saying here is that it doesn’t take a whole lot of faith to do something as big as to move a mountain. But that small amount of faith has to be put to use in order to be strengthened.

You had a measure of faith given to you when you received Jesus into your life, and that faith grows a little each time you read, absorb, and act on God’s Word. But if you want even greater faith, you need to ask for this gift from the Holy Spirit. Once your faith has developed, then you can have more confidence to use just a pinch of faith for pretty big things.

Faith is believing in the unseen.

Or as one man put it:

You can have very little faith in thick ice and it will hold you up just fine; you can have enormous faith in thin ice and you can drown. It’s not the amount of faith you can muster that matters up front. It may be tiny, like a mustard seed. But your faith must be invested in something solid.

— Lynn Anderson

And that something solid is Jesus.

The Power of a Touch


In Luke chapter 8 we read that one day Jesus was on His way to the house of a man whose daughter was gravely ill. The crowd was pressing around Him as usual. In the midst of the throng was a woman who had been sick for 12 years with a constant flow of blood. All that time she had gone from one doctor to another, but without success. She had spent every bit of her money on doctors and had suffered much from their treatments, yet the bleeding continued.

Desperate, the woman thought, Oh, if I could only touch Jesus, I know I would be healed!

Then, seeing Jesus afar off, she anxiously made her way towards Him. It wasn’t easy to get through the pushing, shoving mob of onlookers who were all trying to get as close to Jesus as they could, but she was driven by that thought. She just had to touch Him—even if only the edge of His garment!

Finally she came within reach and, stretching out her hand, she was able to barely touch His robe with her fingertips. No sooner had she touched Him that the bleeding that had plagued her for so long stopped. A warm and wonderful feeling of health and well-being swept through her body. She knew that after all these years of pain and suffering, she was healed at last!

Jesus paused for a moment. He had felt that healing power go out from Him. Turning to the crowd He asked, “Who touched Me?”

His disciples looked at Him with amazement, saying, “With all this great crowd pressing around You, You ask who touched You?”

But Jesus already knew who had touched Him. He turned to look upon the astonished woman.

Still trembling with the realization of what had happened, she fell at His feet and told Him her story. Lovingly and tenderly, as a father would speak to his child, Jesus said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you whole. Go in peace and be healed of your disease.” Jesus was making it clear to the entire crowd that touching His clothes had not made her whole—it had been her faith.

That woman had put her little bit of faith into action, and the result has echoed down through the centuries: “Your faith has made you whole!”

Many ordinary people have received the gift of faith and have gone on to do great things for God. And it doesn’t only happen to those great men and women you have read about. You can have faith for both the simplest and the seemingly impossible things of life, if you believe that this gift is for you.—And once you receive this gift, be faithful to preserve it and help it grow by being a faithful student and doer of God’s Word.

You can also strengthen your faith by reading the accounts of men and women who have tested and proven their faith. These accounts will show you that there is no limit to what can happen when it comes to faith, and that you too can receive and use this gift to make your life and the lives of others more spectacular.

2) The unseen gifts of knowledge, wisdom, and discernment

Wisdom in this instance is knowing how to use the knowledge that God gives you. It’s knowing how to accurately judge things that happen in your life by applying the Word of God, which is the source of true wisdom.

The spiritual gift of knowledge goes far beyond just knowing stuff; it’s getting a peek at the heart and mind of God. You know things you wouldn’t otherwise know, because God shows them to you through His Holy Spirit.

Discernment is having “good taste and judgment”—in this case, specifically, it’s the ability to recognize the intentions or purpose of what people say or do.

These three gifts of the Spirit are called unseen gifts, because you can’t detect them with any of your five senses—but they can sure help you make good decisions and make your relations with your friends, family, and other people you work with better.

James 3:17 The wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy.

1 Corinthians 2:4-7 My speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God. However, we speak wisdom among those who are mature, yet not the wisdom of this age … but we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God ordained before the ages for our glory.

 3) The guiding gift of prophecy

Jesus loves to speak to us, and one way He speaks to us is through prophecy. You can receive direct messages from the Lord in which He gives you love, encouragement, comfort, and even instruction and counsel. Most prophecies come in the form of a verbal message which you can hear in your mind, but sometimes prophetic messages come by direct revelation, through dreams and visions.

Joel 2:28 It shall come to pass afterward that I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh; Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions.

The gift of prophecy is an important and practical gift of the Holy Spirit, because it can help you in so many ways. It also works closely with the other gifts that the Holy Spirit offers—it helps to strengthen your faith [5] and it’s a boost to practicing wisdom, knowledge, and discernment, etc.

Jesus speaks anytime, anywhere, if you believe!

Prophetic Directions


My friend, Wolfgang Simson is an intellectual German, but he recently found himself in a predicament that required him to lay down his intellect and trust God like a child. He was scheduled to speak to a houseful of church leaders in Cairo at 5:45 PM. His contact put him in a cab at 5:00, showed the driver an address, put it back in his pocket, and said farewell.

Half an hour later, the cab pulled up—in the wrong place! And Wolfgang didn’t even know what the right address was. Moreover, his Arabic was almost nonexistent. He knew how to count from one to ten, and he knew the words left and right and straight ahead, but that was about it. He said a brief prayer for help, and God immediately answered. “Prophesy to the taxi driver!”

“Lord, I-I’m a Lutheran,” he stammered in his native German, “and I don’t even know which direction it is.”

“PROPHESY!” came the distinct voice of God again.

So with only 15 minutes left, Wolfgang obediently began barking orders at the driver. “Alatuhl! (straight ahead) “El shemahl!” (to the left) … “El Yameen!” (to the right). Every corner, every alley was a decision, and he strained to feel the Holy Spirit’s promptings as the cab bounced through Cairo’s chaotic streets in the Egyptian heat. He even took short cuts only a professional driver could have known. It was a high speed proof test of Isaiah 30:21: “Thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left.”

Exactly 15 minutes later the cab came to a stop right in front of the meeting house. The wide-eyed cabbie, keenly aware of the supernatural nature of this trip, refused to take any fare!

The moral of this story is that the world has changed, and God wants to speak to you directly, in practical ways, and you need to gear up for this, to learn to listen to Him.

by James Rutz (Empowerment Press, 2005)

4) The amazing gift of healing and miracles

“And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will … lay hands on the sick, and they will recover” [6] “The prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up.” So “pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much”. [7] These are not just grand words spoken by a grand man—these are promises Jesus gave for us to claim and act upon in faith.

We may feel uncertain that something so simple as praying over someone to be healed does the trick, but the Holy Spirit can give us the courage to claim these promises and to believe them to be true.

People think that miracles were either only performed by Jesus or were a thing of the past, but Jesus still performs miracles for and through His people today.—And sometimes these miracles happen to those who don’t know Jesus that well, but He allows it so that those who witness the miracle can believe in His love for them.

The English word miracle comes from the Latin mirari, to wonder at. Miracles grab people’s attention. Often Jesus allows miracles to happen so that people’s attention will be drawn to whatever message He wants to give to them.

Time Enough to Give a Message


A 12-year-old gypsy girl died in Argentina. She had been a Christian for some months, but her attempts to be a witness to the tightly knit gypsy community had been rejected.

In the wee hours of the morning, in the middle of her funeral wake, she suddenly sat up in her casket, causing the people in attendance to jump up, rejoice and dance, and start dismantling the funeral setup.

“Don’t take anything down!” The girl said. “Jesus told me to return just to tell you that He loves you and that you have to accept Him if you want to be saved. That’s the only reason I’m here. At ten o’clock Jesus will come back for me, so leave everything like it is.”

At 10:00 AM, her Lord Jesus came back and took her home. Her gypsy friends swarmed into the kingdom.

Excerpted: Megashift: Igniting Spiritual Power, by James Rutz

5) The extraordinary gift of tongues and interpretation of tongues

The Apostle Paul refers to the gift of tongues as “the tongues of men and of angels”. [8] Sometimes these are earthly languages—tongues of men—as was the case on the Day of Pentecost, when the apostles preached to the crowds of foreigners in various languages which they had never learned. [9]

Tongues are mainly for your own encouragement. Even when you don’t understand the words coming out of your own mouth, speaking to God in praise in tongues uplifts your spirit.

1 Corinthians 14:4 He who speaks in a tongue edifies himself.

God knows exactly what is being said in tongues, and He will give you the interpretation if you ask Him and if it’s something you are meant to understand.

The gift of interpretation of tongues is virtually the same as the gift of prophecy. The only difference, really, is that the message first comes from God in an unknown tongue. Tongues and interpretation can be a wonderfully uplifting way to hear from Jesus.

There you have it! Those are some of the gifts that the Holy Spirit can give us. Jesus knows what gifts of the Holy Spirit you need and can benefit from. But more important than receiving these gifts is what you do with them after you have them. For example, if you have the gift of prophecy, but instead of using it to encourage others or get clear direction from the Lord, you try to use it to get to do the things you want to do (such as telling your parents that you received a prophecy that said you could do something, when in fact, you didn’t take the time to ask the Lord about it), then in the end, you will end up hurting not only yourself (by slowly losing trust and faith in your gift), but also others (by their losing faith in you and your gift).

Also, sometimes we ask Jesus for a gift, which He gives us, but that gift won’t work for us until we begin to use it. If you received an iPod as a gift but all you did was keep it in your drawer, it wouldn’t do you much good. In order to make your iPod work for you, you need to download iTunes, get it connected, copy over the mp3 files you want to listen to, and then hit the play button. If it’s your first time using an iPod, it may be confusing or difficult to know how to use it, but the more you use it, the more you learn about the interesting
features that are available to you and the more you enjoy it.

Go to next class to learn more