Is the Holy Spirit in your life?

How can you tell if the Holy Spirit is in your life? How can you tell if your church is filled with the Holy Spirit? Here is how:

 


 

The Bible gives us a great answer to those questions. It is in 1 Corinthians chapter 12. That is a spectacular passage. In it, Saint Paul talks about the Holy Spirit and the local church, diversity and unity.

When the Holy Spirit is in your life, you’ll have a Gift of the Holy Spirit. What is that gift? Do you know what yours is? Are you able to put it into practice?

When your local church is filled with the Holy Spirit, your church has people with a whole variety of Gifts of the Holy Spirit. Even though each person’s gifting is diverse, it all works together in unity.

 

THE BASIS

 

But all that starts with something. There has to be something in common. What we have in common is Jesus Christ. Believers share Jesus Christ in common. He is the Lord and Savior of all believers. That’s our starting point for unity:

1 Corinthians 12:3. Therefore I make known to you that no man speaking by God’s Spirit says, “Jesus is accursed.” No one can say, “Jesus is Lord,” but by the Holy Spirit.

 

DIVERSITY ON PURPOSE

 

Let’s move to the next first three verses. Verse 4 says there are all kinds of different spiritual gifts, but one Holy Spirit. Verse 5 says there are different ministries but only one Lord Jesus Christ. And verse 6 says there are different results, but only one God the Father:

1 Corinthians 12:4-6. Now there are various kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit. 5 There are various kinds of service, and the same Lord. 6 There are various kinds of workings, but the same God, who works all things in all.

There are Three Divine Persons but only one God. Similarly, there are different gifts and ministries and results, but only one Christian faith.

So the one God wants us to have different gifts and different ministries and different results. All this diversity comes from one Holy Spirit.

This one Holy Spirit is at work within the hearts and lives of all Christians everywhere. The Pentecostals aren’t plugged into a different Holy Spirit than the Russian Orthodox or the Evangelicals or the Amish or the Catholics or the Lutherans. No, there’s one Holy Spirit.

Yet this one Holy Spirit goes out of his way to give different gifts to different people. The fact that different people have different spiritual gifts isn’t a bad thing. It isn’t a sign of confusion. It doesn’t mean that people have misappropriated God’s gifts to them.

Rather, the one Holy Spirit wants to give us a whole variety of gifts. The local church is blessed with differences, on purpose.

Sometimes people think they need to be just like their leaders. But God doesn’t want us to be photocopies of other people. God doesn’t need “suits.” He looks for authentic men and women of God.

Sure, we’re to learn from our leaders and imitate their great qualities. St. Paul instructs us to do that. But God has given each of us our own gifts, and those gifts might not be anything like the gifts of our leaders.

In fact, since the Holy Spirit increases the diversity of gifts within the local assembly, it’s almost certain that we’ll be gifted in ways different from our leaders. That isn’t bad. Rather, it’s a good thing. In fact, it is a great thing!

The Holy Spirit blesses the local church with diversity, on purpose.

 

ONE FOR ALL & ALL FOR ONE

 

This reality of a diversity of gifts works for the good of everyone. Verse 7 says these diverse gifts bring about good for all. We have our differing gifts so that everyone can benefit.

1 Corinthians 12:7. Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. (NIV translation)

We believe that it is part of human nature to want everybody to be the same. To counter that takes a great breadth of vision.

Look at people’s tendency to stay within their own ethnic/racial group. It takes a very concerted effort to break through the barriers and befriend people who are different from yourself.

Yet diversity is one of things that are almost autobiographically of the Holy Spirit. The diversity of gifts that the Holy Spirit gives the local assembly will strengthen it, not weaken it. A diversity of gifts makes the local assembly strong.

Now let’s look at the specific gifts. The following verses list several gifts: wisdom, knowledge, faith, healing, miracles, prophecy, discernment, tongues and interpretation.

Let’s look at them one at a time.

 

WISDOM

 

In verse 8, we see the Gift of Wisdom. The Greek word is sophia. Some translations render it “word of wisdom” or “wise counsel.” It means you can see into things.

1 Corinthians 12:8. For to one is given through the Spirit the word of wisdom, and to another the word of knowledge, according to the same Spirit;

The person who is gifted with spiritual wisdom is the one you go to for help in understanding what is happening your life. They see into situations and have godly wisdom about it.

Maybe you have some gifting for wisdom. If so, we pray you explore it.

The Holy Spirit has probably gifted your local Church with people gifted in wisdom. If not, we pray you receive such people soon!

 

KNOWLEDGE

 

Also in verse 8, we see the Gift of Knowledge. Whereas the gift of wisdom means seeing into something else, knowledge means knowing things. The Greek word is gnosis, which literally means knowledge.

1 Corinthians 12:8. For to one is given through the Spirit the word of wisdom, and to another the word of knowledge, according to the same Spirit;

Professors and scientists seem to remember just about every bit of information they’ve ever learned. They can talk about things they learned decades ago. They’re not arrogant. It’s just their gifting. They remember it all. For scores of topics, they have knowledge.

The person who’s gifted with spiritual knowledge is the one you probably go to for help in seeing where something is in the Bible. It’s the one who can derive all sorts of insights from the history of the Christian faith. Think of the person who retains what they read. Think of the veteran Bible study leader or catechist. Think of the learned professor at a school of theology. Years or decades of reading the Bible and theological book combines with their gift of knowledge, and they become somebody that everyone wants to come bend the ear of.

Maybe you have some gifting for knowledge. If so, we pray you explore it.

And the Holy Spirit has probably gifted your church with people gifted in knowledge. If not, we pray you receive such people soon!

 

FAITH

 

Verse 9 mentions the Gift of Faith. In this context, it doesn’t mean faith as in “believe in Jesus Christ.” Rather, it means believing for the impossible.

1 Corinthians 12:9. to another faith, by the same Spirit; and to another gifts of healings, by the same Spirit;

Think of the centurion who asked Jesus to heal his child. The Centurion said that Jesus didn’t even need to come to his house for the miracle to take place. How did Jesus reply? Jesus said he had never seen such faith, anywhere in Israel.

This is above-and-beyond faith.

Maybe you have some gifting to believe for the impossible. If so, we pray you explore it.

And the Holy Spirit has probably gifted your local Church with people gifted in above-and-beyond faith. If not, we pray you receive such people soon!

 

HEALING

 

Verse 9 also mentions the Gift of Healing. The biblical testimony is clear that at least some people will have this gift.

1 Corinthians 12:9. to another faith, by the same Spirit; and to another gifts of healings, by the same Spirit;

Throughout the centuries of the Christian faith, there have always been individuals who could bring about miraculous healings. Some healed themselves. Some healed other people.

In our day, the gift of healing seems concentrated into the Charismatic and Pentecostal sectors. But it’s likely that there are at least some healers in just about any sector of the Christian faith.

Maybe you have some gifting for healing. If so, we pray you explore it.

And the Holy Spirit has probably gifted your local congregation with healers. If not, we pray you receive such people soon!

 

MIRACLES

 

Verse 10 lists the Gift of Miracles. The Greek word is dunamis. When you have the gift of miracles, you have the power of God working within you.

1 Corinthians 12:10. and to another workings of miracles; and to another prophecy; and to another discerning of spirits; to another different kinds of languages; and to another the interpretation of languages.

If you examine the history of the church, you’ll see that there has never been a shortage of authentic miracle-workers.

Even in our day, miracles are possible. Sometimes the miracle happens gradually. Sometimes it’s instantaneous.

In any case, it’s brought about by someone who believes for the impossible. That person might be an ordinary believer, or it might be someone with this extraordinary gift of miracles.

Maybe you have some gifting for miracles. If so, we pray you explore it.

And the Holy Spirit has probably gifted your local Church with miracle-workers. If not, we pray you receive such people soon!

 

PROPHECY

 

Verse 10 also lists the Gift of Prophecy:

1 Corinthians 12:10. and to another workings of miracles; and to another prophecy; and to another discerning of spirits; to another different kinds of languages; and to another the interpretation of languages.

There are four major types of prophecy:

1. One type of prophecy, in our New Testament era, is evangelizing. When we speak of Jesus Christ, we are prophesying. All believers are called to this ministry of prophecy. We’re all called to evangelize.

2. Another type of prophecy is preaching. When the minister speaks of Jesus Christ before the assembly, that’s another type of prophecy: Jesus is spoken of, clearly and convincingly, in the power of the Holy Spirit. That’s a type of prophecy.

3. A third type of prophecy is the one we see most often in the pages of the Old Testament. Someone is filled with the Holy Spirit and speaks with conviction about something that will happen in the future. In almost all cases, the one speaking had no knowledge about that future thing prior to speaking it.

4. A fourth type of prophecy is when someone speaks by faith about the future. They might not know for sure what the future will hold. But they received some sort of hint about it, become convinced of that, and speak about it as if it’s a sure thing.

Maybe you have some gifting for prophecy—evangelism, preaching, speaking of the future, or speaking by faith. If so, we pray you explore it.

And the Holy Spirit has probably gifted your local Church with prophets. If not, we pray you receive such people soon!

 

DISCERNMENT

 

Another gift mentioned in verse 10 is the Gift of Discernment. It is also know as the discernment of spirits.

1 Corinthians 12:10. and to another workings of miracles; and to another prophecy; and to another discerning of spirits; to another different kinds of languages; and to another the interpretation of languages.

Some people have the capacity to see subtle differences in ideas. In a conversation, they talk about the differences between two ideas or people or situations.

In a church setting, the person gifted with discernment is the one you want to go see when you’re stuck. Maybe you’re stuck between a rock and a philosophical hard place. Maybe you’re wrestling with two different theological issues. Maybe you wonder if God would have you do “A” or “B.” Maybe a disruptive person has showed up and you need to figure out what to do. You’ll probably end up running to the person who is gifted in discernment.

Maybe you’re gifted in discernment. If so, we pray you explore it.

And the Holy Spirit has probably gifted your local assembly with those gifted for discernment. If not, we pray you receive such people soon!

 

TONGUES

 

Verse 10 also mentions the Gift of Tongues:

1 Corinthians 12:10. and to another workings of miracles; and to another prophecy; and to another discerning of spirits; to another different kinds of languages; and to another the interpretation of languages.

The Greek word is glossa. There is an enormous amount of literature about that word and similar words in the Bible. Rather that go into all that, we would simply like to mention a four practical ways that the gift of tongues works.

Some people have the spiritual gift to speak in some unknown language. It might be the language of angels. It might be a human language unknown to the speaker. It might be in some obscure dialect, or in a language that’s been out of fluency for millennia. It might be a spiritual language that’s unknown to everyone but God.

Other people have a gift to speak, spontaneously, in some foreign language. That actually happens sometimes.

Other people have a natural knack for learning languages. They can easily learn Spanish or German or Japanese. Such people are a natural fit for traveling to another culture or nation as a missionary.

Maybe you have some gifting for tongues. If so, we pray you explore it.

And the Holy Spirit has probably gifted your local Church with people gifted in tongues. If not, we pray you receive such people soon!

 

INTERPRETATION

 

The last gift that verse 10 mentions is the Gift of Interpretation. The Greek word is hermeneia. It means to interpret what someone else says, especially when they’re speaking in tongues.

1 Corinthians 12:10. and to another workings of miracles; and to another prophecy; and to another discerning of spirits; to another different kinds of languages; and to another the interpretation of languages.

Parents seem to have the gift of interpretation. They can hear their crying child and interpret what’s being said, even when it’s completely unintelligible to anyone else.

You see interpretation at work at the United Nations. Experts provide spontaneous official interpretation of what’s being said.

You see interpretation at work when an interpreter speaks in Sign Language, helping the Deaf to communicate with the world of those who hear.

You see interpretation at work when one person speaks in a tongue and then a different person offers an interpretation. That’s the way St. Paul said it’s supposed to happen.

Maybe you have some gifting for interpretation. If so, we pray you explore it.

And the Holy Spirit has probably gifted your local Church with people gifted in interpretation. If not, we pray you receive such people soon!

 

CONCLUSION

 

The one God distributes a whole array of gifts to his people: wisdom, knowledge, above-and-beyond faith, healing, miracles, prophecy, discernment, tongues, interpretation and many more.

There are different gifts, different ministries and different results. But they work together like the many instruments in a symphony orchestra, so that our lives will combine and make a beautiful hymn of praise to God.

That’s how you can tell the Holy Spirit is in your life, and in your church.

 


Unless otherwise noted, all Bible quotations on this page are from the World English Bible and the World Messianic Edition. These translations have no copyright restrictions. They are in the Public Domain.


 

Author: todd

At Explore the Faith, I share insights into the Bible and theological writings. If you like what I write, become my partner by donating. Help me reach the world for the Lord Jesus Christ.