My friend Whitney gave a talk in March. It was a beautiful talk and one I really needed to hear. I think we forget what our gifts from our Father are. This is her talk. I was impressed to pass it on to you! I love you all and miss you!
If you could ask for ANY gift for Christmas this year knowing that you would receive it, what would that be? Would you ask for a bigger house? How about a nicer car? Extra money to take a NICE vacation? What about a boat or a pool? I, personally, would love to get a BIG SCREEN tv. Or a Wii Fit. Or, even better, it would be really cool if I could get one of those makeup gadgets from the movie, Fifth Element that puts the makeup on for you.
But, in the end none of these gifts can compare to the the spiritual gifts that each of us have been given or that are available to us when we receive the gift of the holy ghost.
According to Robert D Hales
Spiritual gifts are blessings or abilities given by God to His children through the power of the Holy Ghost. Gifts of the Spirit are given to bless and benefit those who love the Lord and seek to keep His commandments.
In the January 1997 Ensign, the Relief Society General Presidency tells us that
These particular gifts differ from the many other blessings we may enjoy, such as talents, family associations, or perhaps specialized learning. So important are these spiritual gifts that the Savior urges us to seek them earnestly.
How do we know or find out what gifts of the Spirit have been given to us? How do we obtain these gifts? What are we supposed to do with our gift? Why do we receive a particular gift?
I grew up in the church. I believe that not everone who has been a member all their life has all the answers to these questions. We may not all have a full understanding of the gifts given to us by the spirit. Personally, I never really thought about what spiritual gifts have been given to me before now. To be honest, when Brother Llera asked me to speak about “Gifts of the Spirit”, I thought he meant just feeling the spirit and listening to the promptings of the Holy Ghost. As I read the talk from the Feb. 2002 Ensign by Robert D. Hales, I realized that each of us are given a Spiritual Gift when we receive the Holy Ghost. Some are given 1 or 2 gifts, and some may receive more. It is up to us to discover those gifts, and develop and strengthen them.
In Doctrine & Covenants 46:11-12 it states:
“For all have not every gift given unto them; for there are many gifts, and to every man is given a gift by the Spirit of God” “To some is given one, and to some is given another, that all may be profited thereby”
Robert D. Hales explains that the phrase “that all may be profited thereby” is a very important concept to understand about the gifts of the Spirit. The gifts given to each individual are given not only for the one who receives, but also for those who can benefit when the gift is shared with others.
For example, you may be given the gift of faith and never question the existence of God, our Heavenly Father, and His Son, Jesus Christ.
In Doctrine & Covenants 46:13-14 and 19-20 it says, “To some, it is given (meaning the gift of faith) to know that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, and that he was crucified for the sins of the world. To others it is given to believe on their words, that they also might have eternal life if they continue faithful.”
“And again, to some it is given to have faith to be healed; and to others it is given to have faith to heal.”
As I started reading the talk by Robert D. Hales and understanding that Gifts of the Spirit meant more than just feeling the spirit, I realized that I do have some of these gifts. One of them would be the gift of Faith. Throughout my life, I have never questioned the church. I never doubted that Joseph Smith knelt in prayer and received the revelation he received. I have always believed that Christ visited this earth and died for each of us. I have always believed that Christ will come again. I never knew that this was a special gift of Faith given to me by the spirit.
(1 Corinthians 12:4–10) says:
“Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit.
“And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord.
“And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all.
“But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal.
“For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit;
“To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit;
“To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues.”
There are many gifts. Elder Bruce R. McConkie of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles wrote, “Spiritual gifts are endless in number and infinite in variety”
Elder Marvin J. Ashton of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles pointed out some less conspicuous but very important gifts: I, myself, could use a few of these gifts in my life. . .“the gift of asking; the gift of listening; the gift of hearing and using a still, small voice; the gift of being able to weep; the gift of avoiding contention; the gift of being agreeable; the gift of avoiding vain repetition; the gift of seeking that which is righteous; the gift of not passing judgment; the gift of looking to God for guidance; the gift of being a disciple; the gift of caring for others; the gift of being able to ponder; the gift of offering prayer; the gift of bearing a mighty testimony; and the gift of receiving the Holy Ghost.”
In Doctrine & Covenants Section 46 Verse 24 reads:
“And again, it is given to some to speak with tongues: and to another is given the interpretation of tongues.” I read letters from my brother, McKenzie on his mission every week. Almost every week he tells me how well he is doing with the Russian language. He has had quite a few members tell him they don't believe he is American because he speaks the language so well. The gift of tongues is given to missionaries to be able to teach the gospel to the nations of the world.. How amazing it must be to go to the MTC only knowing English, and coming out a few weeks later speaking a different language.
To find the gifts we have been given, we must pray and fast. Also, if we have received and continue to read over our patriarchal blessings, we may find in there the gifts we have received. Through Patriarchal Blessings, we may also find the promise of gifts we CAN OBTAIN if we seek after them.
So, how do we OBTAIN gifts?
After we are baptized, we receive the gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands. After receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, we are able to obtain the gifts of the holy spirit. We need to be worthy. In his talk, Robert D. Hales reminds us that access to the gifts of the Holy Ghost is guaranteed only when we live our lives in harmony with the principles of the gospel. There was a period of time following the Savior's earthly ministry when these gifts were not active in the lives of God's children. The loss of these gifts resulted from a turning away from heavenly thoughts or acts and an acceptance of earthly gods.
Recently we have been reading scriptures as a family in the morning. . .doing this has lead me to get down on my knees to say my personal prayers each night. By improving this area of my life, I have felt a closeness to the Lord and a better companionship with the Holy Ghost.
If we continue faithful, and keep our lives in harmony with the principles of the gospel, we can continue to have access to these gifts.
We need to keep in mind that this isn't like a recipe. We can't expect to do these things, pray, fast, read our scriptures and go to church and we are set. We need to constantly be progressing.
In Doctrine & Covenants section 46, the Lord lists six qualifications to receive spiritual gifts: (1) They are not to be sought as signs (see D&C 46:9); (2) they are to be used in the service of others (see D&C 46:12, 26); (3) we should ask “in the Spirit” (D&C 46:30); (4) they are to be used “in the name of Christ” (D&C 46:31); (5) we must thank God “for whatsoever blessing [we] are blessed with” (D&C 46:32); and (6) we “must practise virtue and holiness before [the Lord] continually”
President George Q. Cannon as he served as First Counselor in the First Presidency said:
“If any of us are imperfect, it is our duty to pray for the gift that will make us perfect. … No man ought to say, ‘Oh, I cannot help this; it is my nature.’ He is not justified in it, for the reason that God has promised to give strength to correct these things, and to give gifts that will eradicate them. If a man lack wisdom, it is his duty to ask God for wisdom. The same with everything else. That is the design of God concerning His Church. He wants His Saints to be perfected in the truth. For this purpose He gives these gifts, and bestows them upon those who seek after them, in order that they may be a perfect people upon the face of the earth”
In an article in the March 2005 Ensign, Elder Mervyn B. Arnold said:
Think about the impact on this world if everyone would seek the sacred gift “given by the Holy Ghost to know that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, and that he was crucified for the sins of the world” (D&C 46:13). Or what if everyone sought the gift of forgiving?
He tells us that
To receive a gift we must “practise virtue and holiness before” the Lord continually (D&C 38:24), and we “must grow in grace and in the knowledge of the truth” (D&C 50:40). We must “ask of God, who giveth liberally; … in all holiness of heart, walking uprightly … , doing all things with prayer and thanksgiving” (D&C 46:7). When we ask for a gift, our will must be aligned with God’s will .
Why do we receive a particular gift?
Mervyn B. Arnold tells us that the purpose of spiritual gifts, among other things, is to give us strength, lead us to do good, help us resist temptation, encourage and edify us, increase our wisdom, help us judge righteously, and help us qualify for eternal life.
I'd say that eternal life alone is a pretty good incentive to magnify any gift of the spirit.
What are we supposed to do with our gift
Robert D. Hales speaks of the gift of charity. He tell us to use charity or the pure love of Christ and give service for the right reasons. Charity is the ability to make life more meaningful for others. What a statement. Charity is the ability to make life more meaningful for others. That is absolute selflessness.
He says that: if we have these gifts and do not give of them to lift and to strengthen those around us in a caring way, First Corinthians tells us “it profiteth us nothing”. In chapter 13 verses 2-5 it tells us “And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I AM NOTHING. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, IT PROFITETH ME NOTHING. Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up. Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh NO evil.”
So, I can discover all the spiritual gifts, and obtain all the spiritual gifts I can, but if I don't use them to help others, it will do NOTHING for me. And, I can't just run around helping others blindly, I have to do it in a caring way. I have to use the pure love of Christ, Charity Be selfless.
Robert D. Hales continues to tell us that there are times when we need to be lifted. There are times when we need to be strengthened. Be that kind of friend and that kind of person who lifts and strengthens others. Never make someone HAVE to choose between your ways and the Lord's ways. And always make sure that you're making it EASIER to live God's commandments for those who are by your side and who are your friends. Then you will understand whether you have charity.
He goes on to remind us that the reason we want to have the stability and strength of the gifts of the spirit is that we want to weather the storms when they come. We will be tried in this mortal probation. We don't want to decide to learn how to swim when the boat is already sinking. These gifts of the spirit can guide and enrich our lives. They can strengthen us spiritually and temporally. They can help us bless the lives of others. Most importantly, they can bring us comfort in times of trial. They can help us magnify our callings. They can help guide us in our relationships. They can help us avoid being deceived.
Charles Jefferson wrote: “The only thing which places a man above the beasts of the field is his possession of the spiritual gifts. … Man’s earthly existence is but a test as to whether he will concentrate his efforts, his mind, and his soul upon the things which contribute to the comfort and gratification of his physical instincts and passions, or whether he will make as his life’s end and purpose the acquisition of spiritual qualities.”
I believe many of us already have spiritual gifts. I also believe we sometimes fail to recognize these gifts, as I myself have done. We need to earnestly seek the spiritual gifts given to us as they are given to each of us as individuals for a reason. We need to expand and develop these spiritual gifts. By doing this, we will receive so many blessings here on earth, but most importantly, we will gain eternal life.