A couple of months ago I found an old book of mine (in Zeke’s house, of all places). It’s like the Strengths Finder book, except for Christian spiritual gifts.
It’s an intermediate level book for Christians who are about five years old in the faith. I think I did it when I was 17 and I was born again when I was 11. Think of it as a black belt-level book, where you’ve mastered the fundamentals and hardened your body but your natural specialties are only just beginning to show.
The 3 Colors of Ministry presents a holistic approach to identifying and developing your spiritual gifts. It is based on the three dimensions of God’s nature, for which the author has chosen the colors of green, red and blue.
I’d have picked green, red, and white to match Dante but you can’t expect a German author to have good taste. Here’s a quick visual introduction to the ideas.
My gifts inventory won’t surprise anybody.
- Discernment (Blue)
- Voluntary Poverty (Green)
- Teaching (Red)
- Wisdom (Green)
- Knowledge (Green)
These are the important ones because they don’t require any development in order to use them effectively (although they obviously benefit from it). All of these labels are self-descriptive except for “Discernment”, which has a technical meaning somewhat similar to the meaning I assign it in Aeolitalk. Ophiucuck recently said he believes I have the gift of prophecy, but this is probably what he was referring to.
The gift of discernment
This gift enables Christians to know for sure whether a given behavior originates from a divine, human, or satanic source.
The gift of discernment is part of God’s providential protection against error. It can express itself on a natural level by enabling Christians to distinguish between truth and deception. It can also provide them with insight into the deepest sources of truth and deception, thus entering into the supernatural realm.
When you’re trying to fool me, I’d advise you to remember I’ve had this gift for almost 19 years now. Probably my biggest problem is I’m too nice about pointing out the behavior because I’m so accustomed to people lying to themselves and others as their only real coping mechanism for the anxiety that accompanies conceit. There have been multiple occasions where I pretended not to know in order to get along with people, which was a sinful thing to do.
Matthew 16:22-23, Acts 5:1-10, Acts 8:18-24, Acts 13:6-12, Acts 16:16-22, 1 Corinthians 12:10, 1 Thessalonians 5:19:22, 1 John 4:1-6.
Public relations, counseling, deliverance ministry, ministry to the underprivileged, church board member, evangelistic campaigns, preaching, prayer team ministry, long-term planning…
I expect the Inquisition has greater demand at the moment.
- Some Christians who have this gift tend to be unloving and coldhearted in exercising it. Others do not apply the gift to the edification of the church. They have difficulty confronting others and therefore, choose to remain silent.
I want to make an excuse here but “extreme ownership”…truth is nobody actually kills heretics anymore, the worst you get is alienation.
- Some Christians who have this gift can be wrong at times. Anyone who acts as if he or she is infallible is not suited for this ministry.
- Some people with this gift tend to develop a “spirit of criticism” that can cause them to criticize almost everything.
Tips for training this gift
- A solid biblical foundation is a prerequisite for a responsible exercise of this gift.
I should call my dad and thank him profusely for giving me a thorough grounding in the Bible as a kid. The feeling of going out in the world after being homeschooled is not unlike when you watch Idiocracy.
- Make sure that the practice of this gift is confirmed by others.
- Exercise this gift with love. Ask God to bless you with an extra amount of sensitivity.
- Suppose someone were to stand up in your worship service and exclaim, “This part of the sermon is inconsistent with the word of God!” What would happen?
- How and when is this gift used in your church?
All of the gifts have descriptions like this. There are also “latent gifts” that aren’t as important because they aren’t so much natural strengths as untapped potential that, if expressed in the course of Christian maturation, will even out your spiritual personality a bit.
- Deliverance (blue)
- Mercy (green)
- Prayer (blue)
- Faith (blue)
- Evangelism (red)
If you’re a new Christian you should be aware that something like this is supposed to be in your future. The Western church may be in shambles right now (like a lot of our institutions) but we actually have a lot of well-organized resources sitting around. The key is to have someone who’s a bit more mature in the faith mentor you with the right resources at the right times…so I guess I should make up a rough curriculum.