“3) For through the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith. 4) For just as we have many members in one body and all the members do not have the same function, 5) so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. 6) Since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, each of us is to exercise them accordingly: if prophecy, according to the proportion of his faith; 7) if service, in his serving; or he who teaches, in his teaching; 8) or he who exhorts, in his exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.” Romans‬ ‭12‬:‭3‬-‭8‬ ‭
Notice in verse 6 Paul says; “Since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, each of us is to exercise them accordingly:…” These spiritual gifts are special graces given by God because they are all needed in the church. They are what makes us different from one another.
Do you ever wonder why you do the things you do or why others don’t value the things you prize in life? It is most likely because they are wired totally different. God has given them a grace gift to see the world through a different set of lenses.
In Romans 12:3-8 Paul lists the 7 motivational gifts. It may be that this list represents different personality profiles that God distributes within the body of Christ.
Over the years, many different personality guides have been developed in secular psychology. I have seen many of them. But by far the motivational gifts have helped me better understand myself and others more than any other system. It has helped me understand the people around me and grow to appreciate them.
I believe that each believer has one dominant motivational gift which becomes the window through which they view life. This basic motivation then shapes the way they respond to other people and how they approach their life situations. It shapes what grabs their attention, especially at church buisness meetings.
Understanding these basic motivations or personality types will help you understand yourself, your spouse, your family and friends and the people in your church community better. As this message unfolds, we will briefly look at the strengths and weakness of each grace gift and identify a biblical character that exemplifies each gift.
Take time to study this section carefully. I could write a separate section on each gift, but an overview will suffice. See which gift best describes you. Then identify someone in your family or church that best illustrates each gift. It would also be very helpful to identify which gift best describes your spouse.
Example: Peter Guiding Scripture: Romans 12:9 Characteristics of this Gift: 1) Need to express themselves especially in matters where right and wrong are involved. (Acts 2:14; 3:12; 4:8) 2) Tend to make quick judgments on what they see and hear, and often speaks before others. (Matt 14:28; 16:16; 16:22; 17:14) 3) Very discerning of anything deceptive or dishonest and often reacts harshly. (Acts 5:3-10) 4) Strong desire for justice but very harsh on those who sin or fall short. (Matthew 18:21-22) 5) Usually open about personal faults and failures. (Luke 5:8) 6) Loyalty to truth over relationships. (John 6:67-69) 7) Willing to suffer for the truth and doing right. (Acts 5:29-42)
Weaknesses inherent in this gift:
1) Tendency to expose a sinful person without taking care to restore them to fellowship. (Gal. 6:1, Matt 18:21-22) 2) Draw conclusions with out all the facts. 3) Rebuke people without love and demand immediate repentance without much grace. 4) Can be extremely self critical and self-condemning. (Mark 16:7) 5) Can be impulsive and make quick decisions. (John 13:6-10) 6) Lack tactfulness and while being painfully direct with people. (Matthew 16:21-22) 7) See everything as right or wrong while dwelling on the negative in people while not letting go of their past.
Example: Timothy Guiding Scripture: Romans 12:10 Characteristics of this gift: 1. Quickly sees and meets the needs of others. (Phil 2:20) 2. Receives joy from freeing other to minister. (Phil 2:22) 3. Disregard of self in completing tasks for others. (Phil 2:30) 4. Over committed because can’t say “no”. 5. Alert to peoples likes and dislikes in buying gifts. 6. Needs approval and affirmation. 7. Enjoys short-range projects.
Weaknesses inherent in this gift.
1. Sometimes the task becomes more important than people. 2. Neglect home front to serve others. 3. Sacrifice personal health for service. 4. Neglect God given priorities to volunteer. 5. React to others who can’t see obvious needs to tackle. 6. Resent lack of appreciation from others. 7. Frustrated with time limits.
Example: Luke Guiding Scripture: Romans 12:11 Characteristics of this gift. 1. Need validation of information. (Luke 1:4) 2. Check out background and credentials of teachers. (Luke 1:3) 3. Rely on established resources and teachers. (Acts 17:11) 4. Content presented in systematic and logical fashion. (Luke 1:3) 5. Take time to gather facts and research everything. (Acts 1:1) 6. Requires thoroughness in presenting details. 7. Tries to clarify misunderstandings.
Weaknesses inherent in this gift.
1. Potential to become proud of Knowledge. (I Cor. 8:1) 2. Despise people with less formal credentials. 3. Dependency on human reasoning. (I Cor. 1:20-31) 4. So literal they miss Spirit filled principles. (I Cor. 2:6-16) 5. Conform Scripture to a personal theological bias. 6. Thinking logically to extreme or unbalanced conclusions. 7. Arguing over minor points or monopolizing discussions.
Example: Paul Guiding Scripture: Romans 12:12 Characteristics of this gift: 1. Committed to seeing people grow and mature. (Col. 1:28) 2. Quickly discern hindrances to growth. (I Cor. 3:1-7) 3. Develop step by step plans to help people grow. (II Tim 2:22-23) 4. Shares personal motivational stories to encourage hope. 5. Can easily turn problems into benefits. (II Cor. 1:1-7) 6. Gains wisdom and insight from personal experience. 7. Seek sincere relational connection with people. (I Thess. 2:7-12)
Weaknesses inherent in this gift:
1. Sacrifice family and loved ones to serve others. 2. Tendency to became a “fix it” person in the lives of others. 3. Become proud or take credit for the growth of others. 4. Tendency to start new project without finishing old ones. 5. Turning people into projects rather than sincerely loving. 6. Becoming overly transparent in sharing private stories. 7. Avoid solid doctrine in favor or practical application.
Example: Matthew Guiding Scripture: Romans 12:13 Characteristics of this gift: 1. Can easily see resources needed for the work. 2. Often invests self with the gift. 3. Desire to give high quality for lasting value. 4. Desires that gift matches a special need. 5. Finds joy in giving secretly to worthwhile causes. 6. Exercises personal thriftiness and is fiscally conservative. 7. Uses giving approaches that motivate others to give.
Weaknesses inherent in gift:
1. Hording resources for self he if doesn’t believe in cause. 2. Using giving to control or manipulate others. 3. Feeling guilty about personal success or assets. 4. Give to projects instead of people. 5. Reject pressure appeals for giving. 6. Neglect providing for own family to have more to give. 7. Cause people to look to him for supply rather than God.
Example: Nehemiah Guiding Scripture: Romans 12:14 Characteristics of this gift: 1. Able to visualize steps needed to complete task. (Neh. 2:7-8) 2. Need for loyalty in his team. (Neh. 5:1-13) 3. Ability to recruit others and delegate tasks. (Neh. 4:13) 4. Can withstand critics and opposition to task. (Neh. 4:8-18) 5. Breaks the project down to many easy small jobs. (Neh. 3:1-32) 6. Decisive and alert to details. 7. Perseveres through to completion and clean up.
Weaknesses inherent in gift:
1. Viewing people as resources to complete a task. 2 Showing favoritism to loyal people on the team. 3 Misusing delegation to avoid personal work. 4 Putting projects ahead of the value of people. 5 Overlooking workers faults or expressed needs. 6 Failure to clearly explain a process or give credit to others. 7 Forcing personal decisions or procedures on others.
Example: John Guiding Scripture: Romans 12:15 Characteristic of the gift: 1. Deep loyalty to and defense of friends. (Luke 9:54) 2. Need for deep and affirming friendships. (John 21:7 &20) 3. Empathize with hurting people. 4. Tries not to hurt or offend people. 5. Attract people in distress or in crisis. 6. Measures acceptance by closeness. 7. Values the firmness of mature prophets.
Weaknesses inherent in gift.
1. Take up the offenses of someone being hurt. 2. Overlook faults to make things better for people. 3. Failure to be firm with people in pointing out sin. 4. Leaning on emotions rather than reason. 5. Becoming emotionally attached to those being counseled… which opens a door for temptation. 6. Bailing people out of the personal consequences of sin. 7. Cutting off insensitive people who are to hard on others.
As you look this list, you might notice that some people might be wired in such a way as to have conflict with others with different motivations. This is especially true for the person with a prophecy motivation and the person with the grace motivation.
Many church splits are rooted in different motivational gifts. The mercy person sees the prophecy person as being to rigid and hard on people. The prophet is very black and white. Likewise, the prophecy person sees the mercy person as being too lenient on the failures of others and way too compassionate. The mercy person is almost blind to faults in others. Meanwhile, the giver complains that everyone is wasting money on needless things.
The truth is that opposites are needed in the body of Christ. Each of the seven lenses are important to a healthy church.
As you grow and mature “in Christ”, you will develop character qualities related to each grace gift, but one will most likely remain predominant. You will also begin to value people you previously shunned. They will cover your back in area’s that don’t even come up on your radar screen!
Daily Bible Commentary By Terry Baxter: Cofounder of GoServ Global