Gifts of the Spirit

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Question: What spiritual gifts have we been given that will help us build God’s kingdom?

Answer: 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...the Lord encourages His children to “seek…earnestly the best gifts, always remembering for what they are given” (Doctrine and Covenants 46:8).

The Lord blesses His children in many ways according to their faithfulness and their needs and the needs of those they serve. It is our right and responsibility to accept our gifts and to share them with others.

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1 Corinthians 12:8-10

8 For to one (faithful member) is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom (the gift of wisdom); to another the word of knowledge (the gift of acquiring and retaining knowledge) by the same Spirit;

9 To another faith (another member is given the gift of faith) by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit;

10 To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy (the gift of knowing the future); to another discerning of spirits (the gift of detecting evil or seeing the good in others); to another divers kinds of tongues (the gift of tongues, which includes the ability to quickly learn a foreign language); to another the interpretation of tongues:

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Elder Marvin J. Ashton, Of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles:

One of the great tragedies of life, it seems to me, is when a person classifies himself as someone who has no talents or gifts. When, in disgust or discouragement, we allow ourselves to reach depressive levels of despair because of our demeaning self-appraisal, it is a sad day for us and a sad day in the eyes of God. For us to conclude that we have no gifts when we judge ourselves by stature, intelligence, grade-point average, wealth, power, position, or external appearance is not only unfair but unreasonable.

From D&C 46:11–12, we have this truth: “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.” ...

We must remember that to every man is given a gift by the Spirit of God. It is our right and responsibility to accept our gifts and to share them. God’s gifts and powers are available to all of us. Time will permit my emphasizing only a few of these God-given gifts.

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1. The Gift to Ponder

As I study the scriptures, I am challenged and moved by the word ponder used so frequently in the Book of Mormon. Dictionaries say that ponder means to weigh mentally, think deeply about, deliberate, meditate.

By pondering, we give the Spirit an opportunity to impress and direct. Pondering is a powerful link between the heart and the mind. As we read the scriptures, our hearts and minds are touched. If we use the gift to ponder, we can take these eternal truths and realize how we can incorporate them into our daily actions....

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2. The Gift to Look to God for Direction

How often have we ourselves said or have heard others exclaim in times of crisis or trouble, “I just don’t know where to turn”?

If we will just use it, there is a gift available to all of us—the gift of looking to God for direction. Here is an avenue of strength, comfort, and guidance....

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3. The Gift to Hear and Use the Small Voice

Still, small heavenly voices penetrate the heart with their gentle, convincing declarations:

“And it came to pass that while they were thus conversing one with another, they heard a voice as if it came out of heaven; and they cast their eyes round about, for they understood not the voice which they heard; and it was not a harsh voice, neither was it a loud voice; nevertheless, and notwithstanding it being a small voice it did pierce them that did hear to the center, insomuch that there was no part of their frame that it did not cause to quake; yea, it did pierce them to the very soul, and did cause their hearts to burn” (3 Ne. 11:3).

Most often, hope, encouragement, and direction come from a soft, piercing voice....Remember that one of our greatest gifts is the small voice of the Holy Ghost whispering directions in our lives and making mighty testimonies possible.

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4. The Gift to Calm

What a majestic gift it is to be able to calm others! We thank God for those who are calm instead of contentious.

“For verily, verily I say unto you, he that hath the spirit of contention is not of me, but is of the devil, who is the father of contention, and he stirreth up the hearts of men to contend with anger, one with another” (3 Ne. 11:29)....

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5. The Gift to Care

How grateful we should be for families, friends, and organizations who care! They make life easier and more meaningful. They, too, reap rewards in their Christlike caring when they serve for the right reasons. Leaders on every level should be primarily interested in rendering compassionate caring for others....

“And behold, I tell you these things that ye may learn wisdom; that ye may learn that when ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God” (Mosiah 2:17).

“And to every man is given a gift” (D&C 46:11). This is true. God help us to recognize, develop, and share our gifts that all may profit thereby is my earnest hope and plea.

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Sources: Come, Follow Me–For Individuals and Families, p. 135; The New Testament Made Easier, Part 2, Volume 3, by David J. Ridges, 167; Excerpts from General Conference, November 1987, “There are Many Gifts,” by Marvin J. Ashton of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.