What is a simple definition of a Gift of the Spirit? I would suggest: A spiritual bestowal of power for the purpose of building the Kingdom of God. This bestowal of power is God’s Priesthood in action. It does not come upon us by passing a worthiness interview from a Church authority or by years of scholarly study. It is simply given to God’s humble servants because of their pure hearts and an eye single to His glory.
Here is a short list of different Gifts of the Spirit as listed by Moroni in the last chapter of the Book of Mormon. (Moroni 10: 9-16)
Teach the word of wisdom (Teach by the power of the Holy Ghost)
Teach the word of knowledge (Knowledge of God, from God)
To have great faith (asking, believing, expecting)
To heal in the name of Christ (As did Christ)
To work mighty miracles (Acts that defy science and reason.)
The beholding of Angels and Ministering Spirits (To see beyond the veil and receive instruction.)
To speak in tongues. (Not hindered by language barriers.)
To interpret different tongues and dialects.
It is good to have these gifts. God WANTS us to have these gifts.
Imagine with me a scenario as an appointed servant of God, sent into a violent and dangerous situation to both save physically and spiritually a broken person or people who have prayed to God for assistance. Which of these gifts I listed will you need? You may need every one of them. This list hardly comes close to listing all the gifts that God bestows upon those who serve him.
Here are two verses from the Isaiah portion of 1 Nephi. Isaiah is a manual for the Lord’s servants in the last days. Compare this translation to your own scriptures.
9 That you may say to those in bondage: You are free; to those who are without light: Come forth. They shall learn as they go, and the Lord shall comfort them!
10 They shall not hunger or thirst, neither shall the heat or the sun hurt them; for he that is their benefactor shall lead them, even by the pure revelations of God shall he guide them. (The 144,000)! (1 NE 21:9,10-Isaiah 49)
They shall not hunger or thirst for the Gifts of the Spirit, and shall not be burned in the presence of God, but He shall lead them and guide them in gathering Zion.
How will we gather Zion? There will be much to do and little time to do it. You will have to teach the pure and simple Doctrine of Christ, bind them up and bring them to Zion by miraculous means. It will be glorious!
What is the Doctrine of Christ? (3 Nephi 11:33-37)
Faith in Jesus Christ
Repent (Turn our hearts to Him)
Be baptized (A sign of our willingness to keep His commandments.)
Receive the Gift of the Holy Ghost. (Baptism of Fire)
It will not be a six discussion drawn out process. As God’s servants we will lay our hands upon them and the Holy Ghost will cleanse them with the Baptism of Fire and they will be prepared to gather to Zion and bear the presence of the Lord.
6 Behold, this is the doctrine of Christ, and there will be no more doctrine given until after he shall manifest himself unto you in the flesh. And when he shall manifest himself unto you in the flesh, the things which he shall say unto you shall ye observe to do.
7 And now I, Nephi, cannot say more; the Spirit stoppeth mine utterance, and I am left to mourn because of the unbelief, and the wickedness, and the ignorance, and the stiffneckedness of men; for they will not search knowledge, nor understand great knowledge, when it is given unto them in plainness, even as plain as word can be. (2 Nephi 32: 6-7)
Nephi was clear that this was all to be taught before baptism, but he wanted to share more. He suggested that the Lord wanted us to “search knowledge.” What kind of knowledge are we supposed to search for? The knowledge of God pertains to the Gifts of the Spirit. In these verses Nephi states what inhibits us from receiving this knowledge: unbelief, wickedness, ignorance, and stiffneckedness. I like that word “stiffneckedness,” because it implies that we are unwilling to look and see. All these words are related to each other. How well have YOU overcome your unbelief?
How can we prepare ourselves to receive the Gifts of the Spirit? How do we throw away our unbelief and prepare ourselves for what the Lord desires to give us?
Do we need to be perfect? (3 Nephi 12”48) “Be ye therefore perfect . . .”
What must be perfect? (D&C 4:5) “And faith, hope, charity and love, with an eye single to the glory of God, qualify him for the work.” I believe this is where we must focus our efforts.
A key scripture to study to understand how to receive the Gifts of the Spirit is in Either 12: 27 where Moroni states:
27 And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them.
Our weakness is the natural man within each of us. We all have sins and personal weaknesses, but the only way we can overcome our weakness is to turn to the Lord and he will make weak things strong unto us.
OK, so most of us are a bunch of weaklings. I get it. Like our physical muscles, our spiritual muscles require some persistent effort to overcome our weakness. The Lord is our coach and if we’re willing to put forth some effort you will see amazing results!
You need to exercise your faith, key word—EXERCISE!
When organizing an exercise routine, you get out of it what you put in. If you only stretch yourself once a week don’t expect huge results, but if it is a daily, carefully planned routine, pushing yourself to the limits, you will reach great heights. As with exercise, you may experience a period of muscle aches as your body (spiritual body) adapts to the new load. This is when the most growth occurs.
Excuses such as, “I don’t have the time—its not worth the effort—hurts too much— that makes me uncomfortable—what will others think??????” Psychologically we can come up with plenty of excuses, but it is true that our desires determine our fate. What matters the most to you? If we desire to be the Lord’s servant we must humble ourselves before the Lord and have faith in him.
The best way to put together a spiritual workout plan is to ask the Lord directly. But, it may be a good idea to approach him with your own plan and then ask for any modifications. Be specific, be bold, and be like the Brother of Jared. Watch out—here comes the best workout you’ll ever have.
Start your day with the Four Step Prayer, and really focus on each step. Allow your mind to visualize. https://purerevelations.wordpress.com/2014/12/01/four-steps-to-powerful-prayer/
Use your time driving, resting, and leisure time, praying or meditating on things of the Spirit. Come to the Lord with a list of things you want to know. Write them down and the answers you receive.
Proactively look for people you can serve and help. Whether they be family, neighbors, or even strangers. Never ever judge another. Think kind thoughts about drivers on the road, the panhandler, the ornery store clerk, pray for all of them. Be their advocate to the Father.
Be particularly sensitive to your spouse. Speak kindly, do service, especially the ones she likes you to do that you hate doing!
Study your scriptures as if they were the Urim and Thummim. Read them with the Spirit, without a companion guide and ask the Lord the meaning. Pray and ask the Lord where you should read.
Take time to be holy. Consider a few times a week fasting from dinner, awake around 3:00 AM and pour out your heart to God. Seek a vision from the Lord to teach you, seek for the Gifts of the Spirit. Cast away your unbelief and prepare for the Heavens to open to you.
As with any exercise routine, it will require discipline and endurance. Set a goal to keep to this for two weeks. Write your experience in your personal journal. It will get easier, then you raise the bar again. Cast aside any unbelief—it’s all worth it.