by Ray Stedman
Read the Scripture: 1 Corinthians 12:7-16
You are unique, unreproducible, and irreplaceable. In all the universe, there is no one who looks exactly like you, thinks your thoughts, or feels your feelings. Above all, there is no other Christian in the world who is equipped and gifted like you. Within you, permeating your being, is a uniquely designed pattern of spiritual gifts. The body of Christ needs you and the gifts which the Spirit has uniquely bestowed upon you.
7Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. 8To one there is given through the Spirit the message of wisdom, to another the message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, 9to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, 10to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues. 11All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he gives them to each one, just as he determines. 12The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body. So it is with Christ. 13For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. 14Now the body is not made up of one part but of many. 15If the foot should say, "Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body," it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body. 16And if the ear should say, "Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body," it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body. (NIV)
The church is primarily and fundamentally a body designed to express through each unique, individual member the life of the indwelling Lord. Every member of the body is equipped by the Holy Spirit with gifts designed to express that life. Once you become fully aware that God Himself has uniquely equipped you with spiritual gifts, and that He has strategically placed you exactly where he wants you in order to use those gifts, then you enter a whole new dimension of exciting possibilities! In all the world there is no experience more satisfying and fulfilling than to realize that you have been the instrument of the divine plan which God is working out in the world, in human history, and in the lives of the people around you. Such an experience awaits any true Christian who is willing to discover and use the spiritual gifts which God has given.
Discovering our spiritual gifts is not something we do by taking a self-test, like one of those true-or-false quizzes in a magazine. It takes time. It takes thought. It takes Scripture study. It takes interaction with other Christians. Above all, it requires that we submit ourselves to the authority of the Head of the body, Jesus Christ, who reserves to Himself the right to coordinate and direct its activities.