God is a God of variety, in the world and in His church. Each Christian has been given several gifts of the Spirit which are meant to build up other believers in the Body of Christ. As each believer employs his gifts, the church is edified.

Although you may believe that you have been given one or more gifts, actually knowing what it is - and using it - may be harder.

How to go about discovering your spiritual capacities:

* List the gifts. Become informed about the many gifts in order to recognize your own. You likely have more than one gift. Don't overrate the nature of gifts by thinking of them as something impressive when they may be quite ordinary. Instead of flamboyant, grandstand abilities, they may be silent, steady workings of the Holy Spirit.

* Go to work. The Holy Spirit grants gifts to every child of God. The extent to which the divine design is fulfilled depends on your faithfulness. Therefore, you should go to work immediately. Expose yourself to various kinds of Christian service, perhaps first in the area of natural abilities. Don't give up if you have some early failures. Be willing to try something new, that you previously thought you couldn't do.

* Note your inclinations. If you are drawn toward a certain area of service, your desire may point to the existence of that gift. To a degree, gifts shape your future. With God, your desire, gift, and calling are related. A gift usually will be preceded by desire and followed by opportunity to use it. Caution: the desire for a gift does not guarantee it. Final assignment belongs to God.

* Commit. If you have progressed to this point, it may be time to dedicate yourself and these potential gifts to the Lord. Consciously place your gifts in the Lord's service, expressing willingness to obey Him with your spiritual capacities.

* Develop your gifts. The existence of a gift is a call to exercise it. Gifts have been likened to seeds which start small and bloom with proper care. Cultivation of a gift may mean formal training, or being mentored by another person accomplished in the gift.

* Delight. When you find your gift(s), there will be joy. This is what I'd rather be doing for the Lord than anything else in the world. This is my thing. This turns me on. Your joy is subconsciously communicated to the recipients of your ministry.

* Let others discern. Because delight has subjective elements, submit your "eureka" feeling to the scrutiny of loving and discerning brethren. The confirmation that you do possess a gift is recognition of this gift by others.

* Gifts of the Spirit include: Speaking gifts: Apostolic gift, prophecy, evangelism, shepherding, teaching, exhortation, knowledge, and wisdom; Serving gifts: helps, hospitality, giving, government, showing mercy, faith, and discernment; Signifying gifts: miracles, healing, tongues, and interpretation. There will always be debate on the actual number of gifts. There are several lists in the Bible, and each differ somewhat.

From "19 Gifts of the Spirit" by Leslie B. Flynn.