Principles governing the use of Gifts of the Holy Spirit

T. J. de Ruiter, Pentecostal Pastor & Bible Teacher in The Netherlands


It is always a frustrating problem when carnal Christians, sometimes even living in gross sin, are found speaking in tongues, prophesying or using other gifts of the Holy Spirit. It always give rise to questions that not everybody can answer easily. While I am not pretending to be the first one to to offer a biblical and theological solution I will try to explain a viewpoint that will help us to understand how the charisma - the gifs - given by the Holy Spirit operate through the believers.

The use of the gifts, an human responsibility

It is evident that the Holy Spirit installs these gifts - read 1 Corinthians 11 - in the spirit of the individual believer. From that initial moment of endowment the believer can make use of these special faculties or powers. They are his possession, but in the sense that he is a steward of them. They will operate from his spirit and under his responsibility, (1 Corinthians 14:32). It is also clear in the light of Scriptural teachings, that the believer is only to use the gifts when he is in fellowship with the Lord. Out of union with the Lord the gifts can become instruments of his confused, darkened spirit. The believer shall at all times be held accountable for the abuse of Gods gifts.

If the believer lives a carnal life, not living in union with the Holy Spirit, there is a great danger that the gifts are manipulated by his fleshly nature, or even by evil- or unclean spirits, for if he is more or less under their influence. The gifts could even become expressions of what is called by some psychic powers, pure manifestation of soulish forces. When we understand this, it makes at once clear how many charismatic believers and churches fell into utter confusion due to a wrong use of the gifts.

The believer has the responsibilty to allow the Holy Spirit of God to continually inspire his spirit with fresh insight, faith and power and to keep his intentions in ministry pure and holy. A life of prayer and intimate communion in the Spirit with the Lord is of vital importance to be sure that the gifts, when used, are controled by the Holy Spirit. Jesus, though the Son of God, as a human being had to obey that process of prayer, in which his human spirit communicated with His Father and the Father with His spirit. In true communion and prayer between man and God, each of them is sending and receiving.

Principles for the use of spiritiual gifts.

1. The believer is a steward of the spiritual gifts with which he is endowed.
2. The gifts should be used in fellowship with- and in dependance upon the Lord.
3. The Spirit of God gives to the believer the responsiblity how he uses the gift. This means, for instance in
     the case of prophecying, that he remains responsible for the utterance
4. The Lord keeps the power and the freedom to inspire and control at any moment
     the use of the gifts by the believer.
5. The practical value and results of the use of the gifts must be submitted for
     evaluation to the body of believers.

If we are a spirit-filled believer and use the spiritual gifts, we should be conscious of our grave responsibility to walk holy and humbly before the Lord, maintaining an intimate fellowship with Him.

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Site 1,  'Inspiration & Insight' since 1997 / page update 27 June 2011 / Pastor T. J. de Ruiter / The Netherlands