How to Discern and Use the Gifts of the Spirit

Understanding the gifts of the spirit can feel very overwhelming. 

It can feel foreign. It can feel fake. 

If you’ve ever seen that movie, My Blue Heaven, where there’s like a fake prophet, it could feel like this is all fake. 

Or the ones when you see Benny Hinn and people pass out when he speaks into the mic.

When a lot of people think about the gifts of the spirit, they can feel like it’s just phony and fake. 

So on our topic today, I really wanna talk to you about understanding and discerning and the gifts of the spirit. 

I often tell you guys that I did not grow up this way. 

I grew up feeling like that people that speak in tongues are crazy and that it’s a cult.

That people that say they hear God are just faking to get people to give them money, that is how I grew up. 

I’m not saying that’s what our pastor taught us. 

I’m just saying that it is just what I believe based upon whatever my experiences have been, and whatever it is I’ve been doing, that has been my experience.

And so it was not until I got filled with the Holy Spirit when I went to a non-denominational church in 2008.

I really started to experience people that were operating in the gifts of the spirit.

And I won’t even lie to you. I was freaked out.

I was really, really creeped out in this church, but I was also so curious and I kind of loved it, like a part of me loved it, part of me hated it.

But I think the curious part of me actually loved it. 

And so as a result of being in this church for a while and then getting prayer and receiving the gifts of speaking in tongues, being filled with the Holy Spirit, I started having these different experiences.

And so anytime that I am trying to help somebody understand what is happening as it pertains to understanding the gifts of the spirit, I always let people know that I’m just like them. 

That I came from whatever my background was, whatever your background is, and not believing or knowing that this stuff exists and this stuff is real.

So let’s get into it. 

So one of the first things to know about discerning, or the gifts of the spirit in general is that it’s really important for you to first go to the Bible. 


Let’s go onto what are the gifts of the spirit.

1 Corinthians 12:4-11

4 There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. 5 There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. 6 There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work.

7 Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. 8 To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, 9 to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, 10 to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues,[a] and to still another the interpretation of tongues.[b] 11 All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines.

So you have the gift of wisdom, knowledge, faith, healing, miracles, prophecy, the gift of speaking in tongues and interpreting tongues.

So that’s seven! There’s seven gifts of the spirit. 

Now, I know you’re probably saying, “well, they’re only given to special people”

No, this doesn’t say anything about this being given to special people. 

It says it is given to people.

Brothers and sisters, I want you to know about the gifts of the Holy Spirit. 

You know that at one time you were unbelievers, you were somehow drawn away to worship statues and without the help of the Holy Spirit, no one can say Jesus is Lord.

So these gifts, these kinds of gifts, are given to the believers by the same spirit. 

So it’s by believers, not just the pastor or the special lady with the special clothes? 

No, this is given to us but it’s up to us to actually seek out what are the gifts that God has given us? 

And what does He want to give to us?

So when I first started on this journey, I would say that I didn’t have a gift of nothing. 

I’m sure it was always in me, but I would’ve said, I have a gift of nothing. 

Once I was a part of this church and then I started to get filled with the Holy Spirit. 

Like some things just started to happen.

I started having this belief that anything could happen. That anything was possible. 

Now, it’s not like I went from one day, not having any kind of faith to like the next day just having all faith for 10,000 men. 

But I just kind of started watching me have the courage to believe that they’re just have faith.

And so over the next year or so, people started saying, wow, you’ve got such big faith. 

And I’m like, I don’t have big faith.

I’m just trying. 

And I just kept trying different things. 

But what I started to realize and what I shared with you today is that one of the ways to discern the gifts of the spirit or that even in your own self is ask yourself, you can go back to your mom or your dad or whoever raised you.

If there is somebody that can tell you this and ask them, when you think about me, what, how would you describe me? 

Would you say that I’ve faith, I’m very smart, what would you say? 

But also if you’re in a church environment and you have pastors, leaders or what have you, you’re in a small group environment where people are getting to know you, you’re in fellowship with people.

Then I would just ask them, not saying they’re gonna pinpoint and say you are a prophet, but I just want you to just hear what other people are saying about you. 

For me, because people kept saying I had big faith, I started to go, “Do I have big faith?” 

And then I started to watch people who always come to me for prayer.

Not because I was the only person that could “get a prayer through” but because people just felt like I had such big faith.

And so the people would bring me all types of people that were just needing prayer for whatever. 

And so I started having this, oh, I think I have a gift of faith.

And so the more I’ve been in relationship with God and things of that nature, I hear all the time that I have the gift of prophecy and I hear that I have the gift of wisdom. 

Doesn’t mean I have all the gifts and you have none or whatever, but I’m just constantly hearing over and over again.

You got faith, a gift of wisdom and a gift of prophecy.

 But I would never have said it about myself. 

I would never have said I have the gift of prophecy by any means.

The first time I was in a class and they were teaching on prophetic gifts. 

I was freaking out, you know, I was like, Oh No.

They were like, everybody get up, choose a partner and everybody’s gonna prophecy. 

I said, Oh No. I said, if I prophesy and I get it wrong, I will never prophesy ever again. 

And so I sat down and the teacher said, it is perfectly okay because it was me protecting myself to make sure that I didn’t get it wrong and I wouldn’t do it again.

I was like, let me just be in this environment and learn and so that’s what I did. 

But nowadays I’m not scared to prophesy because I’ve gone through a couple years of school, learning how to hear God and how to share whatever it is that God is saying.

But as it pertains to discerning the gifts of the Spirit is, first of all, you’ve gotta get in an environment where they believe and they operate in them.

It’s hard to believe in the prophetic if your church or your community is, nobody talks about the gift of prophecy, nobody’s prophesying.

 It’s hard to believe that. 

It’s hard to believe that somebody can interpret tongues if people don’t speak in tongues at your church.

 It’s really, really hard to believe in that gift.

And so you’ve gotta get in an environment where people are actually operating with those gifts. 

I’m not saying the pastor has all the things, they’re always prophesying over you, but you’ve gotta get an environment because the more you’re in an environment, you start to be aware of things. 

For example, right now I live in an apartment and I’ve started the process of preparing to buy a home, and I had never thought about buying a home.

It wasn’t crossing my mind but now that it is crossing my mind, I am noticing a lot of for sale signs. 

I’m noticing different things about lending and borrowing. 

There’s certain things that are starting to come in that it’s always been there.

But I’m more aware of it because I’m in the process of learning about buying a home before I literally start that whole process or what have you.

And so like if you’re gonna learn how to discern, when God is talking to you, when a word of wisdom or a word of knowledge is in operation, when the prophetic, if you’re gonna notice when these things are happening, you’ve gotta get in those environments. 

For example, last night I taught a business class online.

And then I wanna get to my church because we were having what we call an encounter night.

Where we’re like worshiping and all the things because we’ve been on the 21 day fast. 

And as soon as I walked into the church, I walked into the regular building and then when I walked into the sanctuary, there was just this presence.

And when I was looking at everybody, you could just tell everybody had gotten to this place and it was, it wasn’t quiet, but worship was happening. 

But it was the Holy Spirit that was moving on everybody in that environment. 

And as I was walking up to put my purse down, I was just like, wow, what something is happening in here?

And I am so glad that I’m here, I put my purse down, and then I found somewhere to stand and I just stood there.

Just, Wow! What was happening in the room. 

Not to mention they had asked, was anybody needed healing for anything?

I raised my hand, people praying for me and then when they finished, one of the guys I was praying asked me to sit down and he just started talking to me like a dad.

And I’m having this moment of, okay, this is not a business talk. 

This is a dad talking to me. Let me listen in.

And when he started to pray, I was like, okay, let’s let him pray but then I can feel the sensitivity.

I can feel myself being sensitive to what was happening. 

And I just let myself cry and I said, okay, what is happening?

And one, I felt love.

And it wasn’t about the guy or his fantastic prayer.

It was, I just felt God’s love. 

I just felt his presence through that time of him being willing to pray for me. 

But you know, people pray for me all the time, but it’s like once you get in certain types of environments, you just sense things, you feel different things.

I pray for people all the time and it’s like when I’m praying for people, I start to sense certain things. 

I think it was one lady, we were all in worship and I was in the back and I was just worshiping. 

I could see this lady crying and praying for her son or whatever.

And I just like, I can just sense that I needed to go and hug her because I carry this joy and that it is just something that I carry.

And so I was just like, I just kept feeling the need to go and hug her, but I was like, I don’t wanna be weird.

And so eventually I went back to her, asked a couple questions, and I was like, can I give you a hug? 

And she said, yes and when I started to hug her, she just broke down crying.

And then I could just feel all of her pain and I couldn’t stop laughing. 

And so I was laughing and laughing.

And the more I laughed, the more she cried and she cried. 

And eventually she started to laugh. 

And you know, the Bible says that joy is like medicine. 

And so I’m like releasing joy to her and it’s breaking off all the heaviness that she’s feeling. 

And then eventually the heaviness is gone.

And now she’s able to laugh and then when the laughter stopped, I knew to let her go, and I let her go. 

And she goes, oh my God, I needed that so much. 

And I was like, Oh, Okay. 

I was sensing the gift, I was sensing this moment, it was this wisdom, this knowledge to go and do this thing with this person.

And when I did, she had an experience.

There was another guy we were praying for him, everybody was praying for everybody and I just touched him and I could just feel like I just felt so loved. 

I felt like he just loved people so much and then I felt like he loved kids so much and I just kept touching his heart and I was just like, oh my God, you’ve got a father’s heart.

It is so beautiful. 

And I could not let go of this guy’s heart and I didn’t know who he was. 

Well, a week later I’m in a session where I agreed to volunteer at the children’s church. 

It’s the children’s pastor! 

And I did not know you were the children’s pastor.

He goes, well, I knew when you were praying. 

I said, but I didn’t know who you were and so for me it was like I was sensing that, but I couldn’t have gotten that if I was not in that kind of environment. 

So this is not me telling you that you need to leave your church.

It might be, but I’m not saying you need to go and leave your church. 

What I am saying is that if your desire is to be a part of 1 Corinthians 12 and be operating in the gifts of the Holy Spirit, then you have got to get an environment where people are talking about the gifts, where people are operating in the gifts.

A lot of people don’t really realize it, that all of us can actually prophecy. 

We’re not all called to the office of a prophet, but we can all prophesy.

What does that mean? 

That means that God can speak to all of us and speak to another person or  everybody because it’s just like a relationship.

It’s like if you have a relationship with God, he can talk to you and then he can call out.

So last night, I was teaching a webinar on how to prepare your business before you go viral.

 And there was a lady during the QandA and she said, she does what she does. 

She’s an Uber driver and she does car karaoke as an Uber driver. 

And she’s got like 200,000 followers on TikTok.

And she was asking me, she said, do you think I should start a course on how people can be Uber drivers? 

And as she said it, I felt it in my spirit, God was like, No, she’s not gonna create a course.

And I said, No, I don’t think you should create a course. 

And I started talking to her about being an influencer.

And as I started saying those words, I couldn’t feel any electric shocks.

Like the Holy Spirit saying, stay right there and say that. 

And I said, Oh, I feel the Holy Spirit on this. 

And I said it out loud and I said, this is how I see, this is what you could be doing and God is saying, and I just started telling her on this webinar with all these business people.

And I was like, and you could get sponsored by this brand and this brand and this brand.

And everybody in the whole room was, What is going on? 

I was just telling her, this is what God is saying that you should do. 

And so, but I don’t know if she’s ever been in a prophetic environment. 

I don’t know that. 

But she paid for the webinar, so she got what God had for her.

And so that’s the same thing that can happen to you and that kind of environment, but it’s also how you can happen to other people because we could be anywhere and anything happened. 

That’s one I wanna say because I can go on and on and on about this topic.

But if you wanna learn about the gifts of the Holy Spirit and you wanna be able to discern them, you’ve gotta get an environment that is going to help you and equip you. 

I did two years of ministry school. 

I did three months of a dream interpretation class, biblical. 

I watched all these videos, these CDs, these DVDs for like a couple years of learning, understanding dreams.

I’ve done all this stuff and I continue to do all this stuff because if I won’t be in this life forever, then I wanna constantly be in communion with all this. 

In addition, the bible identifies 25 different spiritual gifts that are still in operation today, and it may be surprising to you, but one or some may also lie within YOU!

We have created this simple quiz that is designed to be a guide for you. 

Today your results may say one thing, but in six months as you grow, it may reveal something else. 

Take the quiz and be sure to share it with your friends.