The Epistle to the Romans chapter 12 verses six through eight list seven heavenly gifts that Elohim the Creator givers to humans. According to Paul, the author of Romans, Elohim has given one or more of these gifts to every human ever born (Rom 12:3). All humans are born with one or more of these gifts. These gifts can be used for good, if motivated and informed by the higher influences of the mind, will and Spirit of Elohim, or they can also be used for selfishness and evil if motivated and under the control of the lower influences of the world, the flesh and the devil. A human can also use these gifts while under the influence of both the upper and lower influences.
These divinely imparted gifts are referred to as both motivational or redemptive gifts. Motivational because when they are understood and used properly, they motivate both the gifted person and the recipient of the gift upward spiritually. Redemptive because when they are used as the Creator intended, they will help to bring people into a spiritual relationship with Elohim through Yeshua the Messiah their Heavenly Redeemer and Savior.
Of spiritual gifts imparted to humans, the Bible tells us:
As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. (1 Pet 4:10)
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith. For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office: So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another. Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us… (Rom 12:1–6)
The seven innate motivational gifts are listed in Romans 12:6–8. They are prophecy, service, teaching, exhortation, giving, leadership, mercy or (otherwise described) perceiving, serving, teaching, encouraging, giving, ruling, and mercy.
Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith; or ministry, let us wait on our ministering: or he that teacheth, on teaching; or he that exhorteth, on exhortation: he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness. (Rom 12:6–8)
These seven innate motivational gifts are different than the gifts of the Yeshua, the Son, (Eph 4:7–11), and the gifts of the Spirit (1 Cor 12:7–10). The Romans 12 gifts are from the Father (Rom 12:3). The innate motivational gifts were given to each person at birth. The gifts of the Spirit are given once one has been baptized in the Spirit of Elohim as a result of a spiritual relationship with Yeshua the Messiah. We will say more about the purpose of these gifts below. The Ephesians chapter four gifts, which are often referred to as “the fivefold ministry” are specific ministry or leadership offices existing within the congregation of the saints or body of Yeshua. One can grow into the Ephesians chapter four ministry office-gifts through the proper use and spiritual development of the innate motivational gifts. This occurs when one recognizes they are being called by Elohim to be either an apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor or teacher and this calling is confirmed by one’s spiritual elders. During a period of discipleship and training, one can learn to function in their ministry office-gift on their own, and hopefully raise others up to do the same thus continuing the spiritual process.
The Purpose of Spiritual Gifts
The purpose of all the motivational gifts is to help guide a person into their divine calling, so that they can function accordingly within the spiritual body of Yeshua (Rom 12:4), and to promote oneness with the body.
For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office: So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another. (Rom 12:3–4)
The purpose of the five ministry office-gifts that are listed in Ephesians four is to emulate and replicate Yeshua’s work on the earth. Their purpose is to edify, unify, mature and strengthen the body of Yeshua, so that eventually each saint becomes like Yeshua, so that the whole body of saints not only replicates corporately and synergistically Yeshua’s work on this earth, but do so in a much larger way than what Yeshua as only one man could do singly.
For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ: That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love. (Eph 4:12–16)
The gifts of the Spirit (1 Cor 12:7–10) are given to the saints for the same reasons and purposes as the motivational gifts and ministry office-gifts—to build up and to bring unity to the body of Yeshua. They are for the purpose of edification, exhortation and comforting those within the body of Yeshua (1 Cor 14:3, 12, 26). Elohim distributes and dispenses the gifts of the Spirit for ministry purposes on an as-need basis as the Spirit (not man) determines or wills (1 Cor 12:11).
The saints are to earnestly covet or passionately desire spiritual gifts (1 Cor 12:31; 14:1, 12, 39). These gifts enable the saint to do the work that Elohim has called them to do to advance his kingdom on earth.
One is born with the innate or residential motivational gifts of Romans 12. These gifts can be developed into and used for spiritual ministry. Eventually, through the proper use of and with the guidance from wise spiritual elders, one’s innate motivational gift may grow into one of the office gifts of Ephesians chapter four. For example, one who possesses the motivational gift of prophecy has the potential to become a prophet. If one was born with the gift of teaching, one has the potential to become a Bible teacher within the congregation of the saints. One with the gift of leadership could become an apostle. One with the gifts of exhortation and teaching could become an evangelist. One with the gifts of mercy and service could become a shepherd or pastor.
Turning one’s motivational gift into a ministry office takes time, training, discipleship and spiritual maturity, but it is Yeshua’s goal that every saint be raised up into some ministry office (Eph 4:7). It is up to spiritual leaders to recognize the gifts and callings in the saints and then to raise them up to that place of spiritual maturity. Similarly, it’s necessary for the saint to want to be raised up in their spiritual gifts and callings and to earnestly desire to grow in and to use their gifts for kingdom purposes.
With regard to the 1 Corinthians 12 gifts of the Spirit, everyone who is baptized in the Spirit of Elohim can operate in these nine gifts for ministry purposes on an as-need basis when and where the Set-Apart Spirit determines. The saint needs to learn to yield to the Spirit to be a vessel through which the Spirit can flow, so that these gifts can operate when and as needed.
Ideally, a person who is spiritually mature and who has been properly discipled and raised up has the awesome potential to operate fluidly in his or her Romans 12 motivational gifts in one or more of the ministry office-gifts of Ephesians 4, while, at the same time, operating in the nine gifts of the Spirit when and as needed. If every saint were doing these things, the body of Yeshua would be operating in such a powerful way that no force in heaven or on earth could stop it from expanding the kingdom of Elohim far and wide at the expense of Satan’s kingdom of evil darkness.
The Romans 12 Gifts: Word Definitions
Let’s now define which each of the seven Romans 12 gifts mean by looking at the words and their specific definitions.
Prophecy: propheteia means “prediction, discourse emanating from divine inspiration and declaring the purposes of Elohim, whether by reproving and admonishing the wicked, or by comforting the afflicted, or revealing things hidden, or revealing things hidden such as by foretelling future events” (Thayer’s). “Particularly prediction, the foretelling of future events, including the declarations, exhortations and warning uttered by the prophets while acting under divine influence; the prophetic gift or office as one of the grace gifts imparted by the Spirit of Elohim to members of the body of Yeshua; the exercising of the prophetic office, acting as an ambassador of Elohim and the interpreter of is mind and will; telling forth the Word of Elohim,which is something any believer might do, though this doesn’t make him a prophet (Gr. prophetes), which is used in the NT in a very restrictive sense. A prophet prophesies, but one who prophesies is not necessarily a prophet” (Zodhiates).
Ministry/Service: diakonia means “serving or ministering; those who execute the commands of others” (Thayer’s). Service toward a master or guest, ministry; giving aid, alms or relief (Zodhiates). Also relief, aid (Mounce)
Teaching: didaskalia means “teaching or instruction; that which is taught such as doctrine or precepts” (Thayer’s). The act of imparting truth or the body of truth imparted, and biblically, imparting sound doctrine (Zodhiates).
Exhortation: paraklesis means “calling near, summons (esp. for help), imploration, supplication, entreaty, admonition, encouragement, consolation, comfort, solace, persuasive discourse, stirring address, powerful horatory discourse” (Thayer’s). The act of exhortation, encouragement, comfort. All Scripture is actually a paralklesis or an exhortation, admonition, encouragement for the purpose of strengthening and establishing the believer in the faith (Zodhiates).
Giving: metadidomi means “to share a thing with anyone, to impart one’s substance” (Thayer’s, Zodhiates). also to impart, to bestow (Mounce).
Leadership: proistemi means “to set or place before, to set over, to superintend, to direct, to preside over, to be a protector or guardian, to give aid, to care for or give attention to” (Thayer’s and Zodhiates). Also to appoint with authority, to govern; to undertake resolutely, to practice diligently, to maintain the practice of (Mounce).
Mercy: ele-eo means “to have mercy on, to console, to succor one who is afflicted or needing aid, to bring help to the wretched” (Thayer’s). To show mercy or compassion, extend help on a person in unhappy circumstances; not merely a feeling for the misfortune of others involving sympathy, but also an active desire to remove those miseries” (Zodhiates).
A Brief Summary of the Romans 12 Motivational Gifts
Those with the motivational gift of prophecy are the “seers” or “eyes” of the body. They have insight, foresight, and act like watch dogs. They can see dangers coming. They warn of sin or reveal sin. They are usually very verbal and may come across as judgmental and impersonal. They are loyal to truth over friendship, serious and dedicated. They are gifted to be able to apply the word of Elohim to a situation, so that problems are identified and solved, sin is exposed and relationships are restored. He or she has a strong sense of right and wrong and speaks out against compromise and evil.
Serving, Ministering or Helps
Those with the motivational gift of serving are the “hands” of the body. They are concerned with meeting the needs of others. They are highly motivated doers. They may tend to over-commit, but find joy in serving and meeting short-term goals. They are driven to demonstrate love by meeting practical needs. The server is available to see a project through to the end and enjoys doing physical work.
Those with the motivational gift of teaching are the “mind” of the body. They realize their gift is foundational; therefore, they are passionate about studying. They emphasize the accuracy of words, they want to know the facts, and present only accurate information. Biblical doctrine is important to them.
Exhorting or Encouragement
Those with the motivational gift of exhortation are the “mouth” of the body. Like cheerleaders, they are positive and encourage others. They are motivated by a desire to see people reach their full potential; to grow and mature spiritually. They are often drawn to the ministries of counseling, teaching or discipling.
Those with the motivational gift of giving are the “arms” of the body. They truly enjoy reaching out through giving of their time, talent and financial resources. They are excited by the prospect of blessing others. They desire to give quietly, in secret, but will also motivate others to give. They give cheerfully and always give the best that they can. They are alert to people’s needs. They find the needs of others and find joy in meeting those needs through their time, talent and financial resources.
Leadership or Administration
Those with the motivational gift of leadership are the “head” of the body. They have the ability to see the overall picture and set long-term goals. They are good organizers and find efficient ways of getting work done. Although they may not seek leadership, they will assume it when no leader is available. They receive fulfillment when others come together to complete a task. They are able to accomplish tasks and solve problems through analysis and delegation. A leader often discerns the talents and abilities of others and knows how those individuals can best fit into the team to accomplish a project.
Those with the motivational gift of mercy are the “heart” of the body. They easily sense the joy or distress in other people and are sensitive to feelings and needs. They are attracted to and patient with people in need, motivated by a desire to see people healed of hurts. They are truly compassionate and meek in nature and tend to avoid firmness.
The Importance of Knowing Your Spiritual Gift
YHVH-Elohim and Yeshua possess all of the Romans 12 gifts. Humans were made in Elohim’s image (Gen 1:26), so each person will have one or more of these gifts. The ultimate goal for each person is to become like Yeshua (Rom 8:29) by becoming fully functional in all of these seven gifts.
YHVH expects his people to use their spiritual gifts or talents for the betterment and advancement of his spiritual kingdom. Yeshua clearly states this in his Parable of the Talents (Matt 25:14–30). Yeshua will reward those who use their talents wisely and profitably, while, on the other hand, he will punish those who ignore their Elohim-given spiritual talents and bury them in the sand, so to speak. Heavenly rewards come to those who use their spiritual gifts properly
By tapping into the supernatural gifting that comes from Elohim, we can touch the lives of others through our motivational gifts. When we are filled with Elohim’s Set-Apart Spirit, his power infuses us and flows out to minister to others.
On the other hand, if we try to serve Elohim in our own strength, apart from our Elohim-given gifts, over time we’ll lose our joy as our inner motivation wanes. Eventually, we will grow weary and burn out. If you feel burned out in ministry, perhaps you’re serving Elohim in an area outside of your gifting. It might be time to try ministering in new ways until you tap into that inner wellspring of delight.
Knowing the motivational gifts in others will also help us to understand why they are the way they are and do what they, but to respect and honor them because they Elohim has made them this way. Knowing this will help us to accept and appreciate their Elohim-given talents and abilities. If we are in a position of leadership and responsibility, knowing the motivational gifts in others will also help us to hire the right people, put the right people in the right jobs, and it will help us recognize the gifts in others, so we can help them to develop their gifts. For parents, this will help us in raising our children to become productive members of society and the body of Yeshua.
Another benefit of knowing and using one’s spiritual gifts is that it helps us to understand what the purpose and destiny of our life is. Romans 12:2 talks about the acceptable, good and perfect will of YHVH. If one knows what one’s main motivational gifts are, one is more likely to know what YHVH’s perfect will for one’s life is as opposed to only his acceptable and good will for them. Walking in YHVH’s perfect will brings a person the most joy, satisfaction and sense of fulfillment and accomplishment, since one is fulfilling one’s YHVH designed and directed life destiny.
Psalm 37:23 says that the steps of a righteous man are ordered by YHVH. How much easier this will be if we know what our motivational gift/s are, develop them and then intentionally line up our life’s activities with them. By so doing, we won’t be running cross grain to YHVH’s preordained will for us to fulfill his greater purpose for our lives, the ultimate goal of which is to expand his spiritual family and kingdom on this earth.
Knowing which gifts one possess should never be worn as a badge of pride or honor for the purpose of self-exaltation and aggrandizement or attention-getting. The disciple’s goal should, rather, in exercising his gift should be to humbly fulfill his Elohim-given role, mission, destiny or purpose on this earth to help advance the kingdom of Elohim, to become Messiah-like in every area of one’s life and to encourage others to do the same. The purpose of the gifts, ultimately, is to bring people to redemption through Messiah and into a spiritual relationship with Elohim.
Thus saith YHVH, Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches: But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am YHVH which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith YHVH. (Jer 9:23–24)
When it comes to exercising one’s spiritual gifts, remember the words of Yeshua,
Blessed are the poor [or destitute of wealth, influence, position, honour, lowly, afflicted, destitute of the biblical virtues and eternal riches in spirit] for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. (Matt 5:3)
Therefore, once one knows their gift, one’s focus shouldn’t be so much on the gift itself, but in fulfilling the acts of service associated with their particular gift/s, and then faithfully using their gift for the glory of Elohim and for the expansion of his kingdom on earth. Knowing one’s gift is not an ends in itself, but a means to an end. It’s an aid to help one know what their divine purpose and destiny is.
Knowing our gifts will help us to know ourselves better and to understand why we are the way we are and do what we do. It can also help us to understand the same in others. For leaders in secular business or Christian ministry, this knowledge can help one to place the right people in the right position of authority and responsibility. For parents, it can help them to raise up and train their children for future vocation or ministry callings. Knowing this can also help us to understand the divine gifts and callings of our spouses and the other significant people in our lives and to appreciate them better, and to assist them in growing in their gifting. This knowledge may also help us to understand why they are the way they are, since Elohim has placed certain gifts within them.
People who are not functioning in some capacity in accordance to their innate gift may experience a lack of fulfillment and a general frustration in their life. Knowing their divine gift and then finding activities that accord with their gift/s will likely greatly enrich their lives.
How to Determine Your Motivational Gift/s
You may be reading this because you’re looking for an easy way to identify your spiritual motivational gifts. The best way to discover your unique spiritual gifts is to consider the things you enjoy doing. When serving in different ministry positions, ask yourself what gives you the most joy. What activity brings you joy, fills you with delight?
If, for example, you enjoy teaching a class and your heart leaps for joy at the opportunity, you probably have the gift of teaching. If you quietly and excitedly give of your time, talent and financial treasure to others including to ministries, missionaries and charities, or you love to entertain people in your home, you probably have the gift of giving. If you enjoy visiting the sick or taking a meal to a family in need, you may have the gift of service or exhortation. If you love organizing activities, meetings or conferences, you likely have the gift of administration.
Delight yourself in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart. (Ps 37:4 ESV)
Elohim equips each of us with distinct motivational desires, so that our service to him springs from an inexhaustible well of delight. In this way we find ourselves looking forward with excitement to what he has called us to do.