10 Ways to Grow in Your Gifts and Talents

I used to sing a lot as a child. It was one of those God given talents that simply came natural to me. I loved it with everything in me and always imagined that I would take my rightful place in the entertainment industry one day! Little did I know that I would eventually veer so far away from my dream that I would actually get to a place where I stopped singing altogether! Honestly, it has been even more heartbreaking than it sounds. There have been times when I have cried watching singing competitions on TV, because I couldn’t bare the guilt of having given up on my gift, and most of all, on my dream!

Despite the pain of experiencing loss because of failing to be a good steward over my singing talent, I still treasure the fact that I have it. One of the coolest things that I really love about life is that God was kind enough to give each one of us unique gifts and talents. Our gifts are a major part of who we are and they were strategically placed inside of us to help us to fulfill the purpose that God has for our lives. The best part about having these gifts is that they are not only there for us to receive the benefit from having them, they are also designed to allow us to use them to help one another!

  1. Use or Lose It!
  • Use it, use it, and use it some more.
  • Steward it well.

When we read Luke 16 we can clearly see that the Lord does not honor those who do not steward well over what He gives to them. Luke 16:10-12 tells us:

10 “He who is faithful in what is least is faithful also in much; and he who is unjust in what is least is unjust also in much. 11 Therefore if you have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches? 12 And if you have not been faithful in what is another man’s, who will give you what is your own?”

  • We must be intentional in how we handle the things that God has given to us. We are to use our gifts, talents, finances, and blessings to be a blessing to others and to bring in both spiritual and natural provision.
  • God provides the gifts and we are to grow them, if we choose not to use what God has provided, He can easily take them away from us and give them to someone else who is willing to steward them!
  • Think about the servants with the talents in Matthew 25: 14-30.

14 “For the kingdom of heaven is like a man traveling to a far country, who called his own servants and delivered his goods to them. 15 And to one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one, to each according to his own ability; and immediately he went on a journey. 16 Then he who had received the five talents went and traded with them, and made another five talents. 17 And likewise he who had received two gained two more also. 18 But he who had received one went and dug in the ground, and hid his lord’s money. 19 After a long time the lord of those servants came and settled accounts with them.

20 “So he who had received five talents came and brought five other talents, saying, ‘Lord, you delivered to me five talents; look, I have gained five more talents besides them.’ 21 His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.’ 22 He also who had received two talents came and said, ‘Lord, you delivered to me two talents; look, I have gained two more talents besides them.’ 23 His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.’

24 “Then he who had received the one talent came and said, ‘Lord, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you have not sown, and gathering where you have not scattered seed. 25 And I was afraid, and went and hid your talent in the ground. Look, there you have what is yours.’

26 “But his lord answered and said to him, ‘You wicked and lazy servant, you knew that I reap where I have not sown, and gather where I have not scattered seed. 27 So you ought to have deposited my money with the bankers, and at my coming I would have received back my own with interest. 28 So take the talent from him, and give it to him who has ten talents.

29 ‘For to everyone who has, more will be given, and he will have abundance; but from him who does not have, even what he has will be taken away. 30 And cast the unprofitable servant into the outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’

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2. Expand your knowledge.

  • Train, train, train.
  • Master what you do.
  • Get a mentor.
  • Continue your education.

We have all heard the phrase “practice makes perfect”, probably more times than we would prefer, lol. But this statement is so true. Whatever you practice consistently will be what you do consistently. Truth is that no matter what it is that you are choosing to do, if you do not learn how to do it properly you will never be as effective as you could be. Training yourself to be great at what you do is how you become an expert at your craft.

The more knowledge you have about your niche and the more you practice doing it, the better you will be at executing it. This is how we can see ourselves grow in our gifting.

Keep in mind that no matter how good you become at what you do, you will always have room for improvement. Also be aware that you will definitely have failures at times, and this is where we learn to get better!

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3. Go through the process of trial and error with the right perspective.

  • Don’t be afraid to fail. (Learn the lesson in the failure.)
  • Keep going until you get it right.
  • Galatians 6:9 tells us:

“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”

  • Philippians 4:13 explains that we are to trust in God because it is His strength that gives us the power to do what seems impossible.

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

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4. Glorify God with your gifts and talents.

  • Acknowledge The Lord in what you do and remember that He is the one who gave you the gifts, therefore He deserves all of the glory.
  • Honor the Lord with your gifts.

Proverbs 3:6 says “In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He shall direct your paths.”

Proverbs 3:9 “Honor the Lord with your wealth and the first part of your harvest.”

  • Seek approval from Jesus and not from man! Galations 1:10 says:

“Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.”

  • Repent if you find your self leaning toward self glorification. Proverbs 27:2 tells us not praise ourselves!

“Let another man praise you, and not your own mouth;

A stranger, and not your own lips.”

  • Jeremiah 9:23-24 tells us:

23  Thus says the Lord: “Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom,
Let not the mighty man glory in his might,
Nor let the rich man glory in his riches;
24 But let him who glories glory in this,
That he understands and knows Me,
That I am the Lord, exercising loving kindness, judgment, and righteousness in the earth.
For in these I delight,” says the Lord.”

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5. Serve others with your gifts!

  • Remember that God didn’t give you your gifts just for you.
  • Humble yourself and be willing to give your gifts and talents freely to others.
  • It didn’t cost YOU anything to be gifted and talented. The Father gave them to you and they are gifts that He lovingly and freely gave to us to share with one another.
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6. Allow your gifts to make a space for you.

  • Your gift will make room for you.
  • You don’t have to chase after achievement. Simply seeking God first in all that you do, including operating in your gifts; will position you exactly where you should be at the right time.

Proverbs 18:16 “A man’s gift makes room for him,

And brings him before great men.”

Proverbs 22:29 says: “Do you see a man skillful in his work? He will stand before kings; he will not stand before obscure men.”

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7. Do what you do with purity, ethics, excellence, confidence and passion.

Philippians 4:8 “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.”

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8. Get out of the mindset of what you can receive from using your gifts and switch to thinking of what you can give.

  • It will be given to you with the measure that you give!

Luke 6:38 “Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.”

  • We should have a giving heart, because that is the heart of God.

1 Chronicles 29:17 “My God, I know that you test people, and that you are happy when people do what is right. I gladly give you all these things with a pure, honest heart. I see your people gathered here, and I see that they are happy about giving these things to you.”

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9. Think about how your gift can help to solve an issue or how it can produce healthy results for others.

  • The gifts that God gives to us are there on purpose, they are the key to unlocking the answer to someone else’s problem. When we start viewing what we carry from that perspective, it becomes much easier to shift our focus to how we help each other with what God has given to us. Hebrews 13:16 encourages us:

“But do not forget to do good and to share, for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.”

  • John 15:12 tells so plainly to love each other as Christ loves us. We know that Christ is the ultimate giver. His sacrifice was the biggest gift that anyone has ever given!

“My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.”

  • I absolutely love how 1 Peter 4:10-11 puts it!

10 “As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. 11 If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God. If anyone ministers, let him do it as with the ability which God supplies, that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belong the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.”

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10. Trust the Holy Spirit and ask Him to help you grow in your gifts, and to use them the way God wants you to. Let’s take a look at Romans 12:6-8.

“Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching; the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads, with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness.”

  • In Timothy 4:14 we are instructed not to neglect our gifts. We are to use them and God tells us to in His word.

“Do not neglect your gift, which was given you through prophecy when the body of elders laid their hands on you.”

  • Colossians 3:23-24 instructs us:

23 “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, 24 since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.”

We see that God wants us to remember that it is not ourselves that we are serving with our gifts but Him. Everything that we do is to serve, honor and glorify our father. It is Christ and the Holy Spirit who gives us the strength and power that we need to use our gifts for God’s purpose. All we have to do is steward our gifts and talents in excellence.

As a word of encouragement, if you find yourself like me, having slacked off in a certain area where you are gifted. Do not be discouraged, trust that the Lord still has a plan for your life, and He can still use you! Pick up your gift, talent, skill or dream and run full speed ahead into what God has for you! He still wants to use YOU to do mighty things in the earth! And He will get all of the Glory for it. God bless you.

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How to Discern When the Enemy is Using a Close Relationship to Hinder You

I recently walked away from a 23 year long friendship! It was one of the most painful processes that I have had to go through. I can honestly say that I was in shock when the Lord began dealing with me in my relationship with this person.

So many thoughts were running through my mind. God are you really showing me that this person is not good for me? Am I hearing you correctly? Can I remain connected to them if I just slowly back away? But God answered me boldly and abruptly! He told me to sever the connection immediately! I was obedient and I have not looked back since! I am so glad that I listened that day. My life has been much more progressive and joyful. If you find yourself wondering why you feel weighed down or why you may not be moving forward in certain areas of your life. Check your surroundings! Who is in your inner circle? Satan may just be using someone you are close to, to hold you back!

I must be honest with you and tell you that the friendship that I had with this person was always rocky. Meaning that this was not the first time that I had ended the friendship, more like the 4th! I chose to allow God to break this relationship off for the last time by truly walking away for good. There were always red flags there that I chose to ignore. I made excuses for certain types of behavior by saying things like, that’s just the way they are, or they just joke like that! But deep down I knew that there was something wrong. I knew that most of time after interacting with this particular friend I always felt negative emotions! I was always left feeling as though I had wasted my time, that there were things that I could have been doing to grow and get better in life. After spending time talking with this person I was always left feeling depleted in some way or another.

So let’s take a look at some of the telltale signs (red flags) that you may have a hindering relationship with someone in your life.

  • You usually feel negative emotions after interacting with them. After spending time (more like wasting time!) talking with someone with hindering spirit, you usually feel worn out, angry, sad, or grieved in some way. Talking with these people can leave you stressed out, confused or just downright agitated. These people never pour into you, they only withdraw from your emotional bank! Even their attempts to pour into you leave you feeling lost or broken down in some way.
  • You find yourself being pulled in the wrong direction. Maybe there are some past behaviors or ways of thinking that you have been delivered from, these hindering spirits will always cause you to go backward. They find ways to draw you back toward your past instead helping to catapult you toward your destiny. They discuss things that are completely irrelevant to where you are going in life. They tend to be gossipers, slanderers and back biters. They often attempt to get you to go back to old behaviors and mindsets. For example: If you used to drink or smoke, they will encourage those old habits, even if you tell them that you don’t do those things anymore. They will agree with you and then find ways to influence to you do it anyway.
  • People with hindering spirits love to exalt themselves above others and most of all above God, sometimes without realizing it. They often hinder others and tear them down to make themselves look better than everyone else. They need to feel important and they want others to think highly of them based on their accomplishments. These people do not care who they have to bring down verbally, emotionally or mentally to bring themselves up higher. This is the whole point of hindering others! It is straight from the devil, this mindset and action is the very thing that caused satan to be condemned to damnation!
  • The enemy loves to make these people use their tongues to destroy others. We already discussed that hindering spirits use slander and gossip to discourage others and to tear them down. But the enemy also uses them to deceive and accuse others. These people like to tell you lies about yourself and about who you are. They tell you things that aren’t true about you, so that you will come into agreement with who the devil is trying to convince you to believe you are. This is all an attempt to steal your identity in Christ! If Satan can cause you to believe the lies that he creates about you and about your personality, then he can get you to disregard what the Word of God says about you. You are a child of God, and an heir with Christ Jesus, nothing more and nothing less! Anything that anyone says about you that does not line up with the Word of God is a lie, period! All lies come from Satan himself and it does not matter who he is using to say them to you!

I must point out something significant that truly was disheartening for me to have to process, learn and accept. Once I did accept it, I realized that the enemy no longer had power over me in my relationships. I was able to let go of all of the toxic people in my life without fear or worry that I was making the wrong decision.

I learned that sometimes the enemy uses people who are exceptionally close to you to try to keep you bound throughout your entire life! He uses them as what I like to refer to as “life guards”. These “life guards” are strategically placed in your life to stunt your growth, to keep you bound and to create fear and stagnation. Even if you let them go, periodically they will come back. They love to play on your emotions and to manipulate you based on your love for them. These people can actually be family members! I’m talking about relationships that are sometimes too close to just walk away from. The enemy can use parents, children, siblings, grandparents, even our spouses! When the toxic people who are hindering our lives are those who are closest to us, it can cut like a knife! To have to come to terms with this can be one of the most challenging situations that we may ever have to face.

Never the less, God requires that we follow Him and love Him above all else! We are to follow Christ’s plan and purpose for our lives. That means we may have to choose to walk away from our closest family members if necessary. Whatever it takes to remain in alignment with God’s will for our lives is what we must be willing to do! I truly believe that is what Jesus mean’t when He said that we would have to give up everything to follow Him. When the people we love become our enemy because they are allowing the enemy (Satan) to use them against us and to cause them to wreak havoc in our lives, we must remember who we are in Christ and let them go! We are to pray for them, we are to love them and we are to forgive them just as our father has continuously done for us. But we are to love them from a distance and not continue to subject ourselves to their toxic way of thinking and behavior. Loving them with the love of Christ does not mean that we are to neglect our relationship with God to do so. In fact the more we choose Christ, the more the Lord will bring healing and restoration into our lives. Those relationships that he allowed to be severed can be healed and restored one day in God’s timing if He so chooses. We are to simply follow Him, choose Him first, and allow Him to fix every situation with every single person in our lives. Until our next chat, God bless you.