Alfonso Valenzuela writes from Berrien Springs, Michigan, where he is an assistant professor in the Andrews University Theological Seminary.

When we accept Jesus as our Lord, we receive so many things that our life is completely turned around. The gifts of the Spirit are among the things that we receive from God; however, many Christians have not yet discovered their particular gifts.

The gifts of the Spirit are specific abilities and skills given by the Holy Spirit "to prepare God's people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up" (Eph. 4:12, NIV). Every Christian is a member of the body of Jesus, His church (1 Cor. 12), and as members of His body we have different functions or ministries, just as the members and organs of the human body do. And when every member puts his or her ministry into action, it is then, and only then, that the body of Christ is built up, grows, and fulfills its mission.

Have you ever wondered what God's will is for you? In Romans 12, as an introduction to the theme of the spiritual gifts, Paul speaks about the renewing of our minds and being able "to test and approve what God's will is-His good, pleasing and perfect will" (Romans 12:2, NIV). What function or ministry are you, as a member of the body of Jesus, supposed to perform? When you find your spiritual gift(s), you discover your ministry.

Let us consider some guidelines that can help us in discovering our gifts:

Believe─It is important to believe in the gifts of the Spirit and that God has given you, a newborn Christian, a particular ministry to build up His church (1 Peter 4:10; 1 Cor. 12:7).

Pray─Since God is very interested in our discovering and using our spiritual gifts, we can go to Him in prayer and He will reveal them to us.

Study─We also need to study all we can about the gifts of the Spirit. Read the writings of Ellen White about the subject and study Romans 12, 1 Corinthians 12-14, Ephesians 4, and 1 Peter 4. An excellent book on the subject is Your Spiritual Gifts Can Help Your Church Grow, by Peter Wagner.

Attention─Pay particular attention to each one of the gifts mentioned in the Scriptures. Know what they are all about: their function, their purpose, etc.

Inclination—Is there a gift in particular that you like? Is there one in particular that really catches your attention? List five spiritual gifts that you like the most and that you think you may have. Study more about them. Think about them. How do you see yourself functioning in that capacity? Pray about it.

Ministry—How about trying one of those gifts you are inclined to? Give it a chance.

Satisfaction—How do you like it? How do you feel? Are you satisfied and comfortable when you minister with that gift?

Capability—Is it easy for you to minister with that gift? Do you feel capable?

Confirmation—What do the other members of the body say? How are the others affected by your ministry? Do they feel that you are contributing in the building up of the body of Jesus?

Blessing—Do you feel blessed and happy? Are others being blessed by your ministry? Then keep on going; you've found your gift.

Your ministry matters. It matters so much that without it the church will not grow and prosper. The church needs you. Jesus, the head of the church, needs you. You have been empowered by the Holy Spirit with certain gifts. Find all the gifts you have; use and develop them with all your capacities.

Alfonso Valenzuela writes from Berrien Springs, Michigan, where he is an assistant professor in the Andrews University Theological Seminary.