If you have been filled with the Holy Spirit, you have also received a spiritual gift (I Corinthians 12). Many of us are uncertain what it is. We expect the heavens to open up and a billboard descend stating the Holy Spirit has given you the gift of knowledge or gift of prophecy.
It would be nice if it was that simple.
But when you have been given a spiritual gift, one of the first things the Holy Spirit wants to do is display that gift personally to you. Like any loving parent, God wants you to unwrap your present and then He wants to train you in your gifting.
My first prophetic revealing and training session oddly enough took place in 1986 as I watched a National Hockey League (NHL) game between the Edmonton Oilers and the Calgary flames.
For those not fully familiar with the NHL, Calgary and Edmonton are both in the province of Alberta in Canada. Playing in the same division, there is a fierce rivalry between the two teams. Edmonton Oiler fans have bumper stickers on their cars saying my favorite team is the Edmonton Oilers and whoever is playing the Calgary Flames.
It was the critical final game for the divisional championship. The winner would move on to the Stanley Cup series for the league championship.
The game was tied at two in the third and final period.
As I watched the game, I suddenly received an impression Steven Smith — an all star defense man for the Edmonton Oilers — was going to score on his own team. I remember it today as clearly as it happened decades ago.
A few minutes later on cue, Smith passed the puck from behind his own goal, hit the pads of Edmonton’s goal tender, Grant Fuhr, and watched the puck careen crazily into his team’s net. Because of this goal, Calgary beat Edmonton and went to the Stanley Cup where they eventually lost to the Montreal Canadiens.
It was a freaky occurrence.
After that game, whenever Calgary played Edmonton, and Smith had the puck, the Calgary fans would shout for him to “shoot.”
But in this strange incident, I received a prophetic insight that could only come from Holy Spirit. There was absolutely no reason for Holy Spirit to give me this revelation other than to show me my prophetic gifting.
Whatever gift the Holy Spirit has given you, He wants to personally show it to you. So keep your eyes open for it.
The Holy Spirit did the very same thing for the prophet Samuel.
As a boy, his mother had turned Samuel over to Eli the High Priest to be raised in the things of God. Hannah, who was barren, had vowed to give her first-born to God if she ever became pregnant (1 Sam 1:11).
Samuel was destined to become one of the great prophets of Israel. But when God called Samuel, there were no prophets in the land to take him under wing, so the Holy Spirit had to train Samuel in the ministry.
The first thing the Holy Spirit did was display the gift to Samuel. The young man needed to know he was hearing the voice of God.
One night as the young teenager was preparing to go to sleep, God spoke to Samuel in an audible voice saying “Here I am” (1 Samuel 3:4).
That is all God said. There was no great revelation just three words.
Initially, Samuel thought it was Eli calling to him and ran into the High Priest’s room. Eli told Samuel to go back to bed.
This happened two more times. On the third time, “Eli discerned that the Lord was calling the boy” (v 8).
Eli instructed the boy the next time God spoke, Samuel was to say, “Speak Lord, for your servant is listening.”
Samuel did exactly that and God then gave the young prophet a word of judgment against Eli and his family because of their corrupting influence in the House of God (1 Sam 3:11-14).
This story shows us that God was revealing to Samuel his gifting — that He was in fact hearing God’s voice.
Though it would be nice to have God speak to us in an audible voice, as it happened to Samuel, it is no guarantee we would know it was God speaking.
Incredibly, Samuel was sleeping only feet away from the Ark of the Covenant on which the very Presence of God rested (1 Sam 3:3). You couldn’t get any closer to God than this. But even this wasn’t enough.
The Holy Spirit will reveal His gifting to you, so keep your eyes and ears open. More importantly when it happens, you need to believe this is your gift and calling.
An important part of the training involves having confidence in the gifting God has given you, but it can be a slow and arduous process as the Holy Spirit must also deal with your insecurities and fears.