Bible and Theology
Gifts, Talents, Fruit—Which Is Which?
Michael Youssef, Ph.D.
Jul 10, 2021

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Spiritual gifts are not the same as natural talents. Every human being—Christian and non-Christian alike—is created in God's own image, and, by virtue of being created in God's own image, we are born with natural talents. But the gifts of the Holy Spirit, such as prophesying, serving, teaching, encouraging, giving, mercy, wisdom, faith, healing, and others that are listed in Romans 12:6-8 and 1 Corinthians 12:4-11, 28, are different from the natural talents we are born with.

The gifts of the Spirit define what a believer does, but the fruit of the Spirit defines who a believer is.


Talents inspire and entertain, but spiritual gifts build up the body of Christ. Something supernatural happens when a spiritual gift is exercised that simply cannot happen when a talent is exerted. On occasion, however, when someone becomes born again, the Holy Spirit breathes on that person's natural talent, and He turns it into a spiritual gift.

Clearly, spiritual gifts are powerful for the building up of the Kingdom of God. But they can lose their effectiveness if we neglect to grow in the fruit of the Spirit. In Galatians 5:22-23, Paul identifies this fruit as "love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control." Not all spiritual gifts are given to all believers, but the fruit of the Spirit should be evident in all who abide in Christ. The gifts of the Spirit define what a believer does, but the fruit of the Spirit defines who a believer is.

Love is the first and foremost fruit of abiding in Christ. Without love, our gifts are meaningless. No matter what our gift is, our goal should always be to glorify God and to love others.

Prayer: God, may the fruit of the Spirit be evident in my life. I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.

"Now eagerly desire the greater gifts. And yet I will show you the most excellent way. . . . if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing" (1 Corinthians 12:31, 13:2).

Learn more in Dr. Michael Youssef's sermon series Who, Me? Gifted?: LISTEN NOW