Most Christians want to serve God, but many miss this one big key. We can only serve God in the power of the Holy Spirit.

Romans 12:1-2 tells us about how we must surrender ourselves to God to be His sacred living sacrifices and then be inwardly transformed by the Holy Spirit. After we have laid down our selfish desires and learn to lean on the Holy Spirit, then we can begin serving God. In order to do this, He starts showering us with His grace gifts so we can do the tasks He has called us to do.

Holy Spirit Glow

These aren’t gifts to hoard. They are gifts to be used to serve Him. Romans 12:11 TPT says, “Be enthusiastic to serve the Lord, keeping your passion toward Him boiling hot! Radiate with the glow of the Holy Spirit and let Him fill you with excitement as you serve Him.” The Message says, “Don’t burn out; keep yourselves fueled and aflame.”

In other words, in order to serve God we must rely on the Holy Spirit! His power must be what we draw from in order to serve. We don’t serve out of our humanity. We serve God with, by and through the power Holy Spirit to the point that we are radiating with Him.

Before we serve God, though we must “be emptied of self-promotion and not create a false image of your importance,” Romans 12:3 TPT. God gives us gifts to use in His service. These are so powerful that some have a tendency to be prideful about how God is using them.  Instead, we must continue to rely on the Holy Spirit instead of ourselves.


God calls us to serve Him and then gives us the gifts we need to do that work. “Every believer has received grace-gifts, so use them to serve one another as faithful stewards or the many-colored tapestry of God’s grace,” 1 Peter 4:10 TPT says. Even though there are specific grace-gifts mentioned, they all look different when different individuals utilize them. Everything is dependent upon the individual’s experiences, personality, ability, talents and relationship with God

Some of the grace-gifts are mentioned in Romans 12:6-8, but it is not meant to be an exhaustive list of spiritual gifts. Neither is the list in 1 Corinthians 12 or any of the many spiritual gifts tests you can find on the internet. These are great to help us understand how we are wired but none of them are exhaustive.

This list in Romans a like a starter list. Paul is not trying to give a theological treatise on spiritual gifts. He’s just trying to help new Christians understand some of the ways God will gift His children in order to help the body of Christ function better.

Specific Gifts

He begins in Romans 12:6 by saying, “God’s marvelous grace imparts to each one of us varying gifts. So if God has given you the grace-gift of prophecy, activate your gift by using the proportion of faith you have to prophesy.”

Most agree that the gift of prophecy here really means what we term preaching. In God’s Word where we learn about what will happen if we refuse to accept Christ. Preaching that includes accepting Christ and learning to love and follow God is in and of itself tells is a foretelling of the future.

Teaching and Encouraging

“If you have the grace-gift of teaching, then be actively teaching and training others.” (Romans 12:7b TPT). A teacher enjoys digging into God’s Word and studying all the various nuances of it. A teacher focuses on meaning and content.

“If you have the grace-gift of encouragement, then use it often to encourage others,” Romans 12:8a TPT). This can also be referred to as an exhorter. This gift emphasizes practical application of the Bible to our everyday lives.

A teacher puts emphasis on what the way of God is all about. An exhorter or encourager is one who comes alongside to help others understand how to apply the truths they’ve learned to their everyday situation. A good example in Scripture is Barnabas, who was called the “son of encouragement.”

Serving and Giving

“If your grace-gift is serving, then thrive in serving others well,” (Romans 12:7a TPT). In a church, this might be the person who serves as a deacon, an usher, a kitchen helper or manager. It could also be a person who is a secretary or assistant to the pastor. These are the people who don’t want to lead or be in charge. They just want to serve.

“If you have the grace-gift of giving to meet the needs of others, then may you prosper in your generosity without any fanfare,” (Romans 12:8 TPT). Those who have the gift of giving should do so with no other intent than to glorify God.

They should be cheerful givers. It doesn’t matter the amount of money given, if one has the gift of giving, it is something they love to do and look forward to doing.

Leading and Caring

“If you have the gift of leadership, be passionate about your leadership.” (Romans 12:8 TPT). Within the church, there should be those who are gifted in leadership. This can have to do with the structure of the church itself.

“And if you have the gift of showing compassion, then flourish in your cheerful display of compassion,” (Romans 12:8). This could also be called the gift of mercy.

Those with the gift of compassion are those whose hearts are buoyed up by taking care of others, praying for them, helping them with needs and giving them a shoulder to cry on.

Destiny Calling

You may have seen yourself in one or more of these gifts. If so, I want to say that if you are not actively involved in a ministry that employs your gifting, it will make all the difference in the world if you are able to do that.

God has wired each of us in a unique way. When we find the place where God designed us to serve, our lives will change in exponential proportions. When we find what we were made to do, the world will look different. We will wake up with purpose. We will be alive, really alive. However,

God knows us and will lead us to our purpose. He will show us what our grace-gift is. But first, we have to be willing to listen to Him, trust Him, follow Him and surrender to Him.

Stepping Into Your Calling

For me, that came when I began to trust Him to lead me on my weight loss journey. He had to see that my love for Him was shown in my obedience to Him before He would take me the next step. You may be like I was. I was always asking God to show me my purpose, but He would answer by giving me the plan He’d given me years ago in order to lose weight, the one I hadn’t followed, but when I finally listened and was obedient to Him, everything changed and in the process, I lost 250 pounds.

Then He called me to write books, to coach others, to form a coaching group, and deliver a weekly podcast. Why? All because I finally decided to follow Him.

Today, I can say that I enthusiastically serve the Lord and you can as well. Our goals should be to radiate with the glow of the Holy Spirit and let Him fill us with excitement as we serve Him. It’s not in self-effort but in the power of the Holy Spirit to do what we could never do on our own!

For more on this topic, check out Sweet Grace for Your Journey podcast episode 103: Holy Spirit Glow. Go here:

Teresa Shields Parker
Teresa Shields Parker is a Christian weight loss author, coach, podcaster and speaker, who has lost more than 250 pounds and kept it off since 2013.

Her books include: "Sweet Grace: How I Lost 250 Pounds and Stopped Trying to Earn God's Favor"; "Sweet Surrender: Breaking Strongholds"; "Sweet Journey to Transformation: Practical Steps to Lose Weight and Live Healthy"; "Sweet Freedom: Losing Weight and Keeping It Off With God's Help": "Sweet Change: True Stories of Transformation"; and "Sweet Hunger: Developing an Appetite for God".

She also offers Overcomers Christian Weight Loss Academy and VIP one-on-one coaching program, more information on both is available under the weight loss tab. Don't miss her weekly podcast, Sweet Grace for Your Journey, where she shares tips from her personal journey of losing weight and discovering healthy living. Find that under the podcast tab and anywhere you find podcasts.