Recognize and Develop Your Spiritual Gifts, Elder Hales Counsels

Elder Robert D. Hales of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles says we all are given spiritual gifts, and that we are told in the scriptures to exercise and magnify these gifts. 

In the scriptures, we are taught of spiritual gifts the Lord has given His children and of our responsibility to develop these gifts. Elder Robert D. Hales of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles says, “During our time here on earth, we have been charged to develop the natural gifts and capabilities Heavenly Father has blessed us with. . . . As we exercise and magnify these gifts, we will be able to accomplish the callings and responsibilities that will come into our lives.”

How do we recognize and develop the gifts we have been given? Why are we given gifts? Elder Hales addresses these questions.

Recognizing Gifts

“To find the gifts we have been given, we must pray and fast. Often patriarchal blessings tell us the gifts we have received and declare the promise of gifts we can receive if we seek after them,” Elder Hales says. In order for us to access our gifts, we must be living “in harmony with the principles of the gospel.”

Spiritual Gifts

Find a list of spiritual gifts in Moroni 10:8-17 and 1 Corinthians 12:4–10.

We must distinguish between true spiritual gifts and counterfeits, he cautions. True spiritual gifts are “given as a blessing and benefit to those who love God and keep His commandments.”

We can expect that gifts will not usually be manifested in dramatic ways, though that can happen. For example, when using the gift of discernment, answers to our prayers will often come “over an extended period of time with almost a natural solution whereby people can take action on the feelings of their hearts—which bring them peace and comfort—rather than through dramatic revelation.”

Magnifying Gifts

“The law of the harvest is simply that you don’t get something for nothing in life,” says Elder Hales. He tells a story about his comment to a translator about the translator’s good fortune in having the gift of tongues. The translator responds, “My gift of tongues was received after thousands of hours of study and after overcoming many moments of failure and discouragement.” Elder Hales points out that the development of gifts is not an easy undertaking—in order to take full advantage of the gifts we are given, we must put in the corresponding effort.

We need to “work together to use and develop gifts of the Spirit,” and “teach one another how to seek after them,” he says, explaining that “the gifts given to each individual are given not only for the one who receives, but also for those who can benefit when the gift is shared with others.”

Purpose of Gifts

“The gifts of the Spirit can guide and enrich our lives,” Elder Hales says. “They can strengthen us spiritually and temporally. They can help us bless the lives of others. Most important, they can bring us comfort in times of trial. They can help us magnify our callings. They can help guide us in our relationships. They can help us avoid being deceived. . . .

“God has given us the gifts of the Spirit to allow us to be drawn more closely into His circle of love. He desires that we should receive these gifts of the Spirit and magnify them and have them grow within us. . . . As we do, our faith in Him will increase and our true destiny will be fulfilled, ultimately to return to His presence as His valiant sons and daughters.”

Read these complete messages from Elder Hales: “Gifts of the Spirit,” “Every Good Gift.”