And in the church, God has seen fit to carry that diversity a step further. In order that the people of God would be encouraged by each other, God has given each Christian – through the indwelling Holy Spirit – unique expressions of spiritual power. These powers aren’t magical: Christians can’t levitate, pull animals out of hats, etc. – but these ‘powers’ are meant to be helpful to the assembly of Christians – the church. These are abilities like uncanny wisdom; the ability to learn Bible and theology at a very high level (sometimes even in spite of a lifetime of secular academic failure); the ability to have a visionary trust and confidence in what God can and will do; yes, the ability to heal disease and sickness and even achieve the miraculous; the ability to detect the working of evil spiritual forces; as well as the ability to speak and understand the manifestation of “tongues.” There are other abilities spoken of in the Bible, as well (such as teaching and preaching), but this is list that appears in Paul’s first letter to the Corinthian church.
Some of these Spirit-empowered abilities can be rather spectacular; others are more subdued. Here’s the thing: some of us with more ‘up front’ or ‘spectacular’ gifts can frequently offend those of our brothers and sisters with less public ministries.