One of my early false beliefs growing up was that God only gave gifts of the spirit to members of his true church. That belief started to erode when I came to know that there were inspired people in all ages of time that God placed there to perform a mission where they demonstrated gifts of the Spirit. People like Joan of Arc, many of the reformers, the Founding Fathers of America, and many others through all ages of time and even today.
In recent years, I’ve come to realize that gifts of the Spirit are in full manifestation to people of all nations and religions, based upon their faith and belief in obtaining and utilizing these gifts. In the Doctrine and Covenants, the Lord tells us “there are many gifts, and to every man is given a gift by the Spirit of God.”
Some time ago I added the book, “The Heavenly Man” to my Audible wishlist. It sounded interesting and I enjoy remarkable stories of people’s lives. I recently saw other people recommending it online and finally decided to listen to it. It is amazing. There were a lot of lessons for me in this book. God is working in China in some miraculous ways. I highly recommend listening to this book. Brother Yen’s story of beatings, healings, a miraculous fast, and walking out of prison like Peter, will inspire you and cause you to re-evaluate your level of faith. Brother Yen exhibited a number of spiritual gifts by his great faith in Jesus Christ.
This past week something set off a further realization in my mind. I think I saw something posted about Moroni 10:30 which got me started on this. It reads:
Moroni 10:30. And again I would exhort you that ye would come unto Christ, and lay hold upon every good gift, and touch not the evil gift, nor the unclean thing.
I’ve known Satan is the great imitator and everything God has, Satan tries to replicate. For every gift and power of God, he has a counterfeit. Every gift of his is designed to lead us away from God, give us a fast track to experience power (queue Darth Vader’s “you don’t know the power of the dark side”), and further captivate us in the chains of the devil.
Korihor is a perfect example. He was “possessed with a lying spirit” and “the devil [had] power over [him]…working devices that he may destroy the children of God” (Alma 30:42). By his gift of sophistry and the gift of hearing the unholy spirit, he was convincing many to abandon their beliefs and turn from God. He was utilizing dark gifts in order to perform the devil’s work.
It is easier to be turned from God if you haven’t had spiritual experiences. Thus as Moroni said, believers must “lay hold upon every good gift” by exercising faith in Christ and seeking to obtain the gifts available to us.
How does one obtain a dark gift? It’s actually instructive to think about this. Teenagers in school often pick up the gift of sarcasm. Sarcasm is the art of saying one thing but meaning another. If you want the gift, you simply start using the language that hurts others while sounding witty. If someone makes a mistake you simply say, “you’re a genius” and mean the opposite. Keep it up and you’ll soon develop a Satanic gift for cutting people down. You will also develop a reputation among people for being rude to some and making other rude people laugh.
The opposite is also true. If you use language that builds others, complimenting them, lifting up the hands that hang down and strengthening the feeble knees (Hebrews 12:12), you will develop the Godly gift of succoring others.
Every gift is obtained by degrees. With the dark side, you simply start turning to dark sources for quick power. Power over others, power over elements, or power over spirits, soon you can master the Satanic arts and be able to obtain anything for the price of your soul.
On the other hand, God is willing to hand out his gifts as well, all for the price of self-control and restraint. He is preparing us to rule over creations. He has a higher purpose for us than Satan does. Satan simply passes out his gifts eagerly to bring us into captivity through the promise of “cheap power.” God is trying to exalt us and in the effort to become like him, we must act like him and he gives us the holy gifts that teach us what his life is like. It must be a life of discipline because unlimited power without such discipline would make a powerful devil out of a God.
Do we have unholy gifts we utilize like sarcasm, outbursts of anger, overwhelming people with sophistry and filling their minds with doubt and despair? Then we’d better start seeking the gifts of the Spirit that will help us overcome those Satanic gifts. To understand how to better obtain gifts of the Spirit see this older blog post.
There are an innumerable list of gifts of light and darkness with holy or unholy purposes. Here is a brief table I constructed of opposite gifts. Some are obvious and some are simply speculation that made sense to me.
|Gifts of the Holy Spirit||Gifts of the Unholy Spirit|
|Charity||Cruelty, malice, short-tempered|
|Knowledge||Ignorance – IE. no understanding|
|Mighty miracles||Mighty signs|
|Visions/dreams||Visions/dreams, Astral projection|
|Behold angels & ministering spirits||Behold devils & unclean spirits|
|Tongues||Glossolalia (it’s a thing – the link is to an interesting article)|
|Interpretation of tongues||False interpretations|
|Preaching by the Spirit||Sophistry|
|Gift of asking||Gift of demanding|
|Gift of listening||Gift of assuming|
|Gift of hearing||Gift of deafness|
|Holy priesthood – operates by agency||Unholy priesthood – operates by coercion|
What other contrasting gifts can you think of? Share them in the comments.
(Featured image by philberrry at 123rf.com)