The Gift of Faith vs. the Gift of Prophesy

Zapata Falls, Colorado
Zapata Falls, Colorado

When we think about spiritual gifts, we tend to think of them as different and individual: The gift of leadership is different than the gift of teaching, the gift of decerning of spirits is different than the gift of hospitality, etc.  The truth is that because they all come from the same Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:4), all of the gifts overlap and any one gift may “bleed over” into other gifts of the Spirit.  It’s just another way that the spiritual gifts work together to build up the body of Christ.

Ladders leading up into Alcove House, Bandelier National Monument, New Mexico
Ladders leading up into Alcove House, Bandelier National Monument, New Mexico

The gift of faith is especially good at interacting and overlapping with other spiritual gifts.  Because it believes what God has said in a way that brings heaven to earth, it partners with the other gifts to make them even more powerful.  Think of the gift of faith as the catalyst that takes the other gifts and gives them a further reach, a deeper revelation, and a more powerful display of God’s love to His people.

Middle Falls from Inspiration Point, Letchworth State Park, New York
Middle Falls from Inspiration Point, Letchworth State Park, New York

Prophets today are still called to tell God’s people what He is doing (“Surely the Sovereign Lord does nothing without revealing his plan to his servants the prophets” (Amos 3:7).)  Frequently this isn’t all doom and gloom – it’s encouragement to seek God even more and to walk with Him in ways that will display heaven on earth.  (We see this even in the Old Testament when God called His people to turn to Him rather than face destruction.  For example, 2 Chronicles 36:15.)  That’s good news, not bad news, if your desire is to honor God with everything in you and to bring blessings on the place where you live (Jeremiah 29:7).

The keyhole at Monument Rocks, Kansas
The keyhole at Monument Rocks, Kansas

The gift of faith decerns what God’s will is on earth and believes for it in an unusually acute and powerful way.  If you’re seeking God to change or fix a situation, you want the gift of faith to be at work, believing for the good outcome.  Faith takes belief in what God has says and makes it extremely more powerful than the belief on its own.

Mt. Oberlin from the Reynolds Mountain Trail, Glacier National Park, Montana
Mt. Oberlin from the Reynolds Mountain Trail, Glacier National Park, Montana

In this way, the gift of faith works a bit like the gift of prophecy: both receive from God what His will is for what is happening here on earth, in some ways, what God wants to do next.  While the prophet speaks it out so that everyone knows what God is saying, the gift of faith believes for this to actually be accomplished on earth.

Petrified wood in the Ah-Shi-Sle-Pah Wilderness, New Mexico
Petrified wood in the Ah-Shi-Sle-Pah Wilderness, New Mexico

When God speaks to you about a situation, it’s helpful for you to know your role or the gift that God has given you: Are you a prophet, sent to declare the message?  Or do you have the gift of faith that may not scream it from the platform of the church but nevertheless believes and has faith for it until it comes to pass?  Either way, it’s useful to have the gift of faith operating right alongside the gift of prophesy so that 1) the prophecy is spoken in faith, and 2) the faith can take the prophesy and bring it even further than it could go on its own.