A Biblical Guide to Operating in Your Strengths

Mar 14, 2024

In my coaching, I help leaders identify, more fully operate in, and develop their strengths. There are so many great tools and resources out there to help us in this area (thank you to all the experts out there for these gems!), but I find that we can easily approach the topic as though it is detached from our walk with Jesus. Truthfully, no one knows our gifts and strengths better than the One who created us. Without a Christ-centered approach to operating in our gifts and talents, we are at best relying on our own strengths, and at worst creating a self-serving agenda that hurts and uses others rather than lifting and building them up. 

So here’s some biblical truths for you to help you approach your strengths from a place of faith, boldness, humility and love: 

God created you.

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;

your works are wonderful,

I know that full well.

15 My frame was not hidden from you

when I was made in the secret place,

when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.

-Psalm 139:14-15 NIV

You are designed by God. You aren’t missing pieces, defective, or deficient. You have been formed by the Creator. Yes, you have had negative words spoken over you and experiences that have hurt you, but they do not need to define you or limit your capacity to operate in your strengths. And you don’t need the strengths someone else has, or God would have given them to you. When He uniquely created you, He didn’t make any mistakes. 

God redeemed you.

7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace 8 that he lavished on us.

-Ephesians 1:7-8a NIV

You were once dead in your sin, but now you are alive in Christ. You are forgiven, cleansed, and now we live in the riches of God’s grace. So when you approach examining and operating in your strengths, you can do so without shame, insecurity, guilt, comparison, envy or strife. Instead,  you can discover your strengths through the lens of grace— grace for yourself and grace for others.

God called you.

19 Then He said to them, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.”

-Matthew 4:19 NKJV

The best way to operate in your unique gifting and maximize your strengths is by following Jesus. As you follow, He makes you—He forms you, develops you and matures you. The greatest opportunities to become all that God has formed you to be will come through obedience, surrender, and sacrifice. Often we are told to evaluate our jobs and opportunities by how it caters to our strengths. Certainly, we need to be aware of this, but it’s not our primary objective. As those called by Jesus, we know that faithfulness leads to fruitfulness, and obedience is success.

God equips you.

10 And the gospel must first be preached to all nations. 11 Whenever you are arrested and brought to trial, do not worry beforehand about what to say. Just say whatever is given you at the time, for it is not you speaking, but the Holy Spirit.

-Mark 13:10-11 NIV

It’s the Holy Spirit who equips you to fulfill our God-given assignments. The greatest Giver, Teacher and Developer of your gifts is the Holy Spirit– not a book, a program or even a great mentor, boss or coach. God uses these things/people to help us, but they aren’t the source– they’re the tools. The greatest practices you have to operate in our strengths are spiritual disciplines: time in the Word, time in prayer, Sabbath, solitude, fasting, serving, generosity, bearing witness, etc.

God is with you.

18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

-Matthew 28:18-20 NIV

Your ultimate confidence lies in Who is with you, not in your skills or talents. I am by no means minimizing your gifts and strengths, but I’m not aren’t naive enough to believe that your strengths are enough for the things God has entrusted you with. 

God gives you gifts and strengths for a purpose.

In his grace, God has given us different gifts for doing certain things well. So if God has given you the ability to prophesy, speak out with as much faith as God has given you. 7 If your gift is serving others, serve them well. If you are a teacher, teach well. 8 If your gift is to encourage others, be encouraging. If it is giving, give generously. If God has given you leadership ability, take the responsibility seriously. And if you have a gift for showing kindness to others, do it gladly. 9 Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them…

-Romans 12:6-9a NLT

Your gifts and strengths were not intended to be self-serving. Yes, operating in your strengths will be energizing and bring you joy (thank you, Lord, for wiring us this way!), but that’s not the end game. The goal of knowing your strengths and developing them is to genuinely love and serve God and others. 

God wants you to use your strengths.

20 The servant to whom he had entrusted the five bags of silver came forward with five more and said, ‘Master, you gave me five bags of silver to invest, and I have earned five more.’ 21 “The master was full of praise. ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant. You have been faithful in handling this small amount, so now I will give you many more responsibilities. Let’s celebrate together!’

-Matthew 25:20-21 NLT

In the parable of the talents, the good and faithful servants are the ones who do something with what has been entrusted to them. They don’t hide it, minimize it or neglect it. They put it to use and increase what they’ve been given. So don’t let fear, apathy, comparison, or insecurity keep you from owning and operating in your strengths. Faithfulness requires work and courage. Be gutsy and give it a go. 

Thanks for reading!

I pray this encourages you.

Keep leaning into your strengths and using them, friend. The world needs what you’ve got!