Among several challenges that plunge believers today, the role of charisma and character in the church is highly misplaced. Whilst a faction of believers would love to operate in charismatic endowments or be carried away by such great display of signs and wonders others would totally prefer to build a good Christian character and have nothing to do with spiritual gifts or ‘gimics‘, as some have termed it. In spite of these opposing views, a question that remains unanswered is this; What should a believer who is caught in a tempting situation to make a decision on either Charisma or Character do? We hope to shed some light on the subject and by so doing help many who may be struggling to choose either charisma or character.
What is charisma?
Charisma is a Greek word derived from charis (which means Grace). It is a term that is translated as gift and has its plural form as charismata meaning spiritual gifts as used in Romans 1:11, 12:6-8
“For I long to see you, that I may impart unto you some spiritual gift, to the end ye may be established”
“Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, let us prophesy in proportion to our faith; or ministry, let us use it in our ministering; he who teaches, in teaching; he who exhorts, in exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness”.
In our time, the term charisma is fancied more than it has ever been and is greatly abused by many. It is sometimes thought of as a unique flare or attractive charm a person carries. This erroneous understanding has led many to believe they are better than others in the faith. Some who are spiritually gifted go to unimaginable extents to prove they have mastery or in-depth understanding and authority over others. That should not be the case and we would later point out what causes these problems.
Gifts are spiritual endowments. They cannot be learnt, copied or inherited. They are God-given abilities. As the Bible says; “But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it”– Ephesians 4:7. Leslie R. Flynn pens down a definition for ‘gift’ as “a divinely ordained spiritual ability through which Christ enables His church to execute its task on earth”. He adds that gifts have a: source—the special grace of the Holy Spirit; nature—spiritual ability, endowment, power; purpose—service, or ministry, to edify saints. This is what differentiates gifts from talents. Whereas the latter is natural borne, the former is spiritually borne and given during a new birth experience to serve a unique purpose.
Is ‘character’ relevant?
Now you know that you carry spiritual endowments as a believer but that is not enough. It is not enough to manifest great powers through the Holy Spirit. It is not enough to comprehend mysteries and expound scriptures. O yes, it is not enough to be gifted. For that which gives relevance to the gifts you carry is your ‘character’. The Christian character is summed up in the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22). In fact, God has placed much significance to the fruit of the spirit such that without it one can say a believer has missed the mark. Unfortunately, our generation chase after spiritual gifts (something we shouldn’t do) with stinking characters. The day character flies through the window it won’t take time for you to be exposed, For, by their fruits, you shall know them (Matthew 7:16).
Apostle Paul describes believers who have gifts but do not have love (fruit of the Spirit) as a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. This means they are noisemakers who would not have any results for their efforts. This is why such persons would go through extreme measures to stomp their authorities, or do strange things to prove they have spiritual abilities.
Indeed, we (believers) are a reflection of the fruit of the Spirit. Anything void of the fruit of the Spirit is a mirage. In his own words, Leslie R. Flynn wrote that “Spirit-given abilities are necessary, but Spirit-produced fruit is more significant”. In the body of Christ, both charisma and character are significant and must be developed in humility so that a person is not puffed up. Therefore, the choice of one over the other is not relevant but what is necessary is to develop your spiritual gifts by building a godly character that pleases God and edifies your hearers. Do this and God will elevate your ministry and use you in ways you could never have imagined.