Charisma is defined as ‘compelling attractiveness or charm that can inspire devotion in others’ or ‘the ability to attract the attention and admiration of others.’ Some people are naturally ‘charismatic’; others seem to turn charm on for effect. When the Bible talks about ‘charisma’, however, it means that which results from the activity of generosity, and refers to something which is not earned or deserved in any way. In other words, it refers to a gift, a gift with no strings attached and no concditions.

We often feel that a free gift is worth little (think about cheap Christmas crackers with their plastic gifts which no one really wants and compare that with a box of 6 Fortnum & Mason crackers (costing £1000) which has gifts including an Alex Monroe charm bracelet or a sterling silver honey drizzler!) However, God’s gifts are not worthless, even if they are free. HIs common gifts (including life itself) cannot be valued in the way we may value a piece of art. Every life is precious and irreplaceable.

God’s grace and forgiveness are free gifts which are also very precious. (Rom 6:23) We often don’t see our sin as wrong (everyone else is just as sinful, after all!), but in comparison to the purity and holiness of God, we clearly fall far short of the mark. We deserve sin and death and punishment, but instead, God’s gift of grace is offered to us (Rom 5:15). We can have many gifts from God (see 1 Cor 1:4-7, 1 Cor 12:4-9). These include what are commonly known as ‘gifts of the Spirit’, including those of inspiration (speaking in tongues, interpreting these other languages and prophecy), revelation (words of knowledge, wisdom and distinguishing of spirits) and power (healings, miraculous powers and faith.) Rom 12:6-8 reminds us that we have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us and need to use these and not neglect them (see 1 Tim 4:14, 2 Tim 1:6, 1 Pet 4:10).

God’s free gifts are not to be despised. We need to use what He gives us and seek more, for there are no favourites in God. God bestows His gifts on all who come and sincerely ask.