How to Apply the 7 Gifts of the Holy Spirit in Your Life
One of the many benefits of being a Catholic is that you gain the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit when you undergo the Sacrament of Confirmation. You may have heard of these seven gifts before, but what exactly are they and how do they manifest in our lives?
Receiving the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit not only improves our spiritual life, they may also improve our overall living if we make them part of our character. If you are a confirmed Catholic, pondering whether to proceed with your Confirmation, or curious about the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit, here is how you can apply the seven gifts in your daily life.
Be as wise as Solomon when you receive the gift of wisdom. This gift manifests by making us more capable of making choices based on our Christian faith and virtues. With the Holy Spirit's wisdom, we are able to decide, speak, think, act, and pray like Christ.
"Gold and glass cannot equal wisdom, nor can it be exchanged for jewels or vessels of fine gold." - Job 28:17
Next to wisdom, the Holy Spirit also gives us understanding as a valuable gift.
"But, aren't wisdom and understanding the same thing?"
While they may be closely related etymologically, wisdom and understanding manifest in different ways. Wisdom is a process that occurs entirely in thought; understanding, on the other hand, is a gift of the Holy Spirit that dwells in your heart. When you 'understand' a situation the same way Christ would, you 'think' with the goodness of your heart.
The manifestations of understanding do not end there. The gift of understanding also grants you the ability to further understand miracles, verses, signs sent by God that may not be immediately obvious to someone who has not received Christ, the mysteries of our faith, and many others. There is so much to understand in the environment that God has given us-- and we will easily understand them when we accept the second gift of the Holy Spirirt.
"But there is a spirit in man; and the inspiration of the Almighty gives them understanding." - Job 32:8
3. Counsel or Right Judgment
The gifts of the Holy Spirit do not manifest in our hearts and minds: the third gift encourages us to discern based on our Christian faith and to consistently choose good over evil.
The gift of counsel or right judgment manifests in the ability to do what is right, and to make decisions that would benefit the Lord.
"And they said unto him, "ask counsel". We pray to you, oh God, that we may know whether our way shall be prosperous." - Judges 18:5
Oftentimes, the gift of knowledge is confused with the benefits that come with the gifts of wisdom, understanding, and counsel; however, the gift of Knowledge granted through the Holy Spirit may be understood as the ability to constantly see God's hand in all things. When we are blessed with the gift of knowledge, we need not be reminded that God's is constantly working around us: we simply immediately know.
"To you it was shown, that you might realize and have personal knowledge that the Lord is God; there is no other besides Him." - Deuteronomy 4:35
Each of the gifts of the Holy Spirit intend to transform us to becoming better Christians. If you failed at keeping God's name sacred once, or if you were unable to attend Sunday mass at one point, the gift of piety will strengthen your resolve at being a more pious Christian. The gift of piety strengthens your soul, making you a stronger individual in the process.
"For kings and all who are in authority, a quiet and peaceable life we may all lead in piety and gravity." 1 Timothy 2:2
While piety strengthens our spirit to fight temptation and evil, fortitude translates this strength to something more tangible and physical. Fortitude from the Holy Spirit (sometimes known as courage) is a God-given kind of strength that extends to our words, deeds, and actions.
When we are fortified by the Holy Spirit, we become more actively (and physically) capable of fighting evil and temptation.
"And fortitude develops maturity of character. And character of this sort produces joyful and confident hope of eternal salvation." - Romans 5:4
7. Fear of the Lord
Finally, the Holy Spirit also grants us the ability to constantly acknowledge that everything around us belongs to the Lord. Fear of the Lord should not be understood as the negative fear of God's wrath; instead, it manifests in our lives as the consistent recognition that God is the source of all life. Fear of the Lord may also be understood as awe of the Lord, or wonder of the Lord. While the word "fear" may give off a negative connotation, the actual gift is nothing but positive.
Why is it important to receive the gifts of the Holy Spirit?
There are many reasons why the Bible (particularly the Book of Isaiah) reveals the existence of these gifts. The life of a Christian is not one without problems, temptation, and fear. As we age, we will undoubtedly encounter problems caused by our wrong decisions, our lack of faith, and our lack of trust in the Lord. Without the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit, we are likely to backslide from our faith, and succumb to the temptations of the evil one. It goes without saying that the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit serve as our shield against evil entities, evil thoughts, evil deeds, and evil words.