We’re continuing to look at Paul’s view of the spiritual gifts. He’s explaining them to the church in Corinth. The apostle was trying to straighten out some of their foolishness.
For the last few posts, we saw that the Gifts of the Spirit are useless without walking in love. That’s the most important ingredient in any ministry.
And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. Follow the way of love and eagerly desire spiritual gifts, especially the gift of prophecy.
1 Corinthians 13:13-14:1
We’re told here, that of the three most important concepts in Scripture – faith, hope, and love – the greatest is love. Paul then tells us to pursue love. In order to do that effectively, we need to walk in the spiritual gifts.
It literally says to be passionate about the things of the spirit. We should especially desire to show love by speaking a Word on behalf of God. That’s what prophecy is. God is love and if you speak His Word, then love will be evident.
In order to understand First Corinthians, chapter 14, we need to keep it in its context. Paul is writing to a church where everyone’s doing their own thing. All they care about is their own wants and desires. Love for others doesn’t enter into their thoughts.
He wants them to use their gifts to bless others. That’s the context of his next statement.
For anyone who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God. Indeed, no one understands him; he utters mysteries with his spirit. But everyone who prophesies speaks to men for their strengthening, encouragement and comfort.
1 Corinthians 14:2-3
There are those who look at these verses, and the ones that follow, and conclude that the gift of tongues is bad and prophecy is good. That’s not what Paul is trying to get across to this church. That’s why I talked about the context.
The apostle wants us to see that in the church setting, love needs to be the major component. Prayer in tongues has a definite purpose. I use it to build myself up. That’s a good thing, but it doesn’t directly show love to others.
So if I come to church and all I do is pray in the spirit, then I’m not loving others. Instead, I’m being self-centric.
In the church, there needs to be an evident communication of God’s love. Prophecy is a great gift for showing God’s love. God’s Word can be a powerful encouragement to those around us.
In the church, I have a choice. I can major on making sure that I’m blessed. That’s what the Corinthian Christians were doing and Paul wasn’t happy with them.
My other option is to go to church with a desire to bless others. Through the gift of prophecy, I can speak a word of strength, encouragement, and comfort. I believe that’s what “being the church” is all about.
And in reality, I’ve found that when I want to bless others, God finds a way to bless me in the process. There’s a mutual encouragement in the body of Christ.
Be passionate about spiritual gifts. And seek to show the love of God in all that you do.
Question: How were you positively affected by someone operating in their spiritual gift?
© 2019 Nick Zaccardi