I’m continuing to post about Paul’s exhortation to build up the church. That’s found in his first letter to the Corinthians. We’re now in chapter 14.
So it is with you. Since you are eager to have spiritual gifts, try to excel in gifts that build up the church.
1 Corinthians 14:12
This verse strikes at the heart of one of the biggest misunderstandings that we can have as believers. I’ve heard many people speak out against the usage of the Gifts of the Spirit.
Some say that these gifts ceased with the original 12 apostles. Others teach that we have no say in what gifts we receive. God’s sovereign choice is the only determining factor in the giving of these gifts.
I was very careful in the above two paragraphs to use the word “gifts”. That’s an important point that I want to make. The word, gift, has a certain connotation in our society.
When I think of what a gift is, I think of something that somebody picked out just for me. The giver determines what the gift is, who it will go to, and when it will be given. That’s the problem addressed by this verse.
Scripturally speaking, the “Gifts of the Spirit” are not gifts. That’s a term that man has come up with for tongues, prophecy, miracles, etc.
Even in the above verse, the English translation uses the word gifts twice. But the word gift is not in the Greek original of that verse at all.
The Bible calls these things workings or manifestations of the Spirit. They’re the functions of the Holy Spirit through the church. It’s how the Holy Spirit manifests Himself in the world.
That’s why it’s foolish to say that the “Gifts of the Spirit” have ceased. That’s like saying that the Holy Spirit has ceased doing His job.
We need to hear what the above verse actually says in its original language. It reads, “Since you are passionate about spiritual things, be passionate about super-abounding at building up the church.”
The Holy Spirit wants to work through us. He’s looking for people who are willing to be used. These signs, wonders, and miracles are how He operates.
I believe that when it comes to these workings, it has more to do with our willingness than God’s sovereign choice. That’s why we’re told to passionately pursue those spiritual workings that build up the church. It’s something I can strive for.
I think it’s funny that the word passion appears twice in the original of this verse, and not once in English. Passion is something I can cultivate. The more time I spend with the Holy Spirit, the more passionate I become towards Him and His work.
Spend time in the spirit. Develop a passion for His work. Then, expect to see the miracles that can only come from the Holy Spirit working through you. Make it your desire to use this spiritual work to bless and build up all those who the Lord brings into your life.
Question: Why is our willingness to be used by God so important?
© 2019 Nick Zaccardi