But eagerly desire the greater gifts. And now I will show you the most excellent way.
1 Corinthians 12:31
The first thing that gets my attention is that Paul tells us to eagerly desire something. That’s important. The word he uses means to be passionate about it. We’re to be emotionally invested in obtaining these gifts.
I feel bad when I see Christians who seem disinterested in walking in the power of God. What greater witness could there be than to see a divine miracle take place in your life or the life of your loved one? It’s the power of God that draws people to the cross.
However, there’s another aspect of this statement that’s often misunderstood. I’ve heard teachers use this verse to say that some gifts are more important than others. So they start comparing gifts.
“After all, speaking in tongues only builds up that believer; while prophecy builds up the church. So it’s more important that you prophesy.”
That statement shows a lack of understanding concerning the gifts of the Spirit. I’ve heard others explain that the greater gifts are the ones that you need right at the moment. While that’s a little bit better, it doesn’t go far enough.
The word greater, in the Greek, is a special word. It literally means larger or to a greater degree. I don’t believe that Paul wants us to compare gifts and only be passionate about the better ones. He’s telling us to be passionate about walking in God’s gifts to a greater degree.
There’s a verse of Scripture that will bear this out. Look at how this same Greek word is used here.
But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”
More grace. Do you think that the grace we have isn’t good enough? So God has to give us better grace? No! God wants to give us His grace to a greater degree.
We need to be passionate about walking in God’s gifts, and His grace, to a greater degree than we now have.
But Paul isn’t finished yet. He wants to show us the most excellent way of walking in the gifts of the Spirit.
The Greek word translated as excellent is hyperballo. Hyperballo, literally means, to throw beyond. The word picture being used is of an Olympic sport such as the javelin throw.
Everyone else has thrown it to a certain, average point. You, however, get up and throw it beyond all the others. That’s a picture of the concept of excellence. When you throw beyond the normal or what’s expected, then you’ve entered the realm of the excellent.
When you serve Christ, you need to be going beyond the average or what’s expected. That’s what will get people’s attention.
So starting in my next post, we’ll be looking at this most excellent way of ministry. Of course, many of you already know that Paul is going to be talking about the way of love. Hopefully, as we study it together, we’ll get some new insight into this amazing walk.
Questions: How passionate are you about walking in the Lord’s power to a greater degree? How does it show?
© 2019 Nick Zaccardi