Over the past several letters we have discussed the nine gifts of the Spirit. These gifts are for the church, today. That is to say…”desire” to walk in these gifts as the Holy Spirit leads and directs us. They are in much need of, in and for today’s church; building up the body of Christ and winning the lost.
In today’s letter, I would like to continue on the subject of Spiritual Gifts. Not on any particular gift, but on “desiring” or “coveting the best” of these gifts for us NOW, TODAY!
There is no one gift that is more important than the other but I believe there are certain gifts, which each believer needs in operation for that season or particular day.
Paul speaks three different times in Corinthians to “eagerly desire” or “strive after” spiritual gifts. These scriptures are:
- 1 Corinthians 12:31 (NIV) But eagerly desire (in the Greek, Or But you are eagerly desiring the greater gifts. And now I will show you the most excellent way.
- 1 Corinthians 14:1 Let love be your highest goal, but also desire the special abilities the Spirit gives, especially the gift of prophecy.
- 1 Corinthians 14:39 So, dear brothers and sisters, be eager to prophesy, and don’t forbid speaking in tongues.
Paul did not tell them simply to accept or tolerate the gifts but to be “zealous” about them. When used, they must be used in accordance with the rules he lays down in chapters 12-14. Why did Paul command Christians to eagerly desire miraculous spiritual gifts? Because they were valuable then…and they are valuable now. Speaking in unknown tongues is one gift that ALL believers must have operating in their lives. Apostle Paul places an important value on the gift of tongues as stated in:
- 1 Corinthians 14:5 “I wish you all had the gift of speaking in tongues, but even more I wish you were all able to prophesy. For prophecy is a greater and more useful gift than speaking in tongues, unless someone interprets what you are saying so that the whole church can get some good out of it.”
As we see in 1 Corinthians Chapters 12 – 14 Paul was speaking that all should have and speak in tongues fluently in their personal, devotional or private time with the Lord, and that in a group setting such as in the congregation meeting; one should only speak aloud tongues (or speak for everyone to hear) if there is an interpretation.
- As Paul states, “But in a church meeting I would much rather speak five understandable words that will help others than ten thousand words in an unknown language.” (1 Corinthians 14:19)
Again let’s look at what the Word of God says about the nine Gifts of the Spirit…
- 1 Corinthians 12:4-11 “Now there are different kinds of spiritual gifts, but it is the same Holy Spirit who is the source of them all. There are different kinds of service in the church, but it is the same Lord we are serving. There are different ways God works in our lives, but it is the same God who does the work through all of us. A spiritual gift is given to each of us as a means of helping the entire church. To one person the Spirit gives the ability to give wise advice; to another he gives the gift of special knowledge. The Spirit gives special faith to another, and to someone else he gives the power to heal the sick. He gives one person the power to perform miracles, and to another the ability to prophesy. He gives someone else the ability to know whether it is really the Spirit of God or another spirit that is speaking. Still another person is given the ability to speak in unknown languages, and another is given the ability to interpret what is being said. It is the one and only Holy Spirit who distributes these gifts. He alone decides which gift each person should have.”
- In Corinthians, Paul told the church, “Now you have every spiritual gift you need as you eagerly wait for the return of our Lord Jesus Christ.” 1 Corinthians 1:7.
Yes, Spiritual Gifts are available to every believer but you must “desire” them.We can see in the Scriptures, that the gifts of tongues is a must for the Christian walk just as all the other spiritual gifts.
It is true that the Holy Spirit decides which gift each person should have but it is equally true that the Holy Spirit will not give a gift to one that is not wanting it or desiring it.
A good example of this was when I received the Baptism of the Holy Spirit. All my life I had been raised in Church and taught the Christian lifestyle but it wasn’t until I decide that I was missing the power in my life, the peace and rest that is only received through the Holy Spirit.
It wasn’t until I begin to “covet” or “earnestly desire” the Baptism of the Holy Ghost that I actually received the infilling of this marvelous gift. I knew that there was more and I did not have it. It was only after I had made up my mind, started to “desire” the Baptism more than anything in this world and went after it with my whole heart; mind, body and spirit that I received it.
These spiritual gifts are necessary for the perfecting of Christ’s body and will not cease until Christ returns as stated in:
- 1 Corinthians 13:8-12 “Love will last forever, but prophecy and speaking in unknown languages and special knowledge will all disappear. Now we know only a little, and even the gift of prophecy reveals little! But when the end comes, these special gifts will all disappear. It’s like this: When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child does. But when I grew up, I put away childish things. Now we see things imperfectly as in a poor mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. (or face to face) All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God knows me now.”
This maturity or “perfection” will not be reached until Christ’s return as stated here in:
- 1 John 3:2-3 “Yes, dear friends, we are already God’s children, and we can’t even imagine what we will be like when Christ returns. But we do know that when he comes we will be like him, for we will see him as he really is. And all who believe this will keep themselves pure, just as Christ is pure.”
- and in Ephesians 5:27 “He did this to present her to himself as a glorious church without a spot or wrinkle or any other blemish. Instead, she will be holy and without fault.”
Again I ask, Why does God continue to give miraculous (supernatural) gifts to the church?
Apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians chapters 12-14 gives us six reasons why God used these spiritual gifts in the first century and that they are just as important NOW and are to be applied TODAY.
- God gives miraculous gifts to strengthen the body of Christ, the Church.
- God commands us to eagerly desire the miraculous spiritual gifts, especially prophecy.
- God commands us not to forbid speaking in tongues, even when the gift of tongues is being significantly misused.
- Paul’s high esteem for the gift of tongues indicates that the gift has significant value in cultivating intimacy with the Lord.
- Paul’s speaks that the church is like a physical body indicates that all spiritual gifts are necessary for the health of the body of Christ.
- Scripture specifically states that the miraculous (supernatural) gifts of the Spirit will not cease until the return of the Lord.
If these gifts were important and taught as necessary in the early church and we are told in the scriptures “to eagerly desire or covet” these miraculous (supernatural) gifts Today and they are necessary until the Lord returns; than yes, it is of the greatest importance that every individual believer would begin NOW…TODAY, to cry out earnestly for the Holy Spirit to manifest these gifts in and through us.
Yes, it is my desire to “covet the best gifts” those that I need this day, this moment.
- What is it that you are in need of?
- What is it that your family is need of?
- How can we as believers reach the lost…our fellow workers, friends, neighbors and relatives?
The very answer to the question – How can I reach the lost? The answer is right here in our mist. Being filled with the Holy Spirit. Yes, desiring, coveting the Gifts of the Spirit and not letting go of that desire until God manifest His Spirit with signs and wonders following every believer.
God, manifesting the extraordinary/supernatural, the Spiritual Gifts into and thru your very being and life. My pray Today is that a day does not go by, from now until Christ comes back that we as a church proclaim the power that was demonstrated in Acts and sees these miraculous (supernatural) gifts manifested in every believer including our own lives.
Yes, for the perfecting of the saints and enlarging the Kingdom of God! Over the past several letters we have discussed the nine gifts of the Spirit and the need of these gifts manifested in the Church in our lives, for today, tomorrow and until Jesus returns.
Love in Christ Jesus,