In today’s daily thoughts, I would like to write 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! Again, I can find no way to shorten this writing today, so I make no apology to the length of today’s thoughts. Keep your mind and heart open as you read today and allow the Holy Spirit to work in and through you.
There is no one gift that is more important than the other, but I believe there are certain gifts that are of importance to individual believers. The Holy Spirit knows best which gifts are needed and when to distribute these “special abilities” among the believers. I believe these gifts will flow on a regular basis, when needed and where you are at the time of need. Not that we in ourselves can operate them on our own, for it is the Holy Spirit who is working within us to do the Father’s will and distributes these gifts when needed and necessary.
These “special abilities” are to be used to build up the body of Christ. I believe it will take our part in consecration to the Word of God, desiring and available to become that vessel, or you might say, the instrument for His use. Paul speaks three different times in Corinthians to “eagerly desire” or “strive after” spiritual gifts. These scriptures are: 1 Corinthians 12:31, 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 (NIV). 1 Corinthians 14:1, Let love be your highest goal! But you should also desire the special abilities the Spirit gives–especially the ability to prophesy (NLT). 1 Corinthians 14:39, so, dear brothers and sisters, be eager to prophesy and don’t forbid speaking in tongues (NLT). 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 these “special abilities” or, you might say, miraculous spiritual gifts? Because they were valuable then…and they are valuable now. These special gifts are used to encourage the church, believers in Christ Jesus, and meet the needs of “the church” “the people”. The gift of speaking in unknown tongues is for all believers to receive after they have been born again. This second experience brings the believer into a closer relationship with the Father, which allows the Holy Spirit to flow through the vessel, fulfilling the will of God. This one particular gift is NOT listed as one of the nine gifts of the Spirit. The reason is because it is a gift that all believers need and should desire and receive as needed in operation on a daily basis in their own lives. Yes, speaking in unknown tongues is this one gift that ALL believers can have and should have after they believe. It is much needed in every believer to have operating in their lives which will help encourage us and keep us focused for the purpose of salvation to the lost until Jesus returns.
All the gifts are given by the Holy Spirit to individuals to help us become successful witnesses and living testimonies. Our life should always show who Christ is in the believer and for the purpose of showing the love of God to the lost. Unknown tongues are simply the Holy Spirit speaking in and through the person. This is of most importance; for when we do not know what to say and how to communicate to God, the Holy Spirit knows what to say. This is truly an indescribable way to communicate to God. This brings such freedom in Christ. When the Holy Spirit has free reign in our mind (emotions, will), soul, and spirit, then God has a vessel for His use and purpose. Apostle Paul places an important value on the gift of tongues when used in a group setting. This gift of tongues and interpretation is one of the nine gifts listed in 1 Corinthians chapter 12.
Apostle Paul speaks of the importance of tongues and interpretation in a group or church setting, as stated in 1 Corinthians 14:5, I wish you could all speak in tongues, but even more I wish you could all prophesy. Prophecy is greater than speaking in tongues unless someone interprets what you are saying so that the whole church will be strengthened (NLT). Paul states 1 Corinthians 14:19, 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 (NLT).
As we see in 1 Corinthians 12-14, the human body has many parts, but the many parts make up one whole body. So it is with the body of Christ. 13 Some of us are Jews, some are Gentiles, some are slaves, and some are free. But we have all been baptized into one body by one Spirit, and we all share the same Spirit. Yes, the body has many different parts, not just one part (NLT). Here Apostle Paul was speaking that all should have and speak in tongues fluently during 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. Again, let’s look at what the Word of God says about the nine Gifts of the Spirit…as stated in 1 Corinthians 12:4-11 (NLT).
Verse 4, There are different kinds of spiritual gifts, but the same Spirit is the source of them all.
Verse 5, There are different kinds of service, but we serve the same Lord.
Verse 6, God works in different ways, but it is the same God who does the work in all of us.
Verse 7, A spiritual gift is given to each of us so we can help each other.
Verse 8, [gift 1] To one person, the Spirit gives the ability to give wise advice;
[gift 2] To another, he gives the gift of special knowledge.
Verse 9, [gift 3] The same Spirit gives great faith to another, [gift 4] and to someone else the one Spirit gives the gift of healing. Verse 10, [gift 5] He gives one person the power to perform miracles, [gift 6], and another the ability to prophesy. [gift 7] He gives someone else the ability to discern whether a message is from the Spirit of God or from another spirit. [gift 8] Still another person is given the ability to speak in unknown languages, [gift 9] while another is given the ability to interpret what is being said.
Verse 11, It is the one and only Holy Spirit who distributes these gifts. He alone decides which gift each person should have (NLT).
In Corinthians, Paul told the church in 1 Corinthians 1:7, “Now you have every spiritual gift you need as you eagerly wait for the return of our Lord Jesus Christ (NLT).“ Yes, Spiritual Gifts are available to every believer, but you must “desire” them. We can see in the Scriptures that the gifts of tongues are a must for the Christian walk just as all the other spiritual gifts and are helpful in the church to encourage each other in the Lord. 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 does not want it or desires it.
May I give you an example of this 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 something in my life, the peace, the rest and the power to become a witness for Christ which is only received through the Holy Spirit. It wasn’t until I began 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, soul and spirit. Yes, I surrendered my mind, emotions, and will to the working of the Holy Spirit to do His will in my body, mind, and soul.
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, Prophecy and speaking in unknown languages and special knowledge will become useless. But love will last forever! Now, our knowledge is partial and incomplete, and even the gift of prophecy reveals only part of the whole picture! But when the time of perfection comes, these partial things will become useless. When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish things. Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely. (NLT)
This maturity or “perfection” will not be reached until Christ’s return and takes us with Him, 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. Also, 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 (NLT).
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 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 speaks that the church is like a physical body, indicating that all spiritual gifts are necessary for the health of the body of Christ.
Scripture specifically states that these “special abilities” 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 you can come to the conclusion that they are just as important and necessary for today and until Jesus returns.
It is of the greatest importance that every individual believer would begin NOW…TODAY, to cry out earnestly to know God and “earnestly desire” the Holy Spirit to manifest these gifts in and through us These “special abilities” are part of the plan of God to be used by His people with the direction of the Holy Spirit.
Yes, it is my desire to “covet the best gifts” those that I need for this day, this moment. When we go after the love of God, we will know His love. Through this love, we will know God, and the Holy Spirit distributes these “special abilities” through the power of the Holy Spirit.
Love is to be in all that we do, and these “supernatural” spiritual gifts will flow through the love of God for the benefit of His church.
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 manifests His Spirit with signs and wonders following every believer.
May God manifest the extraordinary/supernatural, spiritual gifts into and thru your very being and life. My prayer for 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!