Have you ever found yourself wanting more or wishing you were more like someone else? It might be the way they look or their ability to think quickly. Maybe you admire the sense of peace that seems to characterize their life even in times of turmoil.
Paul wrote a letter to the church in Corinth about this (1 Corinthians 14). It seems people were more than a bit contentious about the manifestation of spiritual gifts and which should be most highly prized. We see this today when we hear ourselves say things like, “I want more money, a better house, and more elegant vacations. I want people to admire my creative crafts. I want to be fit. I want to be the smartest.” Or this…”I just want to be happy. Nothing is more important than that.” For sure, these reflect more of our desires than our gifts. But Paul links the two: “Follow the way of love and eagerly desire gifts of the Spirit, especially prophecy. So it is with you. Unless you speak intelligible words with your tongue, how will anyone know what you are saying? You will just be speaking into the air. Since you are eager for gifts of the Spirit, try to excel in those that build up the church.” (Vs 1,12) The wise counsel for us is this: Since you have desire and passion for your life to be marked in a certain way, focus your greatest desires on encouraging others and building them up. Follow the way of love.
Prophecy sometimes refers to predicting future events but it also, perhaps more often, refers to seeking and speaking wisdom and godly instruction in times of uncertainty and the very real problems that perplex our lives. In this sense, prophecy speaks the truth and purpose of God for our lives. I think we would all find it beneficial to use this as our filter when listening to political candidates who are “speaking into the air” and also in the ways we engage in the lives of others close to us. Follow the way of love and seek to desire wisdom concerning the events of your life. Eagerly desire the gifts of the Spirit that God longs to bestow upon you.
It seems life is full of chaos and random disappointments that frustrate our happiness and fill us with fear. Our thoughts and actions seem driven by the insecurities and fears that threaten to overcome us. But that is not God’s design. He wants more for you and me. And he provides more for us. . . if we will just seek more of him and the spiritual gifts he longs to share.
What are these spiritual gifts? The bible describes a long list related to prophecy (speaking God’s truth), serving others, teaching, encouraging, giving,leading, being merciful, healing, faith, and more. Unlike our natural talents and skills, spiritual gifts are given to us so we can participate with God in fulfilling his plan.
So what shall we do? Shall we continue to seek riches or fame or comfort and happiness? Of all the gifts that you might desire, have you asked God to reveal the gifts he intends specifically for you, the ones he desires you to seek and use in order to follow the way of love and build up those around you?
Seeking God’s way in this troublesome world makes sense of the chaos in our lives. It brings purpose and meaning to the mundane. It speaks peace to the turmoil we experience. It’s okay to seek gifts. Seek the higher ones that God offers you today.
For God is not a God of disorder but of peace.
1 Corinthians 14:31