EARNESTLY DESIRING WHAT GOD HAS GIVEN TO US
By Rodney W. Francis
In the Bible we read of a number of things that God has provided for us in Jesus Christ. When God gives something to us it is then over to us to accept and believe, make good use of, and walk in the blessings of those things. Some of those things that God has given to us are the nine Gifts of the Holy Spirit that we read about in 1 Corinthians Chapters 12, 13 and 14. We are told at the beginning of Chapter 12 that we are not to be ignorant (“not to perceive or know; not to understand or comprehend”) concerning Spiritual Gifts. The reason is that the Spiritual Gifts in operation do for us what nothing else can. Consider this verse: “But the manifestation (“a making known; exhibition, i.e. expression. The act of demonstrating”) of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit (“advantage; be better for”) of all” (1 Corinthians 12:7 ). When those Spiritual Gifts are truly in operation everyone is better off. God has given those Gifts so we can be workers together with the Holy Spirit and bringing His truth and revelation to those He speaks to us about. It is a ministry of speaking Spirit to spirit to people. The spirit realm is eternal, so when we are operating with the Holy Spirit and using the Gifts He has given us, we are being used of God to set-up things within peoples’ lives that will last throughout time and into all eternity.
Let us remind ourselves that God only gives to us what we really need. He gave us the Spiritual Gifts because we need them to be functioning in and through our lives so we can be used of God to bring other people to spiritual maturity. And as we function in exercising the Spiritual Gifts we also are blessed and matured more and more. It is sad that there is so much ignorance in Christian circles with regards the workings of the Holy Spirit and His Gifts. So many Christian meetings do not make room, or allow time, for the Holy Spirit Gifts to function. We are the losers when that happens. 2 Timothy 1:6 tells us to “stir up the gift of God which is in us/you . . .” We are told to “earnestly desire the best (“greater”) gifts” (1 Corinthians 12:31 ) and to “Pursue (“go after”) love, and desire (“be zealous toward”) spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy” . . . “But he who prophesies speaks edification (“to construct and establish”) and exhortation (“a calling near, or for – to produce a particular effect”) and comfort (“a speaking near, or with anyone, i.e. kindly, soothingly; implying persuasive power, and expressed with tenderness” – Bullinger’s) (1 Corinthians 14:1-4 ). “Even so you, since you are zealous (“eager”) for spiritual gifts, let it be for the edification of the church that you seek to excel” (1 Corinthians 14:12 ). The word “excel” means “to be over and above, to excel in number or measure” (Bullinger’s); “to super-abound (in quantity or quality), be in excess, be superfluous (“more than is required”); to cause to super-abound or excel ~ (make, more) abound (“have, have more”) abundance (be more) abundant, be the better, enough and to spare, exceed, excel, increase, remain (over and above)” (Strong’s). Consider what is being said here.
- With regards to Spiritual Gifts we should be so earnest in our desire to function in them that we actually want to be the best at operating in them.
- This is not a pride thing.
- It is realizing the importance of those Spiritual Gifts to be operating and so we desire earnestly to be the best at functioning in them.
- Just imagine what the Christian Church would rise to if every Holy Spirit-filled believer had that desire to excel in the Spiritual Gifts.
- We would see a very powerful Christian Church/witness demonstrating the power of God as believers worked together with the Holy Spirit to express His Gifts amongst the people.
- How strong is your desire to function in the Spiritual Gifts?
Why are these Spiritual Gifts not more sought after amongst Christian believers today? Man’s teachings have explained them away with teachings like they are not for today. No encouragement or time is given to allow them to operate within our meetings. Often leaders do not trust their people enough to hear from God. The value of the Spiritual Gifts is not recognized. Then there are the personal hassles that many of us have to deal with: shyness, afraid of what others might say or think, doubting the voice of the Holy Spirit, doubting that God wants to use us, pride, not open enough to the Holy Spirit to use us in that way, etc.
The Body of Christ is likened to the natural body. When just one member of our natural body is not able to function according to its created purpose, then the whole body suffers with that individual (see 1 Corinthians 12:12-31 ). So it is when we Holy Spirit-filled believers are not functioning in the giftings that God has given to us, then the whole body suffers as a result. We are saved to function in the purposes of God!
- It is time that the Body of Christ is made well and whole through the Holy Spirit being able to minister to it through the Spiritual Gifts operating out of every member of that body!
- That includes you and it includes me.
- We have to cultivate an earnest desire that grows to be larger than any and every excuse we may be hiding behind.
- As long as we have an excuse, we will always disobey God!
- It is our responsibility to recognize the hindrances, then to deal with them so we can be in a place with God where He can speak to us and use us through the operation of the Spiritual Gifts in varied and wonderful ways.
- Peoples’ lives are impacted by the Holy Spirit when we are releasing the Spiritual Gifts motivated by the love of Jesus. Hallelujah!
- So many testimonies to God’s glory come forth after the operation of the Spiritual Gifts.
- Let us not be a hindrance any longer, but cultivate that earnest desire to be available to the Holy Spirit to do whatever He desires of us.
THE POWER OF PROPHESYING
When we look at what the Scriptures teach on the Spiritual Gifts, we see they are given to have a powerful effect in the lives of the receivers. Consider the power of this verse: “But if all prophesy, and an unbeliever or an uninformed person comes in, he is convinced by all, he is convicted by all. And thus the secrets of his heart are revealed; and so, falling down on his face, he will worship God and report that God is truly among you. How is it then, brethren? Whenever you come together, each of you has a psalm, has a teaching, has a tongue, has a revelation (“includes discernment”), has an interpretation. Let all things be done for edification” (1 Corinthians 14:24-26 ). I have personally seen this happen on more than one occasion. Notice it says: “But if all prophesy . . .” Is it God’s will for every Christian to prophesy? Let the Bible speak: “For you can all prophesy one by one, that all may learn and all may be encouraged (“cheer up; take heart; feel confidence”)” (1 Corinthians 14:31 ). Prophesying is one of the nine Gifts of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:7-10 ). The answer:
- Every Holy Spirit-filled Christian believer can prophesy!
- How strong is your desire to do that?
- Remember, when we are obeying the voice of God and functioning in His Spiritual Gifts, then we are being used of God to build up the Body of Christ to become much stronger than it presently is. May God stir us all into being available for the Holy Spirit to use us.