Using Spiritual Gifts, part 3

We must earnestly desire spiritual gifts

A pious pastor once told me, “Seek the Giver, not the gifts.” There’s truth in that, but what does the Bible say?

But earnestly desire the best gifts. …
–1 Corinthians 12:31a NKJV

What are the “best gifts”? Those that build up the Church—individually and corporately.

Follow the way of love and eagerly desire spiritual gifts, especially the gift of prophecy.
–1 Corinthians 14:1 NIV

Therefore, my brethren, desire earnestly to prophesy, and do not forbid to speak in tongues.
–1 Corinthians 14:39 NASB

Why is prophecy so important? Because it’s immediately understood. Paul said, “in the church I would rather speak five intelligible words to instruct others than ten thousand words in a tongue.”

Paul was not criticizing messages in tongues, rather messages in tongues with no interpretation.

What good is the manifestation of a spiritual gift if no one understands what God is saying? Because prophecy is immediately understood since it’s in your native language, it will edify. Tongues with interpretation is the equivalent of prophecy.

In all these verses, the King James versions says, “covet earnestly.” That word covet in Greek is zeloo, meaning “to have warmth of feeling for, covet earnestly, desire, envy, be jealous over, be zealous for.”

God’s Word commands us to be zealous and envious to move in the gifts of the Spirit. Jesus said,

“Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.”
–Mark 11:24 KJV

Jesus said that whatever we desire, crave for, beg for… to not only ask God for it, but to believe and trust Him to the point that you can reach right out and take it. Then, He said, you’ll have it—it will come to pass.

That’s what we’re to do about spiritual gifts. We have what we need—the Holy Spirit—but we must covet the ability to step out and use that which He’s freely
given us.

Next installment, we’ll learn how to stir ourselves up.

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