“PURSUE LOVE, AND EARNESTLY DESIRE THE SPIRITUAL GIFTS” (1 Cor. 14:1) ...and, um, then what?!
An exciting aspect our new church plant is seeing the many ways God is revealing his goodness and grace through the many members actively serving one another. Because of the gospel and the ascended Christ, this is a living demonstration in our midst that “To each one is given a manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.” (1 Cor. 12:7). God’s people are joyfully doing what they love and are gifted to do! The Holy Spirit is actively at work!
Weekly we are blessed with gifts of serving, mercy, leadership, administration, preaching, exhortation, and prophecy, among others. God’s people are edified, and as a result, are more aware of God’s love. What a rich experience!
“But”, you may ask, “how do I know what I’m gifted to do?” Notice I did not say, “How do I know what my gifts are?” This isn’t a right or wrong, but it’s important to recognize that these are God’s gifts, given to God’s people, in order to bless others, as God sees fit.
Wayne Grudem defines spiritual gift as “any ability that is empowered by the Holy Spirit and used in any ministry (act of service) in the church.
So, how do we recognize and exercise spiritual gifts? I Corinthians 14:1, first of all, exhorts us to “pursue love”. In any context in which you will gather with other believers, ask God to fill your heart with a love for his people, and to give you eyes and ears to perceive where and how that love can be expressed.
Then “earnestly desire the spiritual gifts”. Ask the Lord to impart to you and through you some manifestation, some demonstration, some expression of his power and presence that will build up others and point them to a deeper awareness of Jesus Christ.
Finally…act, move, take a step. Where do see an opportunity? Greet someone, offer to help, take an interest, pray for the sick, invite someone out to lunch, share a verse of Scripture, organize care, plan an event, give a financial gift, offer a thought that you sense God is giving you about and for someone, specifically encourage or thank someone.
This might vary from week to week or from one setting to another; but very often you may find yourself consistently impressed to serve and love in a similar way each time. Certainly don’t limit God in the ways he might use you! Just know that a small gesture of love may very well be the Holy Spirit empowering you to give a gift from God!