Desiring the Gifts of the Spirit

Being a Christian and doing Church is meant to be supernatural – it’s about a Spirit led and empowered life, a community of believers listening to and moving in the Spirit. It’s not a club, it’s not a business, and it doesn’t operate the way they do, neither should it. In fact doing things the worlds way leads to death, not life. When that happens form steps in and takes over.

A big, big part of the dynamic of the Christian and Church’s life and ministry are the gifts of the Spirit, supernatural gifts that take us beyond the realm of what we know and can do. The sad fact is that even in many charismatic and pentecostal churches they are close to being absent, or the domain of a few.

As desire is to life in the natural, so it is in the realm of the Spirit – without desire nothing is accomplished.

In 1 Corinthians 12:4-11 Paul speaks of the variety and purpose of the gifts.

  • that they are a manifestation of the Spirit,” (gifts are not something that God up there gives to us down here. They are God present and active in our midst by His Spirit – they are “the public face of God” as Preben Vang puts it).
  • That they the people are Christ/his body and they need all the gifts (12:12-31).  V12, ‘parts’ is better than ‘members.’ ‘Members’ can sound like the members of club, a group of individuals who do something together from time to time, but not necessarily committed to one another; ‘parts’ speaks of a group of people bound together as unit for a larger purpose.
  • That they are not for a few special ministries but for all.
  • Then in verse 31 he says, Earnestly desire the greater (or more beneficial/most helpful) gifts.”

Then in chapter 13 he speaks of the importance for any ministry to be grounded in and flow out of love, before reconnecting with the subject of spiritual gifts in 1 Cor 14:1, where he says,

  • pursue love and earnestly desire spiritual gifts, especially that you may prophesy..” 
  • “I would like you all to speak in tongues, but even more to prophesy” – his God given desire for them.
  • Then in v. 39 he reiterates the importance of desire, earnestly desire to prophesy, and do not forbid speaking in tongues.”

Translations of the Greek for earnestly desire vary, but it carries the idea of being eager, zealous, ambitious! To go after zealously!! No holding back!

The fact is neither love nor the gifts come automatically, even though God distributes them as he wills, therefore passivity and indifference are out of the question, and it’s false to think, if God wants me to have the gifts he’ll just give them to me – God does not like, nor will he respond, to laziness or indifference.

There are times when we lack desire, it could be through sin, illness, discouragement etc., but one of the big reasons we lack desire for God, prayer, the Word and spiritual gifts, is that we are too sure of and confident in our own ability, and far to easily satisfied by this worlds meagre offerings.

What can we do if desire is lacking?

First, recognise it and go to God and repent of it. Ask him to stir again the embers of your heart. To reignite your passion for him and his purposes – remember, he deals with the real, not the religious.

Secondly…

  • Look at the need around you
  • Realise your inability/lack to be able to meet it.
  • Nevertheless, realise God wants to use you; yes, you!
  • Read the menu (the Bible) and start salivating and savouring – note:  if we don’t understand the menu we have a problem, therefore get understanding.
  • Understand how important the gifts are – do not underestimate them, they are not toys, not for a few special people, not for the specially devoted, “but for the empowerment of Christ’s body and the revealing of his love.” They are about Christ’s love for his people and the world at large.
  • You need to pray – not saying prayers, but to really pray, engage with God about the people and the needs around you.
  • You need to listen to his voice – Jesus only did what he heard and saw the Father doing.  
  • Then move into action and see what God will do through you.

Even now you may be thinking this is not for me, this is for the extrovert, those with greater faith, those who are more experienced, etc.. Well, to quote Francis Chan, “If we are not careful we can spend our lives justifying why God’s power is not seen in our lives” – Francis Chan. God forbid.

To hear the full message from which this is taken please go to:

https://soundcloud.com/gateway-church-ashford/desiring-the-gifts

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