Posts Tagged Gifts of the Spirit

Caught Unaware

1 Corinthians 12: 1

Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I do not want you to be unaware.

Here we find Paul writing to the church, which he established in Corinth. He had a pastor’s heart towards the people in Corinth. He wrote them letters in order to encourage and instruct them. This statement from him makes my pastor’s heart grieve though, for one thing is sure, we are unaware concerning spiritual gifts. Many people who are Christians, even people who attended church for 30 years or more are not even aware that there is such a thing as spiritual gifts much less what they are and how they operate in the lives of believers. In truth, they are not operating in the lives of believers because we are predominantly unaware of even their existence. There clearly is not enough time or space in a devotional to explore this topic at any depth but at least we can make ourselves aware.

Paul lists nine gifts of the Spirit in this chapter. The first important point to notice is that these are gifts of the Holy Spirit of God. Not one of us has to be a special saint in order to exercise these gifts. The Holy Spirit simply manifests his gifts through each one of us. The nine gifts are: word of wisdom, word of knowledge, faith, gifts of healing, effecting of miracles, prophecy, distinguishing of spirits, a variety of tongues and interpretation of tongues. All of these work through individual believers and every single believer is qualified in the Spirit of God. They have been given to the body of Christ for our edification. Isn’t that great?

Jesus told us when he was about to leave the earth that he was going to send the Holy Spirit to us who would be with us forever. Obviously, the Spirit of God IS God. He is part of the Holy Trinity. He was with God in the beginning and when God created the earth. The Holy Spirit has specific roles which are described throughout the Bible but most specifically in the book of John. One of the words which often accompanies any Biblical discussion of the Spirit is “power.” He is the creative power of God. This is most clearly observed in Genesis where the Spirit was hovering until God spoke the word. Then the Spirit manifested what God envisioned. That is powerful imagery.

The Holy Spirit has come to manifest God’s presence in the earth. These gifts, Paul writes about, are part of that manifestation. One of the key concepts that seems to elude us modern day Christians is that they are “gifts.” They are presents from God to us. I mean, “Happy Birthday! Have a gift!” I am all for gifts and presents. I love them. Even the simplest gift brings me pleasure. Maybe some of you are like me. How is it, then, that we have allowed gifts from God to go unnoticed? It is a little frightening when I contemplate it.

The most amazing thing to me in this chapter is that Paul spends no time explaining these gifts. He does not write a treatise on what they are and how each one is distinguished or used. He seems to expect his audience to understand their uses. How far I feel we have fallen. If you are hungry for a good Bible study, researching the gifts of God’s Spirit would be a great one. Send me a copy when you are done, please!