Love’s Excellent Ways!
Scripture reading for November 25th: 1st Corinthians 11-14
Many people get excited about the spiritual gifts. God gives each person gifts through the Holy Spirit that are to be used to build up the body of Christ. (1st Corinthians 12:7) These gifts may be characterized in three general categories. There are those gifts that impart knowledge–word of wisdom, word of knowledge and prophesy. Other gifts are used to do something: gifts of healing, miraculous powers, and faith. Another type of gift is used to reveal something: discerning of spirits, tongues, and interpretation of tongues. These gifts are given by the Lord through the Holy Spirit as He determines they are needed. (1st Corinthians 12:11)
In addition to these manifestations of the Spirit, God has also appointed different offices to people to help with the work of ministry. Some are apostles, sent to evangelize and plant churches. Others are prophets and teachers who equip the body for ministry. Others work miracles and facilitate divine healing. Others may be good at administration and management. Still others speak in tongues and others interpret. (1st Corinthians 12:28-31) God places these gift-people in the body just as He sees fit! (1st Corinthians 12:18)
We are encouraged to eagerly desire the greater gifts! But Paul cites the most excellent pursuit–the way of love! (1st Corinthians 13) We can have any number of the gifts, but without love they are empty and useless. God Himself is love! He is patient and kind with us. He is not easily angered, but is always ready to forgive. He delights in truth and righteousness. He is a God of hope and His love never fails!
He encourages us to love like He does. Love is the greatest gift that we can ever have and give! We must first follow the way of love and then desire the gifts. (1st Corinthians 14:1) Are you following the way of love? Are you taking time to love God and allow His love to flow through you? Invite the Holy Spirit to release a fresh ability to love God and others in your heart today.