1 Corinthians 12:4 – Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit.
The Holy Spirit chooses many ways to manifest His presence. In 1 Corinthians 12, Paul discusses nine spiritual gifts that are manifestations of the Spirit. In verse 4, he lays the foundation for discussing the gifts of the Holy Spirit. He begins by helping us know that it is the same Spirit regardless of the individual gift operating in the believer. The Holy Spirit chooses through whom He will manifest a particular gift. He chooses when and what gift to release. He is doing this everywhere in the earth through many different believers. He indeed is the Omnipresent God.
The Holy Spirit is manifesting His gifts through the various ministries our Lord Jesus has operating in the earth. The Spirit anoints individuals as Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Pastors and Teachers. He operates through the Deacons and all those who have Help ministries in the body of Christ. He expresses His gifts through the Administrators in the body of Christ. In fact, every believer can be used of the Spirit to express Christ’s love to His body the Church and through His body to the world. If you are a believer, you then are a candidate to be used of the Spirit of God in any variety of ways.
Our part in the operation of the gifts of the Holy Spirit is to allow Him to impart the gifts He chooses at any particular time. The rationalization of our mind is our biggest problem. God does not call us to give up our mind, but rather to yield our thinking to His Word. God’s promise is the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit who produces God’s divine nature in the believer. This is what Paul meant when he said, “We have the mind of Christ” (1 Corinthians 2:16). His divine nature which was manifested in Jesus Christ is now revealed in His children by the presence of His indwelling Holy Spirit.Ask the Holy Spirit to help you turn your mind over to Him. Ask Him to help you let the gifts of God operate when He so chooses. Ask Him to cause you to be sensitive to the Spirit’s leading and to be filled with the faith of the Son of God in every situation. Father, thank You for Your reservoir of gifts made available in the Holy Spirit. I am Your servant to be used as You choose.
Galatians 5:22 – But the fruit of the Spirit is love.
Many today will be celebrating what is called Valentine’s Day, a day that has been set aside to remember those we love. The love of the world has deep roots in the natural and the sensuous dimensions of love. This is not wrong when kept in the context of God’s designs for a man and woman. Paul contrasts love with the deeds of the flesh. This is why Paul uses the conjunction “but” as he begins his statement about the fruit of the Spirit, which consists of nine parts. Paul begins with “love.”
Love is the singular action that connects us to God and to one another. Jesus summed up the law with the word “love” in Matthew 22:37. In the upper room, Jesus gave His disciples a New Commandment, “Love one another as I have loved you” (John 15:12). Love is central to the work of the Spirit because it comes from the very nature of God Himself, who is love. God’s love is like light, revealing the darkness of the works of the flesh.
Whether speaking of redemption or operating in the gifts of the Spirit, love must always be the motivating force. Agape love is the Father’s love, a love which is always putting others first. The Holy Spirit always leads with others in mind. He came because of others, He convicts because of others, and He saves because of God’s love for others. In everything you do, think, “How does this affect others?” Become one who is thinking about the other person. You can only do this by the power of the Holy Spirit. Our basic nature is a self-nature, but the Holy Spirit wants to produce in us Christ’s nature. His nature is a love nature. He cannot help Himself because He is Love.
Today, ask for Christ’s nature to be revealed and fully matured in you. Ask the Holy Spirit to fully accomplish the work of maturity in your life. Celebrate this day with a choice to yield to the Holy Spirit and let Him release the love of God through you to all those you touch.
1 Corinthians 12:3 – I make known to you that no one speaking by the Spirit of God says, “Jesus is accursed”; and no one can say, “Jesus is Lord” except by the Holy Spirit.
An interesting scripture follows Paul’s expressed desire for believers not to be ignorant of spiritual gifts. The Corinthians had come from a pagan religious background of idolatry. Idolatry, by its very nature, brings people under the curses of the particular religion with which it is associated. Jesus, on the other hand, has delivered us from the curse. “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us” (Galatians 3:13). Jesus became a curse for us by bearing our sins. The good news is that He is alive from the dead, having carried our sins to hell and He now lives to bless those who put their trust in Him. He is a King who blesses, not a king that curses. The Holy Spirit has come to enable us to say, “Jesus is Lord!” In these chapters, Paul is contrasting the believer’s former life lived under curses and our new life found in blessings from our risen King.
The Holy Spirit is God’s agent in the earth to help God’s people overcome and throw down all idolatry. The Holy Spirit exalts the Lord Jesus through the people of God as they proclaim Jesus’ Lordship. They do works of power demonstrating the kingdom of God is present and the enemy’s kingdom has been defeated. There is a continual process of judgment taking place through the Lord’s people until the final Day of Judgment before God. “This is the day which the Lord has made; Let us rejoice and be glad in it” (Psalm 118:24). We think in terms of days, but the Lord is thinking in terms of a day. God sees this period for the Church as the day He is raising up a people who are judging the world by the Lord Jesus through the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Captives are set free by being “delivered from the kingdom of darkness and translated into the kingdom of God’s dear Son” (Colossians 1:13).
Ask the Holy Spirit to empower you with His gifts so that you can share the good news of the gospel of the kingdom, not only with words, but in demonstration of power by the work of the Holy Spirit. Let those gifts declare to others that Jesus is Lord!
1 Corinthians 12:1 –Concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I do not want you to be unaware.
Notice, the word “gift” is italicized by the translators for clarification. This is because the word “gift” is not found in the original manuscript. Paul’s expression is “spirituals” which refers to spiritual graces. Many have interpreted Paul to be saying that the gifts are like a personal gift that one now possesses. This is far from what Paul had in mind. Today, there is much ignorance regarding these spiritual gifts, just as in Paul’s day. The enemy especially enjoys confusing God’s people regarding spiritual gifts because he knows that if we lay hold of what God has provided in the work of the Spirit, great harm will come to his plans of resistance against the kingdom of God.
Ignorance is one of the enemy’s great weapons to bind up God’s people in their effort to pull down demonic strongholds. The Holy Spirit has been poured out so that we might receive the Father’s plans for taking back what the enemy has stolen. Paul makes it clear throughout his writings that God has provided grace in giving spirituals or grace gifts in order to help us with the tasks He has assigned. All the spirituals are available in the Holy Spirit. They are initiations of the Spirit, so if one has the Spirit of God inside, then all of these spiritual gifts are there and available.
The Holy Spirit chooses when and where the gifts are to be released. Remember that Jesus said “He would not leave us as orphans” (John 14:18). You are in a family surrounded by others who stand with and support you. They encourage you to move into deeper waters in the things of the Spirit. Do not be afraid to let the Holy Spirit have complete control in your life. Step out in faith and trust Him to give you the exact grace you need when the opportunity presents itself.
Simply ask the Holy Spirit what it is that He wants to do at any given time. Begin right now by asking Him for a great sensitivity to His work in and through you. “Father, please guide me in the exercise of spiritual gifts. I need Your help daily to accomplish Your will. I want to experience Your love and power being released through me to others. I yield my life to the Holy Spirit to have complete control.” Pray this every day until it is a part of your daily experience.
1 Corinthians 14:1 – Pursue love, yet desire earnestly spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy.
Paul stresses the importance of prophecy throughout chapter fourteen. He does this for a number of reasons. The Bible makes it clear that “the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy” (Revelation 19:10). Moses cried out, “I would that all of the Lord’s people were prophets, that the Lord would put His Spirit upon them” (Numbers 11:29)! All of God’s people can prophesy because the promise of the Father to send the Holy Spirit has been fulfilled. The Spirit of God is present and He wants to release His gift of prophecy. Paul declares that all prophecy in the church is for the purpose of “edification, exhortation, and comfort” (1 Corinthians 14:4).
The Lord delights in speaking His Word through His chosen vessels. Men and women throughout the Old Testament spoke of the great things God planned to do through His people in Messiah’s Day. The Lord Jesus Christ is the Anointed One who has opened the way for all God’s people to be used of the Lord. The Father promised His Son that He would give the Holy Spirit to all who believed on Christ. The same Spirit who spoke the Word in the Old Testament is now indwelling believers with the purpose of speaking and confirming the Word of God to a lost world.
Paul teaches that we “can all prophesy, one by one, so that all may learn, and all may be exhorted” (1 Corinthians 14:31). It pleases the Father when His children desire spiritual gifts, especially the gift of prophecy. The choice belongs to us, because God has already expressed His will in the matter. Prophecy is a gift that is meant to be expressed in the local church setting. It can also be quite effective when ministering to an individual through prayer or even counseling.
Today, ask the Holy Spirit to activate the gift of prophecy in your life. Pray about the gift of prophecy on a regular basis. Expect God to begin to speak to you and give you words to minister to others as you open your mouth for His glory.
1 Corinthians 14:20 – Brethren, do not be children in your thinking; yet in evil be babes, but in your thinking be mature.
Paul brought correction to the saints at Corinth over the mishandling of the gifts of the Spirit. As a spiritual father, he wanted the Corinthians to grow up in Christ and not be like children concerning spiritual gifts. He was especially speaking about the use of the gift of tongues. In verses 21-22, Paul quoted Isaiah 28:11 where God declared that He would speak to His people Israel with “stammering lips and another tongue, but they would not hear.”
Paul taught tongues as a sign gift to Israel as well as a sign gift to the unbeliever (verse 22). The passage in Isaiah goes on to say, “Here is rest for the weary.” It is interesting that Paul uses this quote from Isaiah to make His case for tongues as a sign gift. This supernatural ability to speak in an unknown tongue is like the refreshing water that flowed from the rock in the wilderness, when God supplied water to refresh His people. Paul’s teaching in 1 Corinthians 14:4 instructs us that the gift of tongues is meant to edify. The unbelievers hear the Gospel in their own language, while the individual believer is edified as the tongue is interpreted. In one’s personal prayer life speaking in tongues refreshes the saint of God and builds up the inner man.
Again, Paul’s strong encouragement is not to be children in your thinking, but be mature. Paul encourages the use of spiritual gifts, while encouraging a mature perspective. Many respond negatively to tongues as a result of misreading Paul. He is not against the use of tongues, nor does he set tongues against anything else such as love. Paul said, “I thank God I speak in tongues more than you all” (1 Corinthians 14:18). The gift of tongues is healthy, for it is one way the Spirit of God refreshes the believer. Corporately, when a message in tongues is given, an interpretation needs to be given so others can be edified.
Allow the Holy Spirit to release your spirit to speak in a new language. He wants to give you the ability to pray and sing in the Spirit. Allow your worship and prayers to be controlled by the Spirit of God. As the Scriptures declare, it will be refreshing to you just as He has promised. Father, I yield my entire self to You, especially my tongue.
As the Palmist David said, “Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips” (Psalm 141:3).