1 Corinthians 14:1 – Pursue love, yet desire earnestly spiritual gifts.

Paul clearly taught in 1 Corinthians 13 that a significant work of the Spirit is to help us be established in love. Certainly, we all fall short of the biblical mandate in this area at times. Paul builds a bridge between the 12th and 14th chapters with the admonition to “pursue love,” but he also says to “desire earnestly spiritual gifts.” There are some in the faith who persist on setting love against spiritual gifts, but this is a total misrepresentation of what Paul is teaching the church. It is important to understand, the Holy Spirit gives gifts because they are intended to be the vehicle by which love is conveyed to all those in need of receiving God’s grace. Unfortunately, the Corinthian believers were using the Gifts of the Spirit in a selfish way. Paul did not say to stop using the gifts, but rather change your mind about how you are viewing these gifts that the Spirit is so willing to bestow.

Before we can fully grasp what Paul is teaching in the chapters about the gifts, we must become rooted in love. I like the NASB translation that tells us to “pursue love.” Love does not just materialize; it must be pursued in order for us to experience its development in our lives. A close walk with the Holy Spirit is required for this attribute of God to become evidenced in an increased way in our lives. As we devote ourselves to thinking about the gifts of the Holy Spirit, let us begin by requesting His help in pursuing the love of God. I am personally convicted of how far short I fall from allowing His nature to be revealed through me. My flesh is weak but with the Holy Spirit’s help, my spirit is willing to become a greater lover towards all.

Father, help me to be enlarged in my capacity to activate Your love in serving others. Make me more of a vehicle of Your love towards others through an increased operation of Your gifts in and through my life. Let me be used to benefit others in their need, and to help them come to know You by the gifts You choose to give and release through me.