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.
Ephesians 6:14b – Put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.
The breastplate of righteousness covers your heart region. Righteousness is a heart issue. The enemy shoots his arrows at our hearts to try and kill the life of God. Many have received arrows from others, from childhood through adulthood. Believers can have great difficulty in their Christian growth because of wounds to their heart from the past. The Lord wants to heal us from the inside out. As we are healed, it is important to put on the breastplate of righteousness to stay well in one’s heart.
Putting on the shoes of the gospel of peace is for our daily walk. We are to walk in peace and bring peace wherever we go. Just as we take time to prepare our natural feet for walking, we must take time to prepare for our walk in Christ. It begins with intimacy with our heavenly Father. As we experience peace in the morning with the Lord, we are readied for the day and our experience with others.
Paul says, “Taking up the shield of faith.” It takes effort to put on the armor, but it is a necessary daily activity. We are called to walk in faith. It is the person of faith that overcomes the world. It is the person of faith that advances the kingdom of God. It is faith that pleases God (Hebrews 11:6). The devil hates people of faith because they cause his kingdom great problems. Only through faith do we “extinguish” his flaming arrows. The picture Paul is illustrating is that of a Roman soldier. The Roman soldiers would stand together with their shields interlocked. As believers we are to interlock with other believers against the enemies attacks. We do not have to go into the battle alone.
The “evil one” has a very ordered kingdom; he rules his domain with control and oppression. His purpose is to cause chaos for God’s plans. Satan is ruthless in his attack on God’s kingdom purposes and God’s covenant people. Paul outlines what we are up against in this battle. Many Christians try to meet the challenges they face through their own natural reasoning. The wisdom of man is not sufficient to deal with the kingdom of darkness. It is important for the believers to understand the warfare in which they are engaged. The armor is very important to our success in the battle.
It cannot be emphasized enough how important righteous living and a life of faith becomes as it relates to the subject of “spiritual warfare.” Allow the Holy Spirit to search your heart daily and expose any area that has not been cleansed by the blood of Jesus and surrendered to His kingdom rule. Invite the Holy Spirit to establish your life habits in an atmosphere of faith. Repent of any areas He reveals that are not motivated by faith. Paul reminds us, “Whatever is not from faith is sin” (Romans 14:23).