How to stir the gifts of the Spirit in your life

0hungerI’ve been having a Scripture on my heart for days: ‘Pursue love and eagerly desire spiritual gifts’ (1 Corinthians 14).  I could not get away from it in my mind. God kept on flashing it on the board of my mind. I finally decided I should do an in depth study on it to see what I can get out of it:

Pursue love and eagerly desire spiritual gifts…

First of all, the word for pursue means to aggressively run after a prey and catch it. That’s the attitude we need to have towards love, one that is aggressive about getting it, we need to treat it like a prize to win, something of value that we need to put strong effort in our heart to get it and to  keep it. It reminds me of the ‘kingdom of God suffers violence and the violent take it be force’. This is the attitude we need to have in our heart towards receiving and giving love. This is how highly we are to value love.

Unfortunately, many people stop there. Because they know love is the most important thing, they focus on the first part of the Scripture and sort of just add the second part as an appendix, sort of devalued and something of the sort of: and do these other thing as well, just add it in there – eagerly desire spiritual gifts. But don’t forget, love is really the thing that matters. By doing this mental exercise, we honor love as the number one thing – which is right – but we devalue the other part of the Scripture which God seems to add a lot of emotional value to it in order to picture it’s importance by saying: eagerly desire this. Let’s stop reading this Scripture and saying: But love is what matters most, and instead choose to obey both and treat them both with the same importance that God attaches to both. And we will see from the study of the Scripture below how God shows us how important both of them are, not just the first.

The second half of the scripture says: ‘And eagerly desire spiritual gifts’. I have discovered that there is only one word in greek for ‘eagerly desire’, English had to use two because one was not strong enough to convey the strong meaning of it.

It is ‘zeloo’, which is a poetic term – you learn the meaning of the word through an imitation of a sound, the same way meow will be representing a cat sound. For ‘zeloo’ , the word is am imitation of  the sound of boiling water!!! It literally also means jealous, or zealous and the word zelot comes from it.

Other meanings are: to be deeply committed to something, to set one’s heart on, to be completely intent upon (intentional about using them), to burn with zeal, to act like a jealous person would.

I deduct from this that God is saying to us that our attitude towards wanting the spiritual gifts in our life should be one of boiling over with zeal for the manifestations of the gifts through us for the common good of all, we need to be zelots for the gifts. It reminds me of the ‘zeal for Thy house has consumed Me’. (John 2:17)

Why is God painting such a strong image to us about this? Because He values the gifts and their effectively in the lives of others very highly. He is giving us a message that this is very important and vital to manifest in and through the church. Just imagine if sick people could be healed on a regular basis, miracles could happen often, words of knowledge and wisdom would be manifested to bring solution to people’s specific issues in life and prophecy and interpretation of tongues was used to bring edification, comfort and exhortation to those who really needed it. How much stronger and more useful will the body of Christ be and how many more people would come to Christ as a result?

And what will happen if we don’t pursue love and don’t boil over with zeal for the gifts? After all, Jesus said that ‘By this they will all know you are my disciples, if you have love one for another’ (John 13:35) Love is an action word, and part of that action is to bring God’s Spirit’s manifestations to others for their benefit. The gifts of the Spirit is God’s love flowing through you to bless others.

But what if we don’t boil over with zeal to have these gifts operating in our lives, but only desire them a little cause we are preocuppied with other things we consider more important? What will happen then? I think we will end up with just a treacle of the gifts, not the fullness of what what God wills be manifested. The body of Christ and others will miss out on important messages and in receiving the manifestations of the Spirit that are so necessary according to God!

Are you so intense, violent in your attitude towards receiving and walking in love?

Are you and me boiling over with zeal for the gifts of the spirit to be manifested through my life and your life? If not, it’s time to repent and turn around and make a change of heart. And it’s time to ask God for spiritual hunger to increase in us so we desire what He desires and at the same intensity that He tells us is necessary.

The pathway towards achieving this seem clear:

1. Thank God for this revelation and repent of your lack of desire and motivation towards obeying and fulfilling this Scripture in your life
2. Ask God for spiritual hunger to increase in your life and for grace to bear fruit of repentance.
3. Make a quality decision that you want to be like God says He wants you to be.
4. Spend time with God even more than before, preparing your heart and getting filled with the Holy Spirit. Wait on God during your prayer time once your soul is still before Him with an expectant heart to hear something from Him – that is activating your faith in receiving the gifts.
5. Tell God you want to be used by Him in showing the love of Christ and in manifesting the gifts of the Spirit, because you want to be a blessing to others and you want to help people – the right motivation is important, the gifts are for the benefit of others, not for your own elevation and vain glory. Ask God for people to love and for opportunities to use the gifts of the Spirit. Invite Him to work in your life in this way.
6. Continue communing with God throughout the day and have your ‘spiritual antennas’ up listening for any communication from God that might come at any time. When He speaks, be faithful with the word or the gift He gives you and use it by faith. Test it against Scripture and go ahead in faith, taking a risk and actually speaking it in faith to whoever it is for or act upon it as necessary. You will be surprised how many times you are right!

And if you get it wrong, God has grace for those who are willing and eager but make mistakes. At least you tried, you had a go! Just like Peter when he walked on the water, he started to sink at some point, but Jesus did not condemn Him, He only corrected him and helped him. At least, he had a go and did some water walking which the other disciples did not get to experience. Don’t condemn yourself, just think: ‘I had a go’, I will try to draw nearer to God and next time will be better.

Don’t go for directional words (eg: You shall go to China), those are for those more mature and experienced in the gift of prophecy, but have a go and you will be surprised how many times you will actually get it right. When exercising the gifts, try to ignore thoughts of doubt and move in faith and just say it anyway. My attitude is: JUST RISK IT! Have a go! Be like a little child who trusts the Father to fill him with the right things to deliver to others…

If there is something you get wrong, be humble and receive correction, but don’t shut down, that’s what the devil would want, because then he got you in disobedience to the Scripture to not desire earnestly the gifts. Don’t look down on yourself and get discouraged, no one gets it right all the time, even some of the best get it wrong at times. Just use this as a lesson to learn and as a signal to draw even closer to God. Run to Him and expect the improvement from Him!

No baby ran before he walked and when he learned to walk, he fell many times. When you eagerly desire something, you might go for it and make some mistakes along the way but that should not deter you from the main purpose of going after the gifts of the Spirit. You are destined for this, and the more you practice the gifts, the better and more fine tuned you will get with them and the more useful you will be to God and people!

So aggressively run after love in order to catch it, keep it and use it like you would for a prey. And boil with zeal for the gifts of the Spirit so you can put love into action and be a blessing to others.

Happy love and gift hunting!

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