Last week, we saw that The Holy Spirit is a Gift from God; and that we are to stir up our relationship with Him (1Tim 4:14, 2Tim 1:6). We should never neglect our fellowship with The Holy Spirit. We also saw that God wants us to lack in no gift (1Cor 1:5-7, Num 11:25-29), and that we should earnestly desire and be zealous for things of The Spirit. The question I’d like to answer today is, “How do we operate in the gifts of The Spirit?” (Rom 12:6-8, 1Cor 12:8-10, Eph 4:11). This will be a real practical teaching I believe will bless you. Let’s get into The Word of God.
First, the gifts operate by love. Operating in agape love is the more excellent way (1Cor 12:31). Love does not replace the gifts (1Cor 14:1). Certainly the first century church demonstrated a tremendous amount of love; but that fact didn’t make the gifts unnecessary. Agape love should always be our heart motive for flowing in the gifts. If it’s being done to bring praise to self or another man; it’s being done wrong. God saved us through Jesus Christ because of His agape love for us. A selfless love. A love that cares more for others than themselves. Paul wrote 1Cor 13 to show that if the gifts are not motivated by love, then they are useless.
Secondly, the gifts operate by faith (which makes perfect sense, since faith operates by love [Gal 5:6]). Carefully read Hebrews chapter 11. We must remember something very important: the people in that chapter did not read the story before it happened! They were the story! They lived the deeds! The stories were written after they stepped out in faith, and proved God to be faithful. So what’s the point? Simply this: If you want the things of God, you have to step out in faith to obtain them.
God is a faith God, not a need God. Without faith, it is impossible to please Him (Heb 11:6). Not everything is going to make perfect sense to your little brain- and thank God it doesn’t. I’m sure glad my God is bigger than my little brain can handle. Otherwise, He ain’t much of a God, is He? It takes faith (trust & confidence) to operate in the gifts. The fruit is out on the limb, and it’s sometimes scary out on the limb. We can play it safe and hug the trunk - God still loves us. Or we can step out in faith.
Thirdly, the gifts operate decently and in order (1Cor 14:40). Our God is a God of order and government. If it is chaotic, then it is not God. People oinking and barking and running around with their head spinning, don’t need to be attributing that stuff to The Holy Ghost. They need to get delivered, or put their flesh under. I believe in miracles. I believe in the supernatural power of God. I also believe in Godly order. A service too restrictive can keep God out. A service to lax, can let everything else but God in. There must be a balance.
Fourthly, the gifts must honor Jesus Christ (1Cor 12:1-3). If all glory and honor and praise is not going to Jesus when the gifts operate; then it is not of God. The gifts are to minister God’s love to His people, and bring glory to His Son. If a certain man, or denomination, or organization is what is being exalted; then it is of the world, the flesh, or the devil. It is not of God. God does not share His glory with another (Isa 48:11). If you operate in any gift so you can say, “Oooh, look at me; look how spiritual I am.”; you need to repent and ask forgiveness. Who cares how gifted you are (1Cor 13:1-3)? What do you have, that you have not received from God anyway? It only matters that you do what you do in love; that you do it in faith, with a pure heart towards God; that you do it decently and in proper order; and that you do it to the glory of God and The Son, Messiah Jesus (Col 3:17, 1Cor 10:31).
I pray these last couple of months have helped you to better understand the things of The Spirit of God. I have learned much; but I have much to learn. I pray we would all continue to grow together in the things of God, through knowing The Holy Bible- and The God it speaks of. Until next time, rejoice in The Lord! (Phip 4:4)