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The Key to Spiritual Gifts

Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who empowers them all in everyone.” (I Corinthians 12:4-6)

I Corinthians 12 is commonly called the “Spiritual Gifts” chapter. This chapter does list specific spiritual gifts: words of wisdom, words of knowledge, faith, gifts of healing, miraculous powers, prophecy, distinguishing between spirits, tongues and interpretation of tongues and gifts of service. The chapter continues on with the defining of the gifts, how and when they are to be used and that God has chosen a gift for everyone of His followers.

A cursory read, may draw interest to the list of gifts. They are indeed something to be desired. However, the slower it is read, it seems a deeper theme emerges. The theme is that there is One God who empowers us, One Spirit who leads us and only One Body of Christ we can participate in as His followers. There are no side shows, personal agendas, or renegade followers. In fact, “renegade followers” is an oxymoron. Unity with the Father, Spirit and each other is a key theme.

Another theme in this chapter is that each one of us has a part to play that is essential to the building up of the Body of Christ and of each other. In fact, you have a gift that God has chosen for you and He will empower you to use it. Since God chose it, it is His will for you. It may be a very visible gift or not, but it is what makes the Body of Christ move in power and purpose. A spark plug may not be seen in a piece of machinery, but if not present will certainly determine the outcome.

A radio broadcaster by the name of Paul Harvey was known for his storytelling and then near the end of the story he would have a surprise turn or what was known as “the rest of the story.” At the conclusion of I Corinthians 12 after setting the various themes in the chapter, Paul says in verse 31, “But eagerly desire the greater gifts.” What is the greater gifts? The very next verse says, ”And now I will show you the most excellent way, If I speak in the tongues of men and angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal” (!1Cor. 13:1). God is love. If you are not following love you cannot be following the source of love. Love is the key that opens your effectiveness in all you do, even the gifts that God chooses for you!

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