In college I attended a worship service where, row by row, we were called to the altar. On cue, each person was to either pass out from the overwhelming presence of the Holy Spirit, or speak in an unintelligible spiritual tongue. On my turn, I remained alert and on my feet. The only languages I knew—English and Spanish— were intelligible, and I wasn’t compelled to speak either. Everyone stared at me, shocked by my lack of participation. Ashamed, I ran out of the church thinking maybe I wasn’t a spiritual person, and that at my conversion I hadn’t received the gift of the Holy Spirit after all.
- When have you felt confused about spiritual gifts and the role of the Holy Spirit?
READ THE WORD: 1 CORINTHIANS 12:1-11 (ESV)
12:1 Now concerning spiritual gifts, brothers, I do not want you to be uninformed. 2 You know that when you were pagans you were led astray to mute idols, however you were led. 3 Therefore I want you to understand that no one speaking in the Spirit of God ever says “Jesus is accursed!” and no one can say “Jesus is Lord” except in the Holy Spirit. 4 Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; 5 and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; 6 and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who empowers them all in everyone. 7 To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. 8 For to one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit, 9 to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, 10 to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the ability to distinguish between spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. 11 All these are empowered by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually as he wills.
- Some Corinthians had been part of cults that worshiped idols. In verses 1-3, Paul contrasted the influence of idols to that of the Holy Spirit. What exactly was Paul saying, and how did it involve the worship of Jesus?
- Paul acknowledged the Trinity (one Spirit, one Lord, and one God) in verses 4-6. How does the Trinity relate to the unity and diversity of spiritual gifts?
- What are nine ways presented in this passage that the Spirit manifests himself through believers (vss. 7-10)?
- What is the common purpose or good for spiritual gifts? What is your spiritual gift (or gifts), and for what purpose are you using it (them)?
RESPOND TO GOD
Shortly after my experience, God confirmed through his Word that the indwelling of the Holy Spirit is a guaranteed earthly reward for all who believe in Jesus Christ. Through the same Spirit, we are empowered with many different gifts that give God glory and edify the body of Christ. Speaking in and interpretation of tongues are not my gifts. Understanding the wisdom of God’s word, prophecy, and the ability to write to others about it in forums like Time with God are, and they are just as significant to the church.
- Pray and ask the Holy Spirit to confirm the spiritual gifts he’s gifted to you.
- Honor God with your gifts by serving, building others up, and giving him the glory.