Monday, August 25, 2014

What are you pursuing?

1 Corinthians 14:1 (NIV) “Follow the way of love and eagerly desire spiritual gifts”

1 Corinthians 14:1 (MSG) “Go after a life of love as if your life depended on it—because it does. Give yourselves to the gifts God gives you.”

1 Corinthians 14:1 (NCV) “You should seek after love, and you should truly want to have the spiritual gifts”

It is pretty clear to me in 1 Corinthians 14 verse 1 that, as Christians, we are to pursue a life of love. When reading through this chapter, I had to see how my three favorite translations conveyed Paul’s message in verse 1. I really get a great deal from the Message paraphrase. I am supposed to go after a life of love as if my life depended on it.

When I am working through areas in my life, I always try to turn the search light inward to see how I'm doing in the area of love. So first, I had to go back to 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 to review the definition of LOVE.

Love never gives up. Love cares more for others than for self. Love doesn't want what it doesn't have. Love doesn't strut, Doesn't have a swelled head, Doesn't force itself on others, Isn't always "me first," Doesn't fly off the handle, Doesn't keep score of the sins of others, Doesn't revel when others grovel, Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth, Puts up with anything, Trusts God always, Always looks for the best, Never looks back, But keeps going to the end. Love never dies.”
Oh yeah, right from the start I can see I have some work to do. Let's just be honest for a moment...I've wanted to "give up" on love a time or two...and I've been selfish...BOY do I have some work to do.

Let me go to the second part of 1 Corinthians 14:1. Not only am I suppose to go after LOVE as if my life depended on it, I am also to give myself to the gifts God gave me. Spiritual gifts are those gifts administered by the Holy Spirit and are used for building the church up. Through deeper study, I reviewed the list of spiritual gifts in 1 Corinthians 12.

1 Corinthians 12: 4 – 11 (NCV) “There are different kinds of gifts, but they are all from the same Spirit. There are different ways to serve but the same Lord to serve. And there are different ways that God works through people but the same God. God works in all of us in everything we do. Something from the Spirit can be seen in each person, for the common good. The Spirit gives one person the ability to speak with wisdom, and the same Spirit gives another the ability to speak with knowledge. The same Spirit gives faith to one person. And, to another, that one Spirit gives gifts of healing. The Spirit gives to another person the power to do miracles, to another the ability to prophesy. And he gives to another the ability to know the difference between good and evil spirits. The Spirit gives one person the ability to speak in different kinds of languages and to another the ability to interpret those languages. One Spirit, the same Spirit, does all these things, and the Spirit decides what to give each person.”
As I look at love and spiritual gifts through the lens of following Christ, I can see that it's His example I should follow. He left the comforts of heaven to come to earth and be a servant to all – He always put others first. He trusted the Father’s will for His life. Jesus gave himself away and utilized what the Father had given Him to encourage and build people up while at the same time bringing honor and glory to God.

I want to live a life that encourages and builds others up. Using the talents and gifts God has given me and with His help, I know I can reach out and make a difference in someone's life. I know you can do it too. God has specifically equipped you to accomplish the tasks He's put you on this earth to do. 

When we use the talents and gifts God has given us, we bring honor and glory to God.

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