Honestly, I didn't actually want to post anything on this topic. As it stands, I plan to avoid talking about anything that's difficult. At least that's the plan. Sometimes I know exactly what I want to say when I start writing, and other times, I don't.
Today is one of those times when I don't know what I want to say. I just keep reading, "Follow the way of love and eagerly desire spiritual gifts, especially the gift of prophecy" (14:1), and I can't walk away.
Paul has linked these two commands, and they are commands.
First, we should follow the way of love.
Second, we should eagerly desire spiritual gifts.
And so I began asking myself, in what way do these two commands link together? In way way do they complement each other?
Love gives. (John 3:16; 1 John 4:9)
Love sacrifices. (Ephesians 5:1; 1 John 4:10)
Love builds up. (1 Corinthians 13:7)
God gives spiritual gifts "for the common good." (1 Corinthians 12:7)
God gives spiritual gifts to build unity and maturity in the church as well as to strengthen our knowledge of Christ. (Ephesians 4:12-13)
It's not too big a leap to say that God gifts spiritual so that we can show God's love.
Paul continues, saying ". . . everyone who prophecies speaks to men for their strengthening, encouragement, and comfort." (1 Corinthians 14:3)
I don't like to ask God to give me anything. Normally my prayers for myself include peace and understanding, ability to cope with circumstances.
And yet, Paul says I should desire spiritual gifts, especially the gift of prophecy. Why? So that I can strengthen, encourage, and comfort people around me. So that I can love them.
I think I have things backward.
I do want to love others.
I do want to strengthen, encourage, and comfort the people around me.
I can't do those things in my own power.
I must ask for spiritual gifts.
We must all ask for spiritual gifts.