Words by Colonel Jostein Nielsen.
The fourth important factor influencing movement (1), is the spiritual gifts. We can read about how the disciples used such gifts, and Paul teaches about the gifts of the Spirit in several of his letters. When he wrote to the Corinthians, he expressed how he thanked God for them because of the grace he had given them in Jesus, and then he continued:
For in him you have been enriched in every way—with all kinds of speech and with all knowledge – God thus confirming our testimony about Christ among you. Therefore you do not lack any spiritual gift as you eagerly wait for our Lord Jesus Christ to be revealed.
1 Cor 1:5-7
When I read the whole letter, it quickly becomes clear that even if they did not lack any spiritual gift, they were far from perfect. This is sad, and at the same time a comfort. Spiritual gifts are not something you receive because of long and faithful service and holy living. I have met people who have become proud of their spirituality when they become aware their spiritual gift. In fact, they are gifts given by grace for people to honour God with them, and not bring attention to themselves.
From Acts we know that the gifts cannot be bought (2), however, Paul encourages us in this way:
Now eagerly desire the greater gifts.
And yet I will show you the most excellent way.
1 Cor 12:31
When Paul places the gifts subordinate to the most excellent way, he places them where all ministry belongs. The most excellent way is the way described in the 13 chapter – the way of love.
If I operate with spiritual gifts without love, it will be power out of control. God’s love is stronger than any destructive force. Human intentions may be the very best, but if they are not driven by God’s love it will in best case scenario lead to nothing. Abuse of spiritual power, is as evil as any power abuse. That is why God also respect free will of every human being. It is important for me to make these statements, because I will continue to write on this subject for some time.
‘Manna’ for today
Go for ‘the gifts’ in an excellent way!