Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – June 27, 2019
So with yourselves; since you are eager for spiritual gifts, strive to excel in them for building up the church. 1 Corinthians 14:12
For much of my life, I assumed if God wanted to reach me with his life or love, he would “zap” me with it. To strive was to work against grace and try and gain his favor in my own strength and efforts. As J.I. Packer once said in his book Keep in Step with the Spirit, we think the Holy Spirit comes on us like a mood, something that “overtakes us,” like feelings of anger, gloom, euphoria or joy. As such, we spend our lives waiting around for the Spirit to overtake us thinking nothing is required or asked of us as a result. However, Packer reminds us the ordinary, normative way in which the Spirit works is to “prompt us to activity.”
You and I cannot make the grass grow. Yet if your lawn has any hope of surviving the summer, you are wise to water it and create an environment that encourages growth! Similarly, you and I do not tell God what to do or force his hand, yet wisdom invites us to cultivate daily habits and practices that open us up to his presence.
Herein lies the great mystery of the work of the Spirit. The Spirit’s work in our lives is called a gift. Gifts given are to be received with a posture of receptivity and humble gratitude. Yet in the same breath, Paul exhorts the church to “strive to excel” in the gifts you have been given. Presumably, this means it is a gift that is meant to awaken something in us, to move us to action and a faithful response.
Have you tended faithfully to the gifts God has given to you? According to Paul, one sign of faithful stewardship is the ability to use your gifts for the encouragement of others and the work of the church. The activity that the Spirit empowers in you isn’t simply greater introspection or personal, private fulfillment. You excel in your faith when your personal encounter of God transforms your relationship with your family, friends, and community.
Though God calls us to different roles of service within the life of the body, to be a follower of Jesus is to be called into mission. The gift of the Spirit is God’s power to equip every saint for the work of ministry (Ephesians 4:12). You have a unique, God given contribution to make. With great joy and anticipation, believe today that the Lord has given you gifts that you can excel in and will lead to your flourishing and the upbuilding of the church.
Father, thank you for the gifts of your Spirit that fill us with your love and equip us to serve boldly in your name. Amen.
What gift have you been given that you have neglected to cultivate?
The gift of the Spirit is God’s power to equip every saint for the work of ministry. #WisdomHunters #strive #Jesus
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