Having been a member of the Body of
Christ since May 15, 1976, I have
had the privilege of knowing fellow members of Christ from a variety of
nations and a variety of religious backgrounds. I have attended
Christian conferences over the years, and have see the advertisements
for a wide variety of Christian Conferences. It seems that many
conference leaders or providers are interested in promoting and
demonstrating spiritual gifts, but few if any are interested in
promoting or demonstrating spiritual fruits! But both are
important, and they are intended to compliment each other and be
equally sought after.
Then do not let your
good be spoken evil of,
Rom 14:17 for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy
[fruits] in the Holy Spirit.
1Co 4:19 But I will come to you
shortly, if the Lord wills. And I will not know the speech of those who
are puffed up, but the power.
1Co 4:20 For the kingdom of God is not in word, but in power.
1Co 4:21 What do you desire? Shall I come to you with a rod, or
in love and the spirit of meekness?
I suspect that the reason for
this is that the members of the
Christ have been mostly deprived of the elementary principles of the
Kingdom of God. That is not surprising, for we have an adversary
who is intent upon nullifying what God wants to do with His creation,
and especially with His highest creation - mankind.
I, like many others, have read 1
Corinthians, chapters 12-14 at least
several times, and find that God's leaders show much interest in the
list of spiritual gifts set forth in chapter 12 of that epistle, some
interest in chapter 13 - the so-called 'love chapter', but almost no
interest in chapter 14, in which the interaction of God's love and His
spiritual gifts is set forth. In fact, I have more than once
heard the first verse of chapter 14 mis-quoted. Here is the
actual verse in a variety of translations and the original Greek:
1 Corinthians 14:1
(ASV) Follow after love; yet desire earnestly spiritual gifts,
but rather that ye may prophesy.
(BBE) Go after love; still desiring to have the things which the
Spirit gives, but most of all that you may have the prophet's power.
(CEV) Love should be your guide. Be eager to have the gifts that
come from the Holy Spirit, especially the gift of prophecy.
(DRB) Follow after charity, be zealous for spiritual gifts; but
rather that you may prophesy.
(ERV) Love should be the goal of your life, but you should also
want to have the gifts that come from the Spirit. And the gift you
should want most is to be able to prophesy.
(ESV) Pursue love, and earnestly desire the spiritual gifts,
especially that you may prophesy.
(GNB) It is love, then, that you should strive for. Set your
hearts on spiritual gifts, especially the gift of proclaiming God's
(GNT) Διώκετε τὴν ἀγάπην· ζηλοῦτε δὲ τὰ πνευματικά,
μᾶλλον δὲ ἵνα προφητεύητε.
(GW) Pursue love, and desire spiritual gifts, but especially the
gift of speaking what God has revealed.
(ISV) Keep on pursuing love, and keep on desiring spiritual
gifts, especially the ability to prophesy.
(KJV) Follow after charity, and desire spiritual gifts, but
rather that ye may prophesy.
(LEB) Pursue love, and strive for spiritual gifts, but especially
that you may prophesy.
(LITV) Pursue love, and seek eagerly the spiritual things, but
rather that you may prophesy.
(MKJV) Follow after charity and desire spiritual things, but
rather that you may prophesy.
(RV) Follow after love; yet desire earnestly spiritual gifts, but
rather that ye may prophesy.
(YLT) Pursue the love, and seek earnestly the spiritual things,
and rather that ye may prophecy,
The mis-quote I have heard several
times is this: "Earnestly
desire spiritual gifts". The commandment to pursue love is either
ignored or omitted!! I believe that this mis-quoting is the
result of lack of crucifixion of the flesh of carnal Christian
This was apparently the case in the
church at Corinth in the days of
Paul the apostle. He acknowledges that they abound in spiritual
gifts, yet he chastises them for their carnality! He attributes
the fact that they are divided by their carnal loyalties to leaders
rather than being united by loyalty to Christ Jesus and God the Father.
As usual, Paul misses a great
opportunity to clearly explain the
difference between carnal and spiritual Christians, and how to be
transformed from being carnal to being spiritual. But I assume
that God has hidden these fundamental truths so that only those who are
looking for these 'how to's' will be able to find them. They are hidden
in plain sight, of course!
Eventually Paul, in his epistles to
the Corinthians, gets to that point
in 2 Corinthians 5:15
2Cor 5:15 He
died for all, so
that those who live should no
longer live for themselves, but only for Him Who died and
was raised to life for their sake.
I believe that only those Christians
who realized that they are living
carnal lives and are missing out on the amazing adventure of living a
spiritual life for God rather than a carnal life for themselves will
ask Jesus for the means of that transformation, and will receive His
grace to accomplish that transformation. Apparently this also was the
case in the church of the Hebrew Christians, because the writer of the
epistle to the Hebrews tells them how difficult it is to explain
spiritual things to them because they have become dull of hearing, and
need someone to teach them the elementary principles of the beginnings of the oracles
5:11-14 Much more could
be said about this subject. But it is hard to explain, and all of you
are slow to understand. By now you should have been teachers, but once
again you need to be taught the simplest things about what God has
said. You need milk instead of solid food. People who live on milk are
like babies who don't really know what is right. Solid food is for
mature people who have been trained to know right from wrong.
5:11-14 of Whom we have
much to say, and hard to be explained since you are dull of hearing.
For indeed because of the time, you ought to be teachers, you have need
that one teach you again what are the first principles of the oracles
of God. And you have become in need of milk, and not of solid food. For
everyone partaking of milk is unskillful in the Word of Righteousness,
for he is an infant. But solid food belongs to those who are of full
age, even those who because of use have their senses exercised to
discern both good and evil.
This condition was apparently the
case with the messenger of the
ekklesia in Laodicea. Jesus, in Revelation chapter 3, had this to
say to this messenger:
3:14-19 And to the
messenger of the assembly of the Laodiceans write: These things saith
the Amen, the witness--the faithful and true--the chief of the creation
of God; I have known thy [singular - mr. messenger] works, that neither
cold art thou [singular] nor hot; I would thou [singular] wert cold or
hot. So--because thou [singular] art lukewarm, and neither cold nor
am about to vomit thee [singular]
out of my mouth; because thou [singular] sayest--I am rich, and have
grown rich, and
have need of nothing, and hast not known that thou art the wretched,
and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked, I counsel thee to buy
from me gold fired by fire, that thou mayest be rich, and white
garments that thou mayest be arrayed, and the shame of thy nakedness
may not be manifest, and with eye-salve anoint thine eyes, that thou
mayest see. As many as I love, I do convict and chasten; be zealous,
then, and reform.
I never realized that this message
from Jesus was to the messenger of
the ekklesia, not to the whole Christian group until several years
ago. We find that this messenger thought that he was rich and
needed nothing, when in fact he was wretched, miserable, poor, blind
and naked!!! Talk about delusions! But I believe that we
are all deluded unless we ask Jesus to save us from our
delusions. This, of course, requires the humility to perceive the
possibility that we might be deluded. I fear that many, like the
Jewish leaders in Jerusalem, are being wept over by Jesus as they fail
to realize the extent of their delusions, their lack of basic fruits of
God's Spirit, and their lust after gold and position and recognition by
Jerusalem! the one killing the prophets, and stoning those having been
sent to her; how often I desired to gather your children in the way a
hen gathers her brood under the wings, and you did not desire it.
Behold, your house is left to you desolate. And truly I say to you, You
will not see Me until it come when you say, Blessed is He who comes in
the name of the Lord.
Here is a list of spiritual gifts:
12:4-11 But there are
differences of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are differences of
ministries, but the same Lord. And there are differences of workings,
but it is the same God working all things in all. But to each one is
given the showing forth of the Spirit to our profit. For through the
Spirit is given to one a word of wisdom; and to another a word of
knowledge, according to the same Spirit; and to another faith by the
same Spirit; and to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit;
and to another workings of powers, to another prophecy; and to another
discerning of spirits; and to another kinds of tongues; and to another
the interpretation of tongues. But the one and the same Spirit works
all these things, distributing separately to each one as He desires.
And here is a list of spiritual
But the fruit of the
Spirit is: love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faith,
meekness, self-control; against such things there is no law.
But those belonging
to Christ have crucified the flesh with its passions and lusts. If we
live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. Let us not become
glory-seeking, provoking one another, envying one another.
Do you, dear reader, belong to
Christ? Have you crucified the
flesh with its passions and lusts? This does not happen
automatically to every one who receives Jesus into their hearts - it
takes an act of faith to crucify the flesh. How? I suggest
that you ask Jesus to tell you how.
6:19-20 Or do you not know
that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit in you, whom you have of
God? And you are not your own,
for you are bought with a
price. Therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit,
which are God's.
God is looking for
unconditional surrender to Him and His will for you. Have you
surrendered to Him, or are you continuing in your rebellion against His
rule in your life? If the allies in World War II required
unconditional surrender of their adversaries, how much more does God
require unconditional surrender of us?