By Todd Tomasella
Though I personally have no thought of doing away with or ignoring the gifts of the Holy Spirit, there is a proper priority level, place, and usage for them as Paul tells us by the insertion of the 13th chapter of 1 Corinthians where he speaks of "a more excellent way." (1 Cor. 12:31) In this bridge verse between the 12th and 13th chapters of 1 Corinthians, the apostle says "But covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet show I unto you a more excellent way." (1 Cor. 12:31) The Holy Spirit then begins to teach us what charity is and that without it we are nothing.
We should desire the best gifts and to see them in their proper place and not made the total focus. For two decades now I have witnessed some ministries operating in the church world overemphasize less important things like visions and revelations, prophecies, gifts, and signs, etc. and it deeply concerns me for Christ's body sake.
Personally, I was misled to be caught up in that same mind frame of some coming glorious move of God, which never came and perhaps never will. Should we be focused on such, or rather on the Person of Jesus Christ and His soon return? Isn't He returning for those who are "looking for Him?" (Heb. 9:28) Isn't the focus to be watching, praying and overcoming sin? (Lk.12:35-40, Lk. 21:34-36; 1 Jn. 3:3, etc.) Where did He tell us to set our "affection"? On things "above" and "not on things on the earth," right? (Col. 3:1-4) Didn't Paul press toward the "mark" of knowing Jesus more in "the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings?" (Phil. 3:10-14) The whole focus of Revelation 2 and 3, when Jesus addresses the seven churches of <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" />Asia is worshipping Jesus as an overcomer, right?
"If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory." Colossians 3:1-4
As a young believer, I don't remember many people taking me aside to show me the divine truth that the most important thing is knowing Jesus and walking in His love and truth. (Jn. 17:3, 17:17; 1 Cor. 13, etc.) No, instead there was the constant emphasis upon gifts, signs, utterances, supposed wonders, and miracles, etc. And wow, hang around and you will find out real quick that I believe that God gives and operates gifts and does miracles often and will pray in faith on the spot for whatever is needed! Yet, without the more important truth of knowing Him deeper daily and living in His love, all those gifts are in vain. Remember Matthew 7:21-23?
"Emphasis on the gifts is preached more than the actual HOW TO know Jesus intimately and live a holy life we are administered tests to see what gift(s) we have we all get excited about them (more than knowing Christ), yet very seldom are we told that He takes them away from those who don't walk in His way, etc., and will eternally punish those who have them and leave the earth out of fellowship with Him." Becky Purcell
Didn't our LORD tell His disciples not to rejoice over the supernatural power of God, but rather "because your names are written in heaven?"
"And the seventy returned again with joy, saying, Lord, even the devils are subject unto us through thy name. And he said unto them, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven (and I see the same pride in you that was in him). Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you. Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven." Luke 10:17-20
My attempt here is to search the Scriptures, meditate upon, and uncover what the Holy Ghost is saying to our hearts through His Words.
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