As Christians, Paul challenges us in 1 Corinthians 14:1, to follow the way of love and eagerly desire spiritual gifts. Each time I settle in do study a specific part of scripture, I like to see how my three favorite translations convey the message. Take a look at how 1 Corinthians 14:1 is translated below.
1 Corinthians 14:1 (NIV) “Follow the way of love and eagerly desire spiritual gifts”
1 Corinthians 14:1 (MSG) “Go after a life of love as if your life depended on it—because it does. Give yourselves to the gifts God gives you.”
1 Corinthians 14:1 (NCV) “You should seek after love, and you should truly want to have the spiritual gifts”
I really get a great deal from the Message (MSG) paraphrase. This tells me I am supposed to go after a life of love as if my life depended on it and then give myself to the gifts God has given me.
1 Corinthians 13:4-8 (MSG) “Love never gives up. Love cares more for others than for self. Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have. Love doesn’t strut, Doesn’t have a swelled head, Doesn’t force itself on others, Isn’t always “me first,” Doesn’t fly off the handle, Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others, Doesn’t revel when others grovel, Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth, Puts up with anything, Trusts God always, Always looks for the best, Never looks back, But keeps going to the end. Love never dies.”
Oh yeah…right from the start I can see I have some work to do. Can I just be honest for a moment. I’ve wanted to “give up” on love a time or two – I mean who hasn’t when the going gets tough. I’ve also been selfish – wanting things my way. Oh, and that “fly off the handle” part… Yep…I have some work to do.
I’m not going to beat myself up there, let me quickly go to the second part of 1 Corinthians 14:1. Not only am I suppose to go after LOVE as if my life depends on it, I am also to give myself to the gifts God gave me. Spiritual gifts are those gifts administered by the Holy Spirit and are used for building the church up. The gifts of the Holy Spirit are found in 1 Corinthians 12.
1 Corinthians 12: 4 – 11 (NCV) “There are different kinds of gifts, but they are all from the same Spirit. There are different ways to serve but the same Lord to serve. And there are different ways that God works through people but the same God. God works in all of us in everything we do. Something from the Spirit can be seen in each person, for the common good. The Spirit gives one person the ability to speak with wisdom, and the same Spirit gives another the ability to speak with knowledge. The same Spirit gives faith to one person. And, to another, that one Spirit gives gifts of healing. The Spirit gives to another person the power to do miracles, to another the ability to prophesy. And he gives to another the ability to know the difference between good and evil spirits. The Spirit gives one person the ability to speak in different kinds of languages and to another the ability to interpret those languages. One Spirit, the same Spirit, does all these things, and the Spirit decides what to give each person.”
Jesus loved Father God and he loved the people around him. Throughout scripture you can see the example Jesus set of trusting the Father’s will for His life. Jesus gave himself away and utilized what the Father had given Him to encourage and build people up while at the same time bringing honor and glory to God.
My desire is to live a life that always leads with love, and always encourages and builds others up. God has specifically equipped each one of us to accomplish the tasks He has put us on this earth to do. The question is are we using the time he has given us wisely or are we chasing our own selfish dreams and desires.
It is only when we use the talents and gifts God has given us and love the people he has placed around us that we bring honor and glory to God.