Paul focuses his attention on the gifts of the Holy Spirit. His emphasis is that ALL the gifts come from the Holy Spirit for the good of all and HE chooses what to give to each one of us.
The church in Corinth had a lot of spiritual gifts working within it. My bible study helps concludes that this was one of the questions addressed to Paul in the Corinthian’s letter that he was responding to. The church was dividing itself along spiritual gifting lines and valuing some over others. They also appear to be wondering which were real.
Paul gives them a quick litmus test. If the person who is supposed to be speaking in the Spirit derides Jesus, they are a FALSE speaker. The Spirit NEVER speaks against Jesus and His Lordship. The person speaking for Jesus through the Spirit belongs to Him. No one can pray in the Spirit, in tongues, anything that is contrary to God’s will.
“Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; and there are verities of activities, but it is the same God who empowers them all in everyone” (verses 4-6). Paul includes every aspect of the Trinity in this statement. One part of the Godhead will NEVER work against another. The gifts of the Spirit come with the blessing of ALL the aspects of God. The Holy Spirit would NEVER give a gift against the Father’s wishes. The power behind the gift is the fullness of God Himself.
Next Paul addresses this body’s behavior towards different Spiritual giftings. The gifts being given to each individual are for the whole body not for the elevation of one person above another. What good is a word of knowledge without the receiver benefiting from it? Even the miracles Paul was gifted to do were not to benefit him but the one receiving the healing or deliverance. God uses us as His hands and feet for the benefit of others.
God does NOT intend for us to become puffed up or famous for our giftings. Instead He requires that we give the glory and credit for these miracles to Him. They are, after all, only available to us through His hands. He is the Author and Bestower of all these gifts.
The Holy Spirit is the one who decides which gift we each receive. I have sometimes wondered what criteria He uses to make these decisions. Why does one person get one gift while another gets something different? Why do some people have more than one gift operating in their lives while others don’t display any? I’m glad He chooses which gifts to give because I’m certain we would make a mess of it.
When thinking about this question I was reminded of something. “God doesn’t call the qualified, He qualifies the called.” I don’t know who said that first but it still holds true today. When the Holy Spirit gives a gift to someone it is because He knows they will follow His leading in using it. I won’t say no one ever misuse His gifts. It has happened before and probably will happen again. But that is not the fault of the gift or the gift giver. It is man perverting God’s design. I also believe that God can “unplug” a gift that is being misused. He doesn’t remove any gifts He gives but He doesn’t put His power behind the wrongly used gift. An example would be when the person claiming to have healing power fails to heal. They may have been given the gift of healing and God worked through their hands when they were walking with Him but when they step away and try and use that same gift under their own power it fails miserably. GOD is the power behind every gift and without Him none of them work. That is why the glory and credit belong to Him.
Father God, thank You for Your various gifts. Over my life I have been blessed to see many of them in action. Thank You for allowing me that glimpse into Your power. I honestly don’t know what spiritual gifts You have given me. I don’t know if I’m supposed to have one. I know I have Your Holy Spirit in my life and He occasionally works in my life. Thank You for allowing me to be a part of Your work on those occasions.
Thank You for bringing to my mind another of Your principles concerning Your giftings. The fact that in order for the gift to grow in my life I need to exercise it. This means using it for Your purposes. Helping others with what You have given me. Leaving the gift “in the box” does no one any good. If I have done this Father please forgive me. Were those times I remember Your power, me peeking into the box for a moment? I’m almost afraid to “open the box” and see. Please give me courage and Your wisdom with what You have planned for me.