“Pursue love and desire spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy.” 1 Corinthians 14:1
The Greek word for desire in 1 Cor. 14:1 means to covet, to be jealous for, or to show zeal. The Word of God tells us to be zealous for the gifts of the Spirit. Why are so many people in the Church not passionately pursuing the gifts? Here are four reasons…
#1. IGNORANCE. – Many Christians don’t know or simply haven’t ever been taught that they are supposed to pursue the gifts. Many Believers just assume that God will give them whatever gift He wants to, and that they have no responsibility in the deal. Yes, it is true that the gifts are given as the Spirit wills – but scripture also clearly tells us to desire and pursue the gifts. When was the last time you desired to prophesy?
#2. PURPOSE. – Many people aren’t pursuing the gifts because they don’t understand the true purpose of the gifts. The nine gifts listed in 1 Cor. 12:7-10 are given to each one for the profit of all (vs.7). In other words, these gifts exist for the Body of Christ; they are given so that we can minister to others. It is not selfish to pursue spiritual gifts. In fact, it is selfish for us not to want the gifts – because they exist for others.
#3. BAD EXPERIENCES. – Many people are skeptical of the gifts of the Spirit because of the actions of men. Many Believers have had bad experiences where they have been wounded by someone else in this area. We have all seen great and gifted men and women of God with powerful ministries who have fallen into sin only to lose their ministries. Some people have a bad taste in their mouth when it comes to things like healing, prophecy, or tongues. My encouragement is for us to place faith in the Word of God, not our experiences.
#4. BAD TEACHING. – Some Preachers actually use the Bible to teach unbelief! The Church must quit creating doctrines to justify our lack of faith. Some teach and believe that the gifts have ceased, but that is not found in Scripture. All the gifts are still in operation today, and we have been commanded to covet them. We have all heard statements like this, “We must seek God’s face, not His hand.” That sounds religious, but it is not biblical. The truth is that we get to do both! As Followers of Christ, we get to seek His presence and His power.