Desiring gifts

girl-463462_6401Corinthians 12:31: But earnestly desire the higher gifts. And I will show you a still more excellent way. (ESV)

Expression of spiritual gifts is based on both the sovereignty of God and the cooperation of man. When God called Jeremiah to the office of a prophet, he was at first reluctant and God had to speak to convince him that it was the right thing for him to do (Jeremiah 1:1-9).

He assured him that the appointment to the office of a prophet was not something done hastily, but something He had been planning for him even before he was born, nay, conceived in his mother’s womb. That shows God’s foreknowledge. God also told him about the ability he had been imbibed with. He said: I have put my word in your mouth. That means he had been equipped for the assignment. The combination of divine foreknowledge and divine enablement ought to instil confidence into him.

That was what happened to Paul. He was assured that before he was born he was appointed to be an apostle (Galatian 1:15-16), he also added that he received an abundance of grace which will enabled him to do the work effectively.

There was a time that Elijah said that he was fed-up with the being a prophet, and there was nothing much God can do except ask him to anoint someone else to be a prophet in his stead and that person was Elisha (1Kings 19). God did not say he had to continue as a prophet whether he likes it or not.

When Elijah threw his mantle on Elisha and walked away, Elisha showed his willingness by running after Elijah and asked him to wait while he killed the animals he was using to till the ground as a farmer. He showed his eagerness to follow Elijah into the call of a Prophet by being willing to cut away from his past.

Elisha showed his willingness to follow Elijah to the end (2Kings 2). Till he (Elijah) was taken up to heaven, he refused to leave his side. The force of his desire for the spiritual gift operating in Elijah drove him on.

He did not allow anything to distract him. When Elijah when he asked him, what do you want me to do for you before I leave? Elisha said: I want a double portion of your spirit. He does not want to be an ordinary man, he wanted to “up there” in spiritual functioning. He does not want to maintain the status quo. That is about the strength of desire.

His spiritual ability was so great after he received the double portion of the Spirit of Elijah that he asked for that he can literally be in two places at the same time. Time and space were nothing to him, but it all began with desire. He was appointed to be a prophet (God’s prerogative) and he also followed with extreme desire to be the best one (Man’s willingness). There is not allowance for a reluctant servant of God. You can be reluctant at first but not for too long.

The demand of God and the desire of man, go hand in hand. When you recognise what you have been called to, you also need training and passion in that direction being ready to make the sacrifice needed, to forsake and follow the direction the call leads.

Our desires are stirred up when we are exposed to people who are already walking in the same line we are called to walk in, just as Elisha embraced the call of a prophet and was stirred into the desires a double portion by what he saw in the life of Elijah.

Moses at first refused to yield to the divine demand to embark on the rescue of the children of Israel from Pharaoh. But God did not bypass his will. He did not tell Moses “you do not have a choice; I will use you no matter what (Exodus 3).”

God engaged in a long conversation with Moses because Moses’ willingness is as important as God’s intention. God needs man and man needs God. That is the way it is. The bible asked a question:  can two walk together except they are in agreement (Amos 3:3)? God’s plan is to work with man and not force himself on him. That is why salvation is not forced on anyone; it is good for you, but that does not mean that God will force it on you.

It is the willing and obedient that will eat the good of the land (Isaiah 1:19). God is not into making robots. He does not make unreasoning men. He said we can come to him with our reasoning (Isaiah 41:21). He made man in his image, made him to have dominion, made him with the ability to make his own choices.

Joshua said to some people: as for me and my household we will serve the Lord (Joshua 24:15). He made his own choice.

Spiritual service is about the expression of your gifting. And that is a matter of choice. Peter advised that those who speak should do so as the oracle of God (1Peter 4:10-11). It is the Holy Spirit who witnesses with our spirit that we are the sons of God and it is in a similar way that the manifestation of the gift of the Holy Spirit works. It is based on our submission to the operation of the Spirit of God within us.

A way we submit is through prayers, and through which the gifts are stirred up. The activation of the gifts of the Spirit is linked to our stirring up the gift of God in us. While telling Timothy that God has not given him the Spirit of fear but of love, power and sound mind, Paul said he needs to stir up the gift of God in him (2Timothy 1:6-7).

Spirit of love: This gives you the motivation of God to rightly express your gifts. It is the capacity to see people with the eyes of God as we minister to them.

Spirit of power: This is the ability to make impact as God flowing through us

Spirit of south mind: This enables us to have clarity of mind as we deliver the message, choosing our words well, and precisely.

And a major way we stir up the gift of God is by speaking in tongues. Jude said it is by praying in the Holy Spirit that we build up ourselves with regards to our faith and faith is the gateway to the operation of the gifts (Jude 1:20). Paul wrote that we should use our gift in proportion to our faith (Romans 12:6).

Faith rides on our desire, desire rides on our praying to God. Remember that Jesus said that we should make our desire work for us as we pray about them (Mark 11:22-24). When I speak in tongues, I stir up the gift of God in me. In the process, I embrace the call of God on me and get myself stirred up for the expression of the gift. The desire is expressed as we actually do the will of God, as we actually use the gift, stepping up in faith to use them with confidence, with the spirit of power, love and sound mind.

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