Our Eager Desire
Our Eager Desire
Words of Faith 7-25-17
Dr. Jeffrey D. Hoy © 2017
Faith Fellowship Church - Melbourne, FL
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1 Corinthians 14
 Follow the way of love and eagerly desire spiritual gifts, especially the gift of prophecy.
The last few verses were poetic and ethereal. They expressed the unfathomable depth of God's love. Now we are back to application.
One of the big concerns in Corinth was the disruption of worship and division related to spiritual gifts. Some Corinthian believers had overemphasized the gift of tongues without interpretation. Gifts or manifestations were being exercised without the Fruit of the Spirit-- Love. Chapter 13 is the foundation for chapter 14. Follow the way of love and eagerly desire spiritual gifts, especially the gift of prophecy.
The answer was not to throw out spiritual gifts and instead practice love. The answer was to follow the way of love AND eagerly desire spiritual gifts. Part of the message from Paul was a call to maturity. "Brothers, stop thinking like children. In regard to evil be infants, but in your thinking be adults" (14:20).
Follow the way of love, the most excellent way (12:31). The word for follow is dioko, dee-o'-ko, and means to pursue or persecute, follow after or press forward. We are called to pursue, persist, continue after and never give up until love is possessed. The highest and most passionate pursuit in life should be the capture and exposure of the love of God in your life. Our relentless pursuit is to love God and love neighbor.
With that pursuit we are to eagerly desire spiritual gifts. The word used here is zeloo or dzay-lo'-o, and means to have warmth of feeling for or against. It means to covet earnestly, envy, be jealous over, zealously pursue. This was NOT a call to be jealous (13:4) or desirous of someone else's gift. This was a call to eagerly desire and seek the spiritual gift God has for you and to eagerly desire that spiritual gifts be operative in the Body of Christ. Do not shun or quench the operation of the Spirit among you.
Paul went one step further to call the Corinthians believers to especially desire prophecy. Why? It is one gift that brings the Body into contact with God's Word and direction. What is "Prophecy"? In the Bible, prophecy included two things: foretelling - predicting future events, and forthtelling - exhorting God's people and occasionally His enemies about his will for their present circumstances.
Today, prophetic expression includes what we might call anointed preaching. Gripped and convicted by the Holy Spirit, prophecy is the pronouncement of God's Word for God's people in God's time. Prophecy included unpremeditated utterances that were inspired by God, but "subject to the prophet", and articulated through the prophet. Prophecy, as a spiritual gift, does not supersede the authority of Scripture and is subject to error and misinterpretation, but it is a powerful tool of God to move God's people.
Prophetic expression is important. Inspired and guided by the Holy Spirit, prophecy moves beyond teaching to specific exhortation and application of God's Word to the people of God. Prophetic expression comes from those who have grasped the meaning of Scripture, perceived its powerful relevance to the life of the individual, the Church and society, and declare that message fearlessly.
When Paul suggested that believers eagerly desire spiritual gifts especially prophecy he did NOT mean that we should all seek to be prophets. Chapter 12 was clear that God decides what gifts will be given to whom and that all believers will not have all gifts. But we should eagerly seek the operation of prophecy in the Body. We should hunger for prophetic exhortation-- whether "anointed preaching" or "unpremeditated utterance".
We should eagerly desire words and exhortation that are intelligible and applicable to our Christian living and the mission of the Church. We should pray for the Teacher or Pastor to be anointed with a prophetic exhortation for the Body. We should receive prophetic exhortation and seek the grace needed to respond.
Of course we must carefully guard against "false prophecy". It is easy these days to confuse emotionality or ear-tickling cleverness with prophecy. We are to eagerly desire true prophecy, not just any prophecy. There is a lot of prophecy out there. Church leadership must be careful about the so-called prophets that roam about. This is why the discerning of spirits is so important and careful observation of the Fruit of the Spirit in conjunction with any worship expression-- specifically love.
Here are a few questions. Are you following the way of love? Are you eagerly desiring the spiritual gifts-- both your own and the activity of spiritual gifts in the church? Are you especially desiring prophecy-- built upon sound teaching-- the anointed forthtelling of God's application and plan from His heart?
Father God, I want to pursue You above all. Teach me the way of love. Help me to pursue the spiritual gifts that You have planned and designed for me. Help me to encourage inspired preaching built on sound teaching. Give me an openness to be always connected to You and always to hear where You are moving Your people. In Jesus' Name.