Wednesday, May 13, 2015

"The More Excellent Way"

   1 Corinthians 12: 26-31 - 14:1

   And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; or if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it.
   Now you are the body of Christ, and members individually.
   And God has appointed these in the church: first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, varieties of tongues.
   Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Are all workers of miracles?
   Do all have gifts of healings? Do all have speak with tongues? Do all interpret?
   But earnestly desire the best gifts. And yet I show you a more excellent way.
   Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become as sounding brass or a clanging cymbal.
   And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.
   And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing.
   Love suffers long and is kind: love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up;
   does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil;
   does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth;
   bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
   Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away.
   For we know in part and prophesy in part.
   But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away.
   When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things.
   For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.
   And now abide faith, hope, love, and these three; but the greatest of these is love.
   Pursue love, and desire spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy...

I realize that the 'love chapter' is chapter 13 but if that is all you read without reading before and after; than you miss so much of what is trying to be imparted to us. Check out this key phrase " ... But earnestly desire the best gifts. And yet I show you a more excellent way."... 1 Corinthians 12:31 See the thing is, the 'love chapter' is sandwiched in between a message about us being the body of Christ, our callings to the five fold ministry, and a whole lot about operating in the gifts of the Holy Spirit and when he is telling us that there is a more excellent way he is talking about being a member of the body that has love for one another. He is telling us to fulfill our calling to be an apostle, prophet, teacher etc. that operates in our callings with and because of the love that we have and that we are to show to those we are called to serve. When he says, "to earnestly desire the best gifts" and "to pursue love, and desire spiritual gifts" it is because he wants us to walk out our callings equipped and empowered with the gifts the Holy Spirit so that we too like Jesus, and the disciples after Him are more than able to respond in love and meets the needs of those He leads us to.

The love chapter is actually a really big fancy way of reminding us of what its all about! It is telling us, "Whatever your calling and whatever your gifts ... use them not only to love but in love! If you do... you too will understand 'the more excellent way' and walk as He walked!

He who does not love does not know God, for God is love. In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. 1 John 4:8-9

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