The Gifts Part 51
So why is it important to properly identify spiritual gifts? How is it that knowing what gift is operating in a vessel will make our spiritual walk healthier and more surefooted? The simple answer to these questions is that once we know which gifts are operating, what the designated ministry of each gift is, and what that gift entails, we will no longer harbor any doubt as to its origin, its veracity, or its purpose.
Let’s take the gift of prophecy for instance, since it is the gift of prophecy that we’ve been discussing for some time now. As Paul stated plainly and without equivocation, the purpose of the gift of prophecy is to exhort, edify and comfort. If for instance, we confused the gift of prophecy with the gift of the word of wisdom, and we received a word of prophecy that contained no direction or revelation concerning future events, because we confused the two, and were expecting that via prophecy we would receive revelation concerning the future, upon seeing that we were only exhorted, edified and comforted, we could readily reject the word, or conclude that because there were no details concerning something yet to occur it was not of God.
A right and true understanding of the gifts of the Holy Spirit, will aid us not only in identifying what gift is operating in a certain vessel, but will also go a long way in helping us weigh and judge that which we see and hear, and discern whether or not it is of God.
Now that we’ve established what the gift of prophecy is, and how it is used within the household of faith, the next question in the logical progression of this discussion would be how does the gift of prophecy manifest itself?
There are many instances wherein the gift of prophecy manifests itself, but by an overwhelming percentage it manifests itself most often during prayer. Perhaps it is due to the fact that during prayer our spiritual sensibility is heightened, or that during prayer we have a predisposition to desire the deeper and more profound things of God, but it is during prayer time, whether in a fellowship or in our own prayer closets that the gift of prophecy manifests most often.
The gift of prophecy also manifests during sermons, or teachings, wherein certain elements of the discourse can be of a prophetic nature. If you’ve ever sat in a church service, heard a sermon, and felt like a certain part of it was being spoken directly to you, directly to your heart as though you were the only person in attendance and that which you heard was meant for you and you alone, then you know exactly what I mean when I say that certain elements within a sermon can be of a prophetic nature.
Any time God uses someone to exhort, edify and comfort the Body of Christ or an individual member without revelatory aspects whether past or future, it is the gift of prophecy operating in the individual. All of us have been prophesied to at one time or another during our Christian walk, even if we misidentified it as having been something else. It doesn’t take much, sometimes it’s something as seemingly trivial as a few words spoken in haste after a church meeting, and though the person delivering the message might never know how much their word affected me, I feel edified, encouraged and comforted. These individuals do not speak to me concerning past events, nor do they speak of future events, but through their gifting build me up spiritually in the present. In essence, this is what the gift of prophecy is, and what it does, it edifies, exhorts, and comforts the Body of Christ in the present.
Both the gift of speaking in tongues, and the gift of prophecy are gifts within the Body of Christ intended to edify and build up believers. When we speak in tongues, we edify ourselves, yet when we prophecy, we edify exhort ad comfort others.
1 Corinthians 14:2-5, “For he who speaks in tongues does not speak to men but to God, for no one understands him; however, in the spirit he speaks mysteries. But he who prophesies speaks edification and exhortation and comfort to men. He who speaks in a tongue edifies himself, but he who prophecies edifies the church. I wish you all spoke in tongues, but even more that you prophesied; for he who prophesies is greater than he who speaks with tongues, unless indeed he interprets that the church may receive edification.”
So why would Paul delineate between the gift of tongues and the gift of prophecy and say that he who prophecies is greater than he who speaks with tongues? Because when we prophecy we edify others, whether one individual or a group of individuals, but when we speak in tongues we are only edifying ourselves, unless there is interpretation so that the church may receive edification.
Paul’s purpose in writing to the church at Corinth was to instruct them as to what they must do to have a healthy and vibrant congregation, wherein the gifts operated in concert, wherein all the body was edified, all the body was exhorted, and all the body was comforted. Paul wasn’t telling the church at Corinth to honor those who prophesy above those who speak in tongues, he was not instructing them to elevate and heap praise on them, he was simply saying that because the gift of prophecy edified the entire body rather than one single person, it was greater in its scope than the gift of tongues.
No matter what gift God bestows upon you as an individual, due to the fact that He has chosen to bestow a gift upon you, it automatically makes you servant of the brethren. Contrary to popular belief, spiritual gifting does not entitle you to the reverence, praise, and admiration of the brethren, it does not entitle you to excess of the material, rather it makes you accountable, and responsible to serve whenever and wherever you are called upon to serve.
With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.