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4Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit. 5And there are varieties of ministries, and the same Lord. 6There are varieties of effects, but the same God who works all things in all persons. 7But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. 8For to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, and to another the word of knowledge according to the same Spirit; 9to another faith by the same Spirit, and to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, 10and to another the effecting of miracles, and to another prophecy, and to another the distinguishing of spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, and to another the interpretation of tongues. 11But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually just as He wills
1 Corinthians 12:4-11 NASB

 39Therefore, my brethren, desire earnestly to prophesy, and do not forbid to speak in tongues. 40But all things must be done properly and in an orderly manner.
1 Corinthians 14:39-40 NASB

There is a school of thought that insists that some of the spiritual gifts of the Bible are no longer ‘in play’, that they were just for the first church and have ended.

However, I offer that this is a lack of faith and understanding.  It implies that the Lord was ignorant about what all His children would need throughout the ages and allowed instruction to hang in His Word without following up with “But this is only for the first 73 years, then it stops” or removing it altogether.

It also ignores passages in the New Covenant which assume that the ‘more miraculous gifts’ will still be available and even increased.

It implies a lack of understanding–such as that there will be no need for speaking/interpreting tongues, without considering that there are still areas of the world that require the Gospel to be revealed and the Word of God to be translated (and that speaking in tongues still edifies the speaker).

It implies a lack of understanding of spiritual gifts themselves.  Spiritual gifts are not merely ‘talents’.  Even the most ‘mundane’ of spiritual gifts are miraculous because it is the Holy Spirit at work, not us.

For example, I have a natural, God given, talent in archery.  I am much better than most people.  I was state champion, but I still miss shots.

However, the spiritual gifts are manifestations of the Holy Spirit. A ‘spiritual gift in archery’, if there was such a thing, would mean I would be able to shoot around buildings, through time, weave among the grass, and still hit the bullseye every shot because it would be the Holy Spirit manifesting His power in me, not me.

So the spiritual gift of administration is not ‘talent in administration’.  It is a supernatural, beyond human, manifestation of the Holy Spirit.

(Those who are discerning and careful about when the Holy Spirit works in them might tell you that there is a huge difference within the action of a God given, natural talent and the movement of the Holy Spirit.  It actually feels different, it manifests differently, and people react to it differently.)

Finally, the doubting of the continuation of the ‘miraculous’ gifts is limiting to the Lord.  It assumes that some things are more difficult for God to make work in humans.  It is to take the safe, ‘non-scary’ path.  To see someone who is an excellent teacher is not scary.  It is not disconcerting to see someone who is excellent at hospitality.  It is not alarming to see someone with the ability to exhort others.

However, it is alarming to hear a foreign tongue, to see a miracle save, or to see someone spontaneously healed by laying on of hands.  It is honestly frightening to see ‘out of our control’ power, and I think that is what truly makes some people deny certain gifts (though we also have to understand that some new, weak, eager, or unstable people will fake, either accidentally or intentionally, in order to draw attention and money.).

I mean, we are humans.  Deep down most all of us (often) think “Well, I could have been in the NFL/a famous writer/smarter/a better leader/great at hospitality if I just applied myself a little more.” When we see someone do something that absolutely affirms both the existence of God and our lack of power or ability, when we see something that someone else has that we cannot judge, possess, or control, we either accept our limits or limit the power we see by denial or dismissal.

But by differentiating between gifts this way, we miss.  We miss that the spiritual gift of mercy is no less supernatural than the spiritual gift of tongues.  We miss that we cannot will ourselves into the spiritual gift of teaching any more than we could will ourselves into the spiritual gift of miraculous healing.

And we miss that these are all easy for God.  Each gift is no more or less weary or straining to Him.  His Spirit gives gifts at HIS will and HIS discretion and in HIS own time.

So let us fearfully understand our own limitations in great humility.  Let us learn to discern when the Holy Spirit is working in us through the spiritual gifts He has given, and not concern ourselves with how flashy or concerning anyone else’s gift is.

Remember:  Nothing is supernatural to God

 

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