By Michael Youssef, Ph D. 08/03/20
Read 1 Corinthians 14:6-40.
The believers in Corinth were followers of Jesus. They had received the Gospel with joy and were learning to live in community as brothers and sisters in Christ. But old habits die hard, and they continued to struggle with selfishness, envy, and pride. They began to covet certain spiritual gifts in order to feel special and important. But Paul’s words in 1 Corinthians 14 teach us that whenever self dominates the church, the Gospel is diminished, and our gifts will be ineffective for Christ.
The Corinthians were abusing the gifts of the Holy Spirit because they were more concerned with themselves—their personal experience and worship—than they were with building up the church. But using any gift—spiritual or natural—in a way that takes the spotlight off of Jesus and onto yourself is wrong. And the Corinthians were reaping what they had sown: They had lost all order in their worship; their meetings had become chaotic. Paul reminded them, “God is not a God of disorder but of peace” (1 Corinthians 14:33).
The Lord gives us spiritual gifts, not to bless ourselves, but to bless others—to build up the entire church in spiritual maturity and hope. The Corinthians had lost sight of this important Truth, letting their selfishness dominate. They gave very little thought to how their fellow believers, or even visiting nonbelievers, felt. In this chaos and disorder, lost souls could not hear the Gospel that could lead them to repent and receive Christ. Instead, they could only leave these chaotic worship services assuming that the Christians in Corinth were out of their minds (see 1 Corinthians 14:23).
We will fail in our mission to share Christ with the world if we use our gifts for self-promotion. We will stifle the transformative power of Christ in us and in our churches if we do not honor one another above ourselves (see Romans 12:10). So let’s be zealous, by all means! Let’s use our spiritual gifts—but let’s give thanks for the wise and generous way God has bestowed them on each of us and use them to love His church. Then we will be effective witnesses for Christ as we worship Him, knowing that we are not missing out on a thing—for Christ is our all in all.
Prayer: Father, forgive me for seeking praise from man for the gifts You have given me. By Your Spirit, help me to give You all the glory and to be a tool for the building up of Your Kingdom. I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.
“Since you are eager for gifts of the Spirit, try to excel in those that build up the church” (1 Corinthians 14:12).