Theme of the Week: Spiritual Gifts
Bible Verse: If I have the gift of prophecy and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith so that I can move mountains but do not have love, I am nothing.” 1 Corinthians 13:2
Scripture Reading: 1 Corinthians 13:1-13
1 Corinthians 13 is the famous love chapter of the Bible. I’ve heard it read at weddings, even by people who don’t consider themselves to be religious. It’s hard not to admire what this chapter teaches us about love.
But surprisingly, this chapter isn’t written about marriage. It’s written about how we use our spiritual gifts in the church. It seems that the Corinthians needed an important reminder: if we use our spiritual gifts without love, they’re worthless. Love must characterize how we use our spiritual gifts.
When Paul talks about love, he’s not just talking about a warm feeling. He’s talking about how we act. Love behaves a certain way: it’s patient, kind, gracious, selfless, and believes the best about others.
“The various spiritual gifts, as important as they are and as highly as Paul values them, can all be duplicated by pagans,” observes Don Carson. “This quality of love cannot be.”1
You could say a lot of things about spiritual gifts. Entire books have been written on the topic. But the most important thing to say about spiritual gifts is what Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 13—we must use our spiritual gifts with love.
Love isn’t an additional spiritual gift; it’s how we’re supposed to use all of our spiritual gifts. Without love, serving with our spiritual gifts is useless. With love, they’ll bless others and bring glory to God for eternity.
As you serve others with your gifts, pray for God’s love to characterize everything you do.
Prayer: Lord, it’s so easy to serve others without love. Thank you that Jesus didn’t serve us that way. May His love permeate my life and characterize all that I do. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Reflection: How can you show love to someone this week as you serve them?
1 Carson, D. A., Showing the Spirit: A Theological Exposition of 1 Corinthians 12–14 (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1987), 65.
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