For the Common Good
Holy God, as I come before You today, cause me to listen closely, ponder deeply, and surrender wholeheartedly to You.
1 CORINTHIANS 12:1-11
Consider: Contemplate the statement "Jesus is Lord." What does it mean for you to say it?
We come now to another problem for the Corinthian church: the use of spiritual gifts. The Corinthians thought they had arrived, spiritually speaking, but their worship had become disorderly and self-centered, with an unhealthy focus on spiritual gifts. Paul begins his corrective to their behavior by focusing on two aspects of the Spirit's work: making possible the confession "Jesus is Lord" (3) and the diversity of gifts given by the Spirit (4-11).
First, "Jesus is Lord" is the most basic Christian confession, but for some of us such a statement belies the cost that the earliest Christians had to pay for making it and the cost that many today have to make in stating it. This is a radical confession that declares one's allegiance and that states that all other deities with their demands for allegiance are not Lord.
Second, there is a diversity of gifts. In several of his letters Paul gives various lists of spiritual gifts (Rom. 12:3-8; Eph. 4:7-13), so we should not take this list (4-11) as comprehensive but as representative of the Spirit's gifts. They are not given because of merit, length of Christian service, or maturity--nor primarily for the individual's benefit--but because the Spirit generously gives gifts in order to build up the community (7). The tragedy is that the issue of spiritual gifts still divides the church today, and yet God has given these gifts to build up the life of the church. We stunt the church's growth and an individual's growth in Christ if we prevent certain gifts being exercised. Let's allow God, by his Spirit, to demonstrate his "grace in action in the Christian community" (David Prior) through the use of his gifts. They have been given for the "common good" (7).
Which of the above-listed gifts have you received? How have you used your gifts for the common good?
Holy Spirit, I thank You for the spiritual gifts I have received. Open up opportunities for me to use them for the building up of the Body.
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