Introduction to Chapter 14
Thoughts for Today:In Chapter 12, we looked at the endowment of gifts of the Spirit. Paul explained that gifts were given to maintain diversity, balance, and ultimately result in unity. Just like the human body. Each member has a separate function, yet all operate in harmony and are interdependent upon one another. Therefore, we are all placed into the body of Christ to perform a certain function, and for the church to work properly, we need to properly exercise our individual Spirit-endowed giftedness. At the conclusion of Chapter 12 Paul told us to "eagerly desire the greater gifts", yet he will show us "the most excellent way". That way is love, and Chapter 13 was dedicated entirely to it.
Now, in Chapter 14, Paul says we should continue to follow this course of love, but not to the degree of ignoring or forgetting about spiritual gifts. Whenever the gifts of the Spirit are used, they must always be balanced with love, wisdom and discretion. Paul will offer guidance for how the gifts are to work in the church, so that order is not lost. In other words, using the manifestation of these gifts appropriately.
Unfortunately, much of what we see in the church today is a reaction to the inappropriate use of the gifts of the Spirit. The right response is not to disavow these gifts, but to properly understand and administer them. This is the direction Paul takes in Chapter 14.
Questions to Ponder:Are the operation and use of spiritual gifts at work in your church? Are they administered properly? If you have questions about how gifts of the Spirit are to work in the modern church, then read on.