Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Spiritual Gifts and the Church (part 5): 1 Cor 12:7

"But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good." (1 Corinthians 12:7)
The manifestations that Paul is writing about are the manifestations of the Spirit, not the manifestations of us. When we exercise the manifestations of the Spirit it is important to do so in a way that brings attention to God and not to ourselves. The goal of these manifestations is for people to recognize and experience God, not to make ourselves know or to bring glory to ourselves. Even Jesus, when He moved in the supernatural, did it in a way as to not bring attention to Himself.

There is the story of the man who lay sick beside the pool of Bethesda. After speaking with the man, Jesus said, "Get up, pick up your pallet and walk." (John 5:8) and immediately the man was healed. Unfortunately, this healing was done on the Sabbath which made the Scribes and Pharisees quite unhappy. They questioned the man as to who had healed him.
"Now it was the Sabbath on that day. So the Jews were saying to the man who was cured, 'It is the Sabbath, and it is not permissible for you to carry your pallet.' But he answered them, 'He who made me well was the one who said to me, "Pick up your pallet and walk."' They asked him, 'Who is the man who said to you, "Pick up your pallet and walk"?' But the man who was healed did not know who it was, for Jesus had slipped away while there was a crowd in that place." (John 5:9-13)
Jesus just performed a notable miracle and then He disappeared into the crowd; no fanfare, no praise, just a simple quiet miracle.

When it comes to the manifestations of the Spirit, we must remember what John said, "He must increase, but I must decrease." (John 3:30) It is tempting to want to be known for our gifting and power, but those things are given by God so that He might be made known. When we minister in the Spirit, people should remember what God did for them and how He revealed Himself to them, not who it was that God chose as a conduit of these things.

While individually and corporately, few of us would intentionally seek to use the manifestations of the Spirit for our own self aggrandizement, we must continually ask ourselves as to whether or out our behavior and ecclesiastical structures serves to inadvertently deflect some of the attention due to God away from Him and onto ourselves.

More to come... David Robison

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