1 Corinthians 13-14

Are you using your gifts in love?

In the gospels Jesus said the world would know we are his disciples because of our love for one another. Given those words, it’s no surprise that in the middle of his discussion on spiritual gifts, Paul stops to talk about love and its impact on these gifts.

In 1 Corinthians 12:7 Paul tells us that spiritual gifts are for the common good. Their primary use is not our own edification, but for the building of the body. Paul reiterates this fact in chapter 14. But right in the middle of these two chapters Paul tells us that all these spiritual gifts are meaningless without love. Love is one of the chief character traits of the believer. Everything we do should be seasoned and motivated by love for our brother. Even Jesus tells us the greatest commandments are to: 1) love God, and 2) love people.

But how does this tie into spiritual gifts? Paul uses the gifts of tongues & prophecy to illustrate. For the gift of tongues to have the greatest impact it needs one of two things: 1) a hearer who understands, and 2) someone who can interpret. Without either of those things the gift of tongues is useless and does not edify the body of Christ. No one can be built up by words they do not understand. So, even if they speak a million words, its meaning is lost. Yet, if someone prophesies five words, that will have far greater impact because the hearer can understand. The goal in using the gifts is love and edification. Without edification we are not loving our brother or sister with our spiritual gift.

Today, examine your own life and heart. Are your actions motivated by love for God and neighbor?

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