The Promise is to You

“Pursue Love and Strive for the Spiritual Gifts”

With these words, St. Paul begins 1 Corinthians 14. He has just written about both love and spiritual gifts in 1 Cor 12-13, concluding, “And now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; and the greatest of these is love.”

Love is the heart of the spiritual life, but the spiritual life is not complete without putting that love into action. We’re called to “strive” for the spiritual gifts because they are ways that God gives us to put it in action. How will people experience our love if we don’t show it?

The Holy Spirit gives us countless ways – countless gifts – with which to love others. Hospitality, service, music, administration, craftsmanship, encouragement, teaching, prophecy, healing, and many more are given to us to bring other people to Christ.

The gift of praying in tongues is often considered a “gateway gift” because it is often the first charismatic gift received, and because it prepares people to receive other gifts. Praying in tongues often feels like an overflow of love that pours out of one’s heart in a new language. The Holy Spirit gives us the words to pray in a real human or angelic language (1 Cor 13:1).

When we allow the Holy Spirit to guide our prayer, our hearts are drawn into closer union with God. We become attuned to him, able to hear his voice and to allow him to direct our actions. Tongues is the only gift that is primarily for the good of the recipient, instead of for other people. But because it attunes us to God, we then become more capable of using the other spiritual gifts.

Praying in tongues also makes it easier to praise God. We focus our attention on Jesus, desire to worship him, and let the words flow out of our mouths. It helps us to pray for others, as well. Because the Spirit is giving us the words, we can know that we’re praying in accord with his will. There is great joy in praying in tongues!

Would you like to receive the gift of tongues?
Or have you received it, but want to grow in it?
You are invited…

[This article, by Upper Room Director Christy Whiting, first appeared in the Nov. 2017 edition of  The Open Door, Christ the King’s monthly newsletter.]

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