Pursue love, and earnestly desire the spiritual gifts, especially that you may prophesy.
(1 Corinthians 14:1)
These are the apostle Paul’s instructions to the Corinthian church. This is in the context of his discussion of spiritual gifts and following his instructions above genuine godly love. He tells them to pursue love, that is seek for it, follow after it, desire it and purpose in your life to live according to divine love.
Then he goes on to say “earnestly desire the spiritual gifts.” The words in the Greek for “earnestly desire” are to have a feeling of warmth, desire, covet or be zealous for. So chase after love and be zealous for spiritual gifts.
He tells them to pursue love, that is seek for it, follow after it, desire it and purpose in your life to live according to divine love.
How many of us and how many of our churches are truly zealous for spiritual gifts? Are we seeking after the spiritual gifts to be in operation in all of the body of Christ in our midst?
How can we actively and earnestly desire spiritual gifts? We can pray for them individually and as a group of believers. Since they are spiritual “gifts” they are not something that we can manufacture of our own will. They are gifts given by the Heavenly Father. He directs them according to his will. God’s part is to give the gift and our part is to earnestly desire the gifts. We can do that by seeking them in prayer and by preparing the ground for them, pursuing a life of prayer and holiness.
Earnest desire is a passion and pursuit of the will towards an end, in this case the end is spiritual gifts. Our earnest desire for spiritual gifts is in the context of love. That means it is for the purpose of benefiting others, not building ourselves up and becoming puffed up with pride.
Are we earnestly desiring spiritual gifts? The Scripture says, “But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal.” (1 Corinthians 12:7) The manifestation of the Spirit is speaking of the gifts of the Spirit, the gifts themselves manifest the Spirit of God. These gifts are given to all believers, the whole body of Christ and what is the purpose of the manifestation of the Spirit? It is given in order to “profit withal” which means to benefit everyone.