After a long discussion and explanation on the importance of the different gifts God gives and how all are needed for the Body of Christ to function fully, Paul wraps chapter twelve up with an important segue.
“But earnestly desire the higher gifts. And I will show you a still more excellent way.”
~1 Corinthians 12:31
Contrary to what some people believe, Paul actually encourages and exhorts us to pursue and desire the “higher” gifts and be actively involved in using the supernatural gifts of the Holy Spirit to the build the Church of Jesus. Yet at the same time, he wants to make sure that we have the correct motivation and attitude in using these God-given abilities. While the gifts of the Spirit are wonderful, by themselves they are rather useless. They must be accompanied by love, which is the more excellent way.
Diversity is a big word in our culture. Our society usually bases it on ethnicity and superficial differences, promoting broad acceptance and in some cases bestowing greater favor upon those who fit under the category of “diversity.” However, celebrating differences and championing people’s unique design was originally God’s idea. In fact, God intentionally designed His people to be unique and different.
Uniformity was never part of God’s plan. He intended us to all be different and actually created us to be better together because of our differences. Therefore, while we live in a culture seeped in a faulty idea of inclusion and acceptance of diversity based on physical appearance, let’s look at what God has to say about celebrating differences, and let’s understand that God’s definition of diversity is actually vital to a healthy and vibrant church.
Spiritual gifts, an aspect of the Christian life that has brought much division and differing opinion within the Church over the years. In a sermon I recently listened to, Rick Caldwell wryly noted that the one thing that was meant to bring greater unity to the church has actually brought more disunity. I am not going to dive into the different opinions surrounding spiritual gifts, but rather focus on the main point Paul highlights in 1 Corinthians 12.
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