Day 18

Gifts from the Holy Spirit

from the 1 & 2 Corinthians reading plan

1 Corinthians 14:1-39, Exodus 25:8, 1 John 4:1-3

BY Amanda Bible Williams

Scripture Reading: 1 Corinthians 14:1-39, Exodus 25:8, 1 John 4:1-3

In a few short weeks, my husband and I will board a plane to China to bring home our son. We’ve never met in person. He’s seen photos of us, and he knows to call us “Mama” and “Baba.” But he doesn’t know us, not really, nor do we know him. Yet God has tethered our hearts to one another in a way I think I may not fully understand this side of eternity. God has made us a family even now, before we’ve met, and that is a fact that overshadows all others.

I’m nervous about bringing our boy home. I’m excited, overjoyed, in tears with anticipation; but the unknowns that lie ahead make my chest tighten. I have to remind myself to practice what I learned when waiting for our first three children to arrive: Breathe. Just breathe.

I wonder how he’ll adjust to his new home, to his big sister and big brothers, to his two big dogs and the cat and the chickens in the backyard. I wonder how he’ll take to American culture and American food. But lately, I’m most nervous about the language. He speaks Mandarin; we speak English. Will we be able to communicate? Will he understand our botched renditions of “I love you” and “You are our son” and “It’s okay” in his native tongue?

How and what we communicate to our son matters. Everything we say, from playful banter to earnest conversation, should flow from our love and desire to care for him. Our words are rooted in the fact that we are family.

When Paul addresses the gifts of the Spirit in 1 Corinthians 14, specifically the gifts of prophesying and speaking in tongues, he says some things that are tough for our modern ears to understand. But if we look at the chapter as a whole, we can see a theme emerge: “Seek to excel in building up the church” (v. 12). In this lengthy chapter, Paul acknowledges that the Holy Spirit is real, that the Spirit indeed gives gifts that can only come from God, and that these gifts are good and God-honoring. But in the same breath, he offers a warning about how these gifts are to be used—and, as importantly, why they are to be used. According to Paul, the reason is more straightforward than we might expect: “Everything is to be done for building up” (v. 26).

The Church, the body of believers, is God’s dwelling place on earth. Just as God’s presence filled the tabernacle in the Old Testament, His Spirit fills those who have put our faith in Jesus. The way we conduct our worship and our gatherings matter because God is in our midst, and “God is not a God of disorder but of peace” (v. 33). Furthermore, our interactions and our meeting together ought to be governed by unity, not discord. We are a family—a family established by God Himself. Our words and actions are rooted in this eternal truth.

The diversity within the family of God is a beautiful, purposeful thing. May the Holy Spirit that binds us make our hearts tender toward our fellow family members, seeking to love the Church and build her up in all we say and do. May we worship in a way that causes the unbelievers in our midst to proclaim, “God is really among you.”

Post Comments (70)

70 thoughts on "Gifts from the Holy Spirit"

  1. Rhiannon Donovan says:

    We are not meant to come together to quarrel. Such truth! I pray we can be better witnesses to non-believers

  2. Amy Rinta says:

    Really appreciate these words Amanda! As a pastor I am charged with facilitating many gathering. My goal is to help people connect with God and each other. This help give me courage as I will be heading into a tough meeting with someone who has repeatedly interrupted the gatherings with their personal form a worship. It’s always tough for me to bring correction to people in this area because I want people to passionately seek Jesus. But when it is bring chaos and disorder it is not building the church I must as the leader bring order. This help strengthen my resolve thank!

  3. Shelby Lynn says:

    Ms Amanda, I’m praying for the ease of conversation for your son and your family!

    Beautiful message. No matter what language, tongues whichever we speak; we all are family and we are meant to build up. Build up everything, everyone. We are the church because we are the body of believers.. we don’t have to only build up a physical building ‘church,’ we need to build up everything and every place that we are in.

  4. Becky Jinright says:

    Ashley, these are good questions and hard to answer specifically. But I think speaking in tongues is a gift because it is a special language between the person and God. I’ve never heard anyone speaking in tongues but I’ve always heard you need an interpreter to confirm the gift and explain what is being said. So, it’s a gift first because the Bible tells us so bit also because it points to God, even if we don’t understand it. An interpreter confirms it for others that it’s not gibberish or nonsense, thus being a testimony to God. But prophecy is for believers because it requires faith and unbelievers won’t have that. Many prophecies of the Bible have come true and believers knew they would because of faith. We believe Jesus will return because if faith. Sadly, there are many who don’t know that, unbelievers, no faith. Now to answer you question about what is prophesy today is a much harder question. But it’s interesting to think about. We have had the blessing of the Bible stories and the Truth of Jesus Christ with us for 2000 years. We grew up, hopefully, learning about Him. Faith in Bible times astounds me. Think about the prophets of the IT and the faith it took to listen and believe. Is it possible that everyday folk like y pu and me would have asked the same question back then? Yet today we read it in the Bible and believe. All this points to our relationship with the Father. He gives us our gifts and Faith is a gift also. He personally hands out gifts to His children. So I believe He nurtures each one and He wants us to enjoy them and use then to His Glory. Thank you for asking the questions! You made me think this am!

  5. Ashley Bell says:

    What is prophetic today? How is this gift truthful and glorifying to God? How does it build up the church? How is it for believers but not unbelievers?

    1. Becky Jinright says:


      1. McKenzie O'Hara says:

        There is a really good sermon by Matt Chandler that talks about prophesy today, what it looks like and why it is important. It came out July 14th and its called ” A Supernatural Community and A Personal Word”

  6. Irene stebila says:

    Desire the gift of prophecy. Unless they hear the word they can not know Him and the gospel. Be confident in knowing that greater is He that is in you than He that is in the world. I love that scripture. It gives me confidence and boldness to share Gods word.

  7. Ashley Gibson says:

    I agree with Debi. It is hard as modern women to hear any prohibition on what God has called us to do – we hate being told no! But God is our potter and we are the clay…he has given men and women different roles and I think that includes within the church. God doesn’t allow men the gift of child birth and I hope they are not resentful of that!
    Someone mentioned Beth Moore and all…I don’t think there is any prohibition on women teaching women, the opposite actually (Paul teaches that women should mentor women). But women teachers should be very careful that their leadership desires do not dishonor or “shame” God but their disobedience.
    When we stand before God at judgement it won’t matter how we felt, or how uncool His teaching are, or how desperate we were to be “empowered” by modern standards. All that matters is if we obeyed and then we will “see clearly”.

    1. Shannon Davison says:

      Completely agree.

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