1Cor 14:12: “So it is with you. Since you are eager to have spiritual gifts, try to excel in gifts that build up the church.”
In those days there were some in the Corinthian church who valued certain gifts over others. These people would say that since they possessed the gift of speaking in tongues that they were somehow more special or more important than those who displayed other gifts. This was the essence of this chapter. The gift of tongues is a spiritual gift from God mentioned in the Bible. Moreover, like today many over emphasize the importance of one gift over another. According to this scripture, not everyone in the Corinthian congregation possessed this spiritual gift. Paul told the congregation that an over emphasis on one gift (tongues) was wrong. In fact, Paul told the church to pursue Love and desire spiritual gifts. However, He told the church that it is much better to desire the gifts that build the church.
We are part of a body. We all have a role to play in each others spiritual walk. When we are bogged down in petty arguments we do not do any good for the church or outsiders. We make fools of ourselves when we argue over such things. The argument then was over the importance of the people who spoke in other tongues. There was this feeling that those who spoke with this language were more important then those with other gifts. That was absurd. Today, we have different arguments in our church, yet the same spirit prevails; the spirit of Pride. We are sometimes missing the entire point that Paul was making. IT IS NOT ABOUT US. We are in the business of building the church up. We are in the business of building each other up. You have an opinion about the Spiritual gift of tongues in the church, and so do I. However, will it edify the church to engage in this debate? Arguments that lead to strife and division that fail to build up the church and each other would be something that we as Christ-followers need to avoid.
Give your opinion when someone asks for it. However, when you do, remember you are called to build the church up not divide it. Issues that are clearly heretical need to be exposed and removed from our churches. However, personal preferences should never be placed before the fellowship of the brethren. We need to remember that pride was a stumbling block in Corinth, and Pride is a stumbling block today.
Application – Spiritual gifts are an important aspect of building up the church.
Challenge – Do not get caught up in senseless debates that get nowhere; remember it is not about us.
Old Testament: Proverbs 7-8 New Testament I Cor. 14:21-40