Edify the Church
So it is with you. Since you are eager to have spiritual gifts, try to excel in gifts that build up the church.
—1 Corinthians: 14:12
Since we are spiritual beings and are born of the Spirit, we all should be eager to have spiritual gifts. Some of these gifts are described in the 12th chapter of First Corinthians. Although there are many different gifts, we are directed by the Holy Ghost to go after those that build up the Church. The word translated “build” is derived from the original Greek word oikodome, which means to build, to edify and to promote another’s growth. So the original intent of this scripture means that we are to go after the spiritual gifts that will edify and build up somebody else’s growth in Christ.
As I’ve traveled throughout the United States and abroad, I couldn’t begin to tell you how many times I’ve had pastors, ministers and people in the congregations come up to me after the service and say something like, “I really enjoyed your message. It’s exactly what I’ve been sensing in my spirit, but I didn’t have the words to express it.” In actuality, what they are saying is, “I’ve been treasuring this revelation. I’ve kept it to myself. I haven’t taken the time and discipline necessary to bring it out of my spirit into my soul.”
Many of these well-meaning Christians unknowingly exposed a flaw in themselves that is prevalent in the body of Christ. Within the Church, many of us have heard the anointed Word, which produces revelation. However, that’s not where we as Christians are to stop. We should try to excel in ministry and gifts that will help somebody else understand and grow up in their salvation. Once a new truth is revealed to us, we should spend time with the Holy Ghost and develop discipline to transform the revelation into words so we can help somebody else as well.
If we are to clarify and edify, then we need to be able to transfer the revealed truth from our spirits to our souls. It’s in the reasoning part of our intellect that we can translate the revelation into a medium that is capable of relaying the truth to others. In this world, we accomplish this with words. In the Church, we do this through the speaking gifts. It’s vital that we strive for these gifts that allow us to transmit the truth of God’s salvation.
The gifts classified as “speaking gifts” include the word of wisdom, the word of knowledge, prophecy and tongues when accompanied by interpretation. These gifts of the Holy Spirit help people understand the Word and the will of God. Sometimes these gifts are very specific in nature, but other times they are general. In addition to building the body of Christ and promoting the growth of others, these gifts produce either a confirmation or a point of decision for the listeners.
So be eager for spiritual gifts. It’s okay to pursue them, but be sure that you are going after the gifts that bring about the building and growth of the Church. It’s not the seeking of these gifts that God judges; He examines the motives of our hearts. Always remember that spiritual insight and revelation should be natural for a child of God, but that’s not a mark of maturity. We show ourselves to be mature when we seek the gifts that help those around us, build others and edify the Church.
1 Corinthians 14:1-17
Now I commit you to God and to the word
of his grace, which can build you up and give
you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified.
Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are
all teachers? Do all work miracles? Do all have
gifts of healing? Do all speak in tongues? Do
all interpret? But eagerly desire the greater
—1 Corinthians 12:29-31
Therefore encourage one another and build
each other up, just as in fact you are doing.
—1 Thessalonians 5:11