A More Excellent Way – Love

1st Corinthians 13:1

“Though I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity (love), I am become as sounding brass or a tinkling cymbal.”

To me, one of the most fascinating people in the Bible is the Apostle Paul who wrote most of the books in the New Testament.

Infact I was once so fascinated about the contents of Paul’s epistles that I once challenged myself to memorize some of the most powerful, thought-provoking verses he ever wrote. Paul’s words give us the confidence and increases our faith to face spiritual battles.

If someone tells you they can show you a more excellent way, then we must marvel at the level of wisdom they’ve acquired on the topic .. if I could teach you a more excellent way to prosper, to achieve generational wealth, to travel the world, to make great tasty pizza, perhaps you’ll consider me an authority in that subject?

So then when Paul starts his message concerning spiritual gifts in Chapter 12 of 1st Corinthians, we can confidently conclude he knew what he was talking about.

Spiritual Gifts are simply gifts given by the Holy Spirit to empower, to enrich, to edify and to set free Christians in the church (the body of Christ) and to help the human race in general – all for the purpose of pulling the world closer to God through Jesus Christ.

The Holy Spirit Himself, endows these gifts to a member or group of members in the church. To whom much is Given, much is Required. Spiritual Gifts are no exception as they are given to serve very specific purposes.

According to Paul, the basis for the obtainment of these sacred gifts is Love. I find it fascinating that every gift Paul talked about was displayed by Christ Himself when he walked the face of the Earth. After Christ, I am yet to read of any one person who has displayed all 9 of the Gifts of the Holy Spirit which Paul mentioned in 1st Corinthians 12.

A simple explanation is this; Christ is the head of the Church and the anointing flows from the head down to the parts of the body.

Just as oil flows down from the head when one is anointed, in like manner, the gifts of the Holy Spirit trickles down like oil to the members attached to the body .. according to the purpose for which it’s bestowed upon them.

So therefore Christ, is the glory & fullness of the Grace of God on the Church.
What really are the Gifts of the Holy Spirit? What is the big deal about these gifts and most importantly, why is Paul talking about a More EXCELLENT Way to obtain them?

The truth is Christianity back then was different. Christians burned with the passion to find themselves worthy of being used by the HolySpirit. Possibly, some faked it.

Others simply envied those who had them. Early Christians also knew that without these gifts or a display of these gifts amongst the members of the body of Christ, the church will look powerless.

Christianity is not for wimps! It literally is a display of God’s Power and Love In His Quest to draw the world closer to Himself. So without signs and wonders, how will the world know He sent us with the mandate we bear? Afterall it is the seal of the Master that lends credibility to a servants’ letter.

So then if we must tell the world God sent His son and has mandated us to tell them about His son, we must be able to show them we are authentic and from the one true God. We have a seal of authenticity that lends credibility to our message.

The Holy Spirit is the seal of each believer. And His Gifts are the manifestation of His divine presence. Without further delay and in no particular order, the gifts of the HolySpirit are these:
1. The gift of Faith
2. The gift of diverse tongues
3. The gift of interpretation of tongues
4. The word of Wisdom
5. The word of Knowledge
6. The gift of Prophecy
7. The gift of Discernment
8. The working of Miracles
9. The gift of Healing

Time will not permit me to talk about each of these gifts but best believe, each is unique and powerful, it will be nearly impossible to forget an event that led to an interaction with its bearer.

As we grow and mature in the fullness of the stature of Christ, I believe each and every Christian is endowed with a Gift from the Holy Spirit Himself.. provided the underlying intention of that person’s character is motivated by LOVE.

There are more gifts but these are the 9 Paul originally spoke about. And no these gifts are not specifically reserved for Pastor’s and Bishops. You too can be mightily used by God to bless someone else according to the measure of grace meted out to you.

Out of all the 9 gifts the one I personally love and care for the most; is the Gift of the “Word of Knowledge”. The word of knowledge is an oratory gift that reveals to its bearer, knowledge and understanding about certain truths or events that have happened to the one being ministered to, so that the latter may be blessed according to the foundation of the word and will of God.

It’s a gift quite similar to prophecy and often misunderstood. I believe the foundation for this gift is a hunger for the word of God which cause one to commit to memory, much of the scriptures.

Those who possess this gift also have a deep understanding of the word of God. Each time I encounter this gift I am wow’ed all over again.

But no matter how much it “wows” me, I may not qualify to receive this gift if “Love” and a genuine “longing” to help people and advance the Kingdom of God is not my primary motive.

In plain words, I should love my neighbor as myself and I must love the Lord my God, with all my heart, soul and might. Love; the more excellent prerequisite, should be interwoven into the very fabric of our beings.

We must grow above worldly pettiness and embrace the highway of Love. It seems tough I admit. But if it were not realistically achievable, we won’t read of Apostles who possessed a variation of these Gifts or another.

Love makes the world go round and we are all God’s children. He wants to heal someone in Kenya, a word of wisdom can instruct a confused mind in China and somewhere in Europe a family needs a Miracle to survive the day. Charity (genuine love) never fails.

It provides an opportunity so the gift may flow through you to become a blessing to someone else.

The Holy Spirit needs to trust that we’ll give Him a chance to operate through us, and touch the lives of others who may need to hear a word or feel the strengthening hand of God.

If we have no love, how will we allow the gift flow through us into others? When we don’t love the Lord our God above ourselves, how will we sacrifice time and resources yielding to the Holy Spirit so that He may use us to touch a stranger?

How important is Love in the Grand Scheme of Things? Extremely Important. It’s the excellent way Paul talks about. Read the entire chapter of 1st Corinthians 13 and commit to heart, the attributes of love.

Try to observe each one. You’ll understand why Love is a beautiful thing and why it’s greater than Faith or Hope. It’s the key to enter into the secret place of the Most High; where spiritual gifts are kept to equip you to properly do the work of an Evangelist.

If you’ve desired one of these gifts for the longest, perhaps it’s time to embrace the mind of Christ.. a mind that loves his enemies and does good to those who hate him/her, a mind that forgives all wrong doing within a split second … a mind filled with Love.