As you read over today’s text remember what we have learned in chapter 13 about the supremacy and importance of love. Everything we do should be motivated by love. Paul’s whole point in chapter fourteen is that we must be ruled by love if we are to exercise spiritual gifts. Many churches abuse spiritual gifts because they miss the Apostle Paul’s guidelines in chapters 12 through 14. The overall message is, “Only do that which is loving and edifying for the church”. When using our spiritual gifts, the questions we should ask are: Is this the right time to use my gift? Is this loving and edifying to the church in general? Who will benefit from the use of my spiritual gift if I use my gift right here, right now? Is this self-promoting?
“Go after a life of love as if your life depended on it–because it does. Give yourselves to the gifts God gives you. Most of all, try to proclaim his truth. If you praise him in the private language of tongues, God understands you but no one else does, for you are sharing intimacies just between you and him. But when you proclaim his truth in everyday speech, you’re letting others in on the truth so that they can grow and be strong and experience his presence with you. The one who prays using a private “prayer language” certainly gets a lot out of it, but proclaiming God’s truth to the church in its common language brings the whole church into growth and strength. I want all of you to develop intimacies with God in prayer, but please don’t stop with that. Go on and proclaim his clear truth to others. It’s more important that everyone have access to the knowledge and love of God in language everyone understands than that you go off and cultivate God’s presence in a mysterious prayer language–unless, of course, there is someone who can interpret what you are saying for the benefit of all.” …“I’m grateful to God for the gift of praying in tongues that he gives us for praising him, which leads to wonderful intimacies we enjoy with him. I enter into this as much or more than any of you. But when I’m in a church assembled for worship, I’d rather say five words that everyone can understand and learn from than say ten thousand that sound to others like gibberish.” 1 Corinthians 14:1-5 &18- 19, Message.
Be open to receiving every spiritual gift God has for you. But, also be open to the direction of scripture in your use of those gifts.