Daily posts to help you connect with God
and keep yourself travelling in the right orbit
ORBIT | WEEK ELEVEN
ORBIT – DAY SIXTY ONE
Hello and welcome to another edition of Orbit, the daily devotional from the youth team at St Mary’s Reigate. Whether you’ve been with us from the start, or you’re just joining us now, you’re very welcome! Hopefully this will help you to spend a few minutes with God each day – and either get it off to a good start or a sound conclusion.
BIBLE READING – 1 Corinthians 14: 1-5
Follow the way of love and eagerly desire gifts of the Spirit, especially prophecy. For anyone who speaks in a tongue does not speak to people but to God. Indeed, no one understands them; they utter mysteries by the Spirit. But the one who prophesies speaks to people for their strengthening, encouraging and comfort. Anyone who speaks in a tongue edifies themselves, but the one who prophesies edifies the church. I would like every one of you to speak in tongues, but I would rather have you prophesy. The one who prophesies is greater than the one who speaks in tongues, unless someone interprets, so that the church may be edified.
For a few days now on Orbit we’ve been looking at Paul’s twin message to the church at Corinth, about the priority of love, and the importance of the spiritual gifts. It’s really interesting, I think, that he chooses to weave these two seemingly unrelated topics together; chapter 12 is about spiritual gifts, chapter 13 about love, and now chapter 14 sees Paul back on the subject of the gifts. Look a little closer though, and you’ll notice that both themes run all the way through all three chapters.
Why is this? Why do you think Paul takes two subjects that seem to be very different, and squishes them together in this way? Perhaps the most obvious explanation is that they’re not very different at all, and actually that when we talk about the Holy Spirit, we cannot fail to end up thinking about love. The Spirit gives us gifts, but their purpose is always to encourage, and build up other people within the church. They are given for the purpose of loving one another. You don’t see people, filled with the Spirit, running around condemning people with prophetic words – and indeed if someone does behave like that, it’s a sure-fire clue that they’re not operating in the power of the Holy Spirit at all. You don’t hear people cursing each other in tongues, as if they’re in a senior year at Hogwarts. The gifts of the Spirit are all about love.
That’s why arguably the most important words in this whole passage are in the opening phrase: “follow the way of love and eagerly desire the gifts of the Spirit.” We don’t desire the gifts so that we can possess some higher level of spirituality and holiness; we desire them in order that we can better follow and act in God’s way of love.
Paul is particularly keen that we attempt to develop the gift of prophecy – that is, asking God for encouragement to share with our brothers and sisters in the church family. I wonder how you feel when you hear that word “prophecy” – does that feel instinctively like something that is out of reach, or a supernatural idea that could nevertheless be part of your natural life? I think the word needs to be demystified a bit; it doesn’t have to mean that God reveals a huge vision about the future to us. It could just be a simple word or two that God wants us to share with someone else.
The Bible says that prophecy is something that we should “eagerly desire”. Perhaps we need to get over our natural fear of the unknown, and try to embrace it more. After all – it’s only another way in which we can follow Jesus’ command to love one another.
You might want to join me in praying this prayer.
Lord God, I thank you for your Holy Spirit, and for how it inspires us to follow your way of love. I pray that you would give me encouraging words from you for other people, in order that they might be built up, and know your love for themselves. Amen
There’s now a chance for you to pray, or listen to God, or simply be still for a few moments.
Each day we will provide you with a simple challenge; something to do which helps you put this little thought into action. Here’s today’s challenge:
You know what’s coming, don’t you? Take a pen and paper, and write the names of three Christian friends at the top. Pray, asking God to give you a prophetic word for each of them. Now, starting with the first person, simply start writing what comes into your head. Do the same with the second and third person. Finally, read back what you’ve written, and see whether there is anything there that you would like to share with the people whose names are at the top of your page. Remember, prophetic words are always encouraging, so do not share anything which doesn’t fit that description. Don’t worry at all if you feel like what you’ve written isn’t worth sharing, or isn’t right to share; prophecy is a gift, but it is also a bit like a muscle which needs to be developed over time.
If you want to get in touch, you can always email email@example.com, or message us on Instagram – we’re @stmarys_satellites. Let us know what you think of this daily reflection – please – we’d love your feedback.
We’ll be back with another edition of Orbit tomorrow. Thanks for taking part today!