Tomorrow morning, millions of children will race to their Christmas trees to rip open boxes of surprises that they’ve been dreaming about for months. While we often complain about the American materialism that permeates this holiday, I want to use the analogy in a positive way this year.
Do you long for gifts of the Holy Spirit like a child longs for Christmas morning? Did you know that the Bible tells us to actually lust after spiritual gifts? It certainly does! That’s the original Greek meaning behind Paul’s words:
1 Corinthians 14:1 – Follow the way of love and eagerly desire gifts of the Spirit, especially prophecy. (NIV)
Those words “eagerly desire” literally mean to “long for” or even to “lust after.” Spiritual gifts are the one thing other than God Himself that the Scripture tells us to crave. Why? Because Spiritual Gifts technically are God Himself!
Jesus said in John 16:14 that the Holy Spirit takes from what belongs to Him and makes it known to us. And in First Corinthians 12:12-31, Paul teaches that as we practice gifts of the Holy Spirit, we are actually being Christ’s Body. We should therefore desire spiritual gifts because they take the spiritual reality of our position in Christ and turn it into a physical reality, making Him known in this world.
So as you consider the classic Christmas images of children half-burried in wrapping paper with toys strewn about the room, examine your own heart. Do you crave spiritual gifts like a child longs for Christmas morning?
The Giver of spiritual gifts loves to lavish blessing on His kids! I’ve heard people say that God is not like Santa Claus, giving you whatever you want. This is true in part, but I wouldn’t want that statement to distract us from seeing Him as a passionate Giver of gifts! Our job is to desire spiritual gifts like little children, and His job is to decide what to give and how to give it. In reference to spiritual gifts, Paul says this:
1 Corinthians 12:11 – All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines. (NIV)
This Christmas, make it a point to ask God for spiritual gifts!