Strive to excel – but for what purpose?

An excerpt from my devotional journey this morning:

Scripture: “So it is with you. Since you are eager for gifts of the Spirit, try to excel in those that build up the church. ” 1 Corinthians 14:12

Observation: Spiritual gifts are not designed to show off our spirituality but to build up others. But building up others does not come automatically. We must exert initiative in using and developing those gifts. Paul has said that we do not determine which gifts we possess; this is the Spirit’s decision (1 Cor 12:7-11). But we can choose which ones we will abound in, which ones we will seek to develop and exercise on a frequent basis. To the Corinthians, Paul says that they should seek to develop those gifts which result in the church being built up, and he is promoting prophecy over against tongues. Timothy is told “to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands. ” 2 Timothy 1:6.

Application: The command to strive to excel in a particular gift encourages us to seek further training and to develop our skill and mastery of that gift through whatever other means God provides (coaching, practice, personal reflection and course corrections). But in ministry, we do not seek to excel simply for the sake of personal development and the satisfaction of mastering a particular skill. Our striving for excellence must be for the sake of the building up of Christ’s body, to increase our ability to strengthen, encourage and comfort (1 Cor. 14:3)http://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=suw-20&o=1&p=8&l=bpl&asins=076420579X&fc1=000000&IS2=1&lt1=_blank&m=amazon&lc1=0000FF&bc1=000000&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifr

Prayer: May I never tire of seeking to excel in the gifts that God has given me. May I never grow content with just doing enough to get by. But Lord, help me also to discern the reason for why I want to excel. May my desire for excellence be motivated by my desire to build up others, and not to boast about my own personal mastery.

The S.O.A.P. pattern for journalling comes from the book, “The Divine Mentor” by Wayne Cordeiro.
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