1 Corinthians 12: Does the Holy Spirit just short circuit the mind?

1 Corinthians 12: Does the Holy Spirit just short circuit the mind? May 24, 2019

Some people say that the Gifts are merely supernatural.  That means that the Holy Spirit just short circuits the mind and takes over somehow.  Now this one is dangerous, because none of us feel like we’re good enough to be used by the Holy Spirit, if we think it’s just supernatural.  We’re waiting on some kind of divine moment and we never step into the Gifts.

Do we lose control as we operate in the Gifts of the Spirit?  This question was asked at seminary.  Also, what is it like for the Holy Spirit to actually move?[1]


Does the Spirit short circuit the mind?

And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all.  (1 Corinthians 12.6, KJV)

i. The Gifts of the Spirit are for everybody

The phrase “all in all” means all of the Gifts in all of us.  All of the gifts are to be manifested in all of God’s people.

But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit with all: (verse 7)

Everybody, everyone of us, participates in the Gifts of the Spirit for everyone’s good, to profit the Body.

People may say they’re Pentecostal and that they speak in tongues in their own prayer closet.

I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that.

But when it comes to corporate worship, they may also say, “That’s just not me.  I’m just not meant to participate in the Gifts of the Spirit.  That’s not my personality.  I’ve never done that before.”

I would take issue with that.  “Show me in the Bible where you’re not supposed to participate.  There is no reason why you can’t participate actively in the Gifts of the Spirit.”

ii. We participate in the Gifts

Some say the Gifts are all natural.  In other words, we explain them away like a teacher having the Gift of Teaching, or maybe a doctor who has the Gift of Healing.  We don’t attribute much to the Lord, when we try to explain it away like that.

Some people say that the Gifts are merely supernatural.  That means that the Holy Spirit just short circuits the mind and takes over somehow.  Now this one is dangerous, because none of us feel like we’re good enough to be used by the Holy Spirit, if we think it’s just supernatural.  We’re waiting on some kind of divine moment and we never step into the Gifts.

Neither one of these views are accurate.

We participate in the Gifts.  David Lim writes:

“The gifts are incarnational [that means they’re part of who I am].  That is to say, God works through humans.  Believers submit their minds, hearts, souls, and strength to God.  They consciously, willingly surrender their all to Him.  The Spirit supernaturally enables them to minister beyond their abilities, at the same time expressing each gift through their life experience, character, personality, and vocabulary.”[2] (italics mine)

Think about the way the Bible is written, all the different authors.  God used their personalities to write the Bible, didn’t He?  They didn’t just check-out while God wrote through their hand.  I don’t know how that process worked, but we see glimpses of who the prophets were.  We see glimpses of who Moses was in the first 5 books of the Bible that are attributed to him.  Or consider the Gospel writers produced the same message, but with very different agendas and purposes.

The Holy Spirit works through us in the same way.

iii. The Gifts in use

But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as He will.  (verse 11)

Paul says that the Spirit determines when, where, and who is involved in the Gifts.  Our relationship with the Holy Spirit can be so close that we know His personality.  Here is Scriptural proof that the Holy Spirit is a person and has a personality.  He determines how the Gifts are used, and who’s going to use them.  This “strongly implies his continually creative personality.”[3]

When we watch the Holy Spirit work . . .

iv. What follows is extemporaneous exhortation

Has anyone ever been up here [on the platform], or been way back there [with a view of the whole crowd] and seen it happen?  Does anybody else know what I’m talking about?

When you begin to watch how the Holy Spirit moves through a congregation . . . When you see Him walking the aisles . . . And you see this one over here begin to weep . . . That one over there just gets out of their seat and kneels down in the aisle . . . And you see that one back there raise both hands and throw their head back in praise to God . . . The Holy Spirit begins to move through them like waves . . . waves, again and again . . . You begin to sense the Presence of God and you know that He’s real . . . And you know He has a purpose!

He does have a personality, but He’s not the kind of God that comes along and forces you like the pagan gods of the ancient religions.  The demonic spirits the pagans worshipped forced them to serve them out of fear.

The Holy Spirit is the kind of God that comes along and gently woos, gently whispers, week after week, drawing us to Him.

And we have to give in.

He’s never going to come back to your seat and make you give a Tongues and Interpretation if you don’t want to do it.  Now you may be sitting there with your arms crossed, and you’re thinking “Well I might give a tongues and interpretation if He moves me one day.”

“Guess what?  You’re going to spend a lot of time sitting there with your arms crossed.”  He’s a gentleman.  We have to understand how He operates and determines the use of the Gifts.

v. Covet earnestly

But covet earnestly the best gifts: [This isn’t just a reference to some of the Apostles and Prophets, things that are mentioned earlier in the chapter.  This is pointing back to the Gifts of the Spirit in the worship service.] and yet I shew unto you a more excellent way.  (verse 31)

We know that way to be love, but I want to concentrate on the word covetThou shalt not covet (Exodus 20.17).  But Paul is telling us “Thou shall covet.”  What shall we covet?  We shall covet the best gifts.

Do we covet them or even want to participate in the worship service in that way?  Could God use us to deliver a word for somebody who’s hurting and crying down around the altars, with loss of hope?  What if we can speak into people’s lives who are going through crisis?  Do we want to covet the best Gifts?

This is a mindset that takes us a little while to understand as we grow up spiritually.  I don’t necessarily come to church to get ministered to.  I come to church to minister.  Before I was a preacher, I started thinking this way.  I understood that God may just want to use me for somebody else.  He may not answer my question today, but He could use me to answer somebody else’s question.  If I’m coming to Him selfishly all the time, with what I need or what I think I need, I may miss the opportunity to be used by Him.

Are we willing to participate when we come to church?  Do we covet?  Do we desire with a strong desire, for the best Gifts?

vi. The best Gifts

The best Gifts refer to whatever Gifts are most needed and edifying at the time.  It’s not about classifying ourselves.

“I have the Gift of Prophecy, brother!”

“I’ve got the Gift of Speaking in Tongues!”

“I have the Gift of Interpretation!”

“I’ve got the Gift of Miracles or Faith!”

“That’s just my Gift!”

We don’t wear those Gifts like a badge.  He uses all in all (verse 6).  So when we come before Him in a worship service, we’re longing for whatever Gift is needed.  That’s the best Gift.  Then we can simply step into whatever gifting or function is needed.


notes:

[1] Pastor Jared V. Ingle, “Spirit-Filled Community Series: The Gifts of the Spirit,” First Pentecostal Church of God: Sunday Morning Worship, Flatwoods, KY.

[2] David Lim, “Spiritual Gifts,” in Systematic Theology, ed. Stanley M. Horton (Springfield, MO: Logion Press, 2002), 462.

[3] Ibid., 468.

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