Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I do not want you to be unaware.
–1 Corinthians 12:1
On January 20, 1994, about 120 people gathered together for worship at a small church near the Toronto Airport. On this particular day, the pastor said, most of the worshipers fell to the ground, writhing in convulsions of laughter. That was the beginning of what became known as the Toronto Blessing. In the months that followed, the church nearly tripled in size. Six nights a week, hundreds or even thousands of people would gather for worship services filled with “holy laughter” and other so-called manifestations of the Holy Spirit. There were reports of people sobbing, shaking, and even roaring like lions. Worshipers were traveling to Toronto from all over the world; in fact, so many people were coming from England that direct flights from London to Toronto were sold out for days at a time.
If the church I pastor had a similar “visitation” from the Holy Spirit one Sunday morning while I was preaching, what would happen? What would I do if somebody started roaring like a lion or rolling down the aisle in laughter? I imagine I would continue my message until some diligent usher escorted the person out of the service, while all the time they would be protesting that we were quenching the work of the Holy Spirit of God.
That brings up a good point: How would we know we were not quenching the Holy Spirit’s work? How do we separate real manifestations of the Holy Spirit of God from counterfeit manifestations? Events like the Toronto Blessing still happen in churches across America today, and they were also happening two thousand years ago in the church at Corinth. And it was causing a great deal of confusion for the Corinthian Christians. So in 1 Corinthians 12, Paul addressed this controversial issue of spiritual gifts. How do we separate real spiritual gifts from counterfeit gifts?
In verse 1, Paul wrote, “Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I do not want you to be unaware.” That word translated as “unaware” is “agnoeo” in Greek. We get the word “agnostic” from it. Paul was saying the subject of spiritual gifts is not some secondary or tertiary issue; it is an important topic. No Christian should be ignorant or agnostic about the subject of spiritual gifts. Next to salvation, I believe the most important thing you as a Christian can understand is that God has imparted to you a unique gift for His service. This week, we are going to study the different kinds of spiritual gifts and how the Bible says we can use–and abuse–the unique desire and ability God has given to each of us.
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “You and Your Spiritual Gift” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2011.
Joe Maxwell, “Is Laughing for the Lord Holy?” Christianity Today, October 24, 1994, https://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/1994/october24/4tc078.html.
Scripture quotations taken from the (NASB®) New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved. www.lockman.org.