Why should we desire Spiritual Gifts?

Each Christian is given spiritual gifts according to the Lord’s choice. Spiritual gifts are given for the edification of the body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:7, 14:12).

The exact timing of the giving of these gifts is not specifically mentioned. Most assume that spiritual gifts are given at the time of spiritual birth (the moment of salvation).

However, there are some verses that may indicate God gives spiritual gifts later as well. Both 1 Timothy 4:14 and 2 Timothy 1:6 refer to a gift that Timothy had received at the time of his ordination “by prophecy.”

This likely indicates that one of the elders at Timothy’s ordination spoke about a spiritual gift that Timothy would have to enable his future ministry.

Having said this, it still remains that these gifts are distributed according to God’s choosing, not our own. If every Corinthian strongly desired a particular gift, such as prophesying, God would not give everyone that gift simply because they strongly desired it. If He did, then who would serve in all of the other functions of the body of Christ?

The most fundamental reason we should desire these gifts is that the Bible commands us to: “earnestly desire the spiritual gifts.” Paul says this in the same sentence he says, “pursue love” (1 Corinthians 14:1). Both are Holy Spirit-inspired imperatives.

Desire all the spiritual gifts because you desire God himself. “To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good” (1 Corinthians 12:7).

Desire all the spiritual gifts because you need him to overcome the satanic fear that dwells in your heart (2 Timothy 1:6–7). As Sam Storms writes, “My opposition to spiritual gifts was also energized by fear . . . [like] the fear of what might occur were I fully to relinquish control of my life and mind and emotions to the Holy Spirit” (The Beginner’s Guide to Spiritual Gifts, 10).

Desire all the spiritual gifts, knowing that discernment is needed. “Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise prophecies, but test everything; hold fast what is good” (1 Thessalonians 5:19–20). “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God” (1 John 4:1; cf. 1 Corinthians 14:29–32).

Therefore, desire all the spiritual gifts, knowing that good things can be twisted and corrupted. But, as Storms says, “abuse is no excuse for disuse”