Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? Do all possess gifts of healing? Do all speak in tongues? Do all interpret? But strive for the greater gifts. And I will show you a still more excellent way. If I speak in the tongues of mortals and of angels, but do not have love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give away all my possessions, and if I hand over my body so that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing. (1 Corinthians 12:29-13:3)
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In 2014, God asked me to take time being single, getting to know Him more and coming to accept who He says I am. During that time, I fell in love with the Lord and His character more than ever before and I was faced with the truth that above all else, I am loved and He calls me daughter.
Since then, the Lord has spoken and fulfilled promises in mighty ways and revealed visions of what He has called me to do here on earth. Now in 2017, I am married to the love of my life and have been given the opportunity to lead worship with my church. But somewhere in the midst of the revelation and growth, and walking in "my calling," I've found myself consumed in maintaining the gifts God has given me versus holding on to the ultimate truth that He first showed me.
1 Corinthians 12 ends with Paul explaining that we all have different gifts, stories, callings, purposes (etc.), and they are NOT created equal. He tells us that we should desire the most helpful gifts, but then he says "let me show you a way of life that is best of all." That statement is directly followed by the infamous 1 Corinthians 13, where he reminds us that we are nothing without love.
Isn't it funny how Paul starts off telling us that we aren't created equal, and there will always be someone better than us. But instead of pressing us to make our lives about building those gifts or desiring after what appear as the strongest gifts, he challenges us to live a better way of life. A life of unity, where we first receive God's love, so that we can pour it back out to others.
I am learning that in marriage and worship ministry, we ARE one, just like Jesus calls the church to be. When we function as one, then there can be no comparison, no competition (except the healthy kind, of course), no room for jealousy, and definitely no room to make it all about ourselves.
So often in the world and the church we place emphasis on "finding ourselves" or finding our "individual calling," gift or purpose. Although I truly believe in all the gifts of the Spirit and I believe that each person does have a specific way in which God wants to move through them....what if we've been measuring it all wrong? What if we've placed so much weight on the individual that we've actually taken on a self-first mindset?
I've found myself nurturing thoughts like: "I" need to figure out what God is calling "me" to do (in marriage, worship, or you fill in the blank). "I" should be walking in "my" calling by now. Why do they have that when "I" am called to do this. God, why would you give me a promise/vision, but not allow "me" to have it yet?
This type of thinking takes God's creation and focuses more on the gift as the purpose versus the gift that was designed to overflow from the purpose. What if our grand purpose is to simply be loved by God and to share His love with others? What would it look like if the gifts God's given us overflowed from a mindset of unity?
Would we experience freedom as we let go of the pressure to earn/achieve fulfillment through a gift, that can only truly be experienced in His love? Would we think less about benefiting ourselves, and more about how we can use what God's given us to bless others?
A wise Pastor of mine once said that God is in the business of bringing people together. The enemy will fan our self-first desires to fuel division in our homes, marriages, families, friendships, and churches. If we take on the mindset that we are in fact one body, we can then call out the self-focused lies and remain rooted in the truth of His love and the power that's found in the depth of who He is. We can walk in confidence in the gifts He's given us, but be set free as we do what we do - for one another, and with one another.
So family, let's scream at the top of our lungs in praise, let's rejoice in each other's triumphs, let's weep with those who weep, let's jump beyond, let's dance fearlessly, let's worship together, and let us remain united, loving as He loves.
written by: Desiree Barragan