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What we desire and what we expect influence the manifestation of the gifts of the Spirit. We thought for years that we should sit back and wait to see what God would do, because First Corinthians 12:11 says the gifts operate as God wills. Yet First Corinthians 12:31 says, "But covet earnestly the best gifts..."

This is the same author, the same letter, written to the same church, in the same chapter. Two chapters later, First Corinthians 14:1 also says, "Follow after charity, and desire spiritual gifts..."

In First Corinthians 12:11, Paul says the gifts operate as God wills, but in these other verses he says to desire and covet them. Did Paul get confused part way through his writing?

No. These gifts operate as God wills, but Paul is telling the Church to desire and covet them. Why should we desire and covet them if we have nothing to do with it—if they only operate when God wants them to? Because God moves where He is desired and invited, and where people want Him to move.

A Wide Spectrum of Churches
As we have traveled through the years, we also have noticed that spiritually speaking there is a wide spectrum of churches.

There are churches where the minute you stand in the pulpit, the Spirit of God begins to move. There are churches where the Spirit of God moves fairly regularly. Then there are churches where the Spirit of God will move every now and then.

But then there are churches at the other end of the spectrum, where if the Spirit of God ever moved, the congregation would all run out of the church afraid!

What determines the move of the Spirit of God in these churches? Does God say, "I like this bunch over here, and I'm going to move all the time. But there's something about that bunch down there. I just don't like them?"

Is God a respecter of churches? No, churches are made up of people, and God is no respecter of persons. Does God change from church to church? No, He said, "I am the Lord, I change not" (Mal 3:6).

Does Jesus change from church to church? No, He's the same yesterday, today and forever (Heb. 13:8). Does the Holy Ghost change? No.

Who changes then?

There's only one group left. If God does not change, Jesus does not change, and the Holy Ghost does not change, then the Church is the one that has to change. The difference in these different kinds of churches is not the Father, Son, or Holy Ghost. The difference is the people and whether they are filled with lethargy or expectancy.

Some churches do not desire spiritual gifts. They do not even know they are for today, so the Holy Spirit never moves there.

Then there are churches that would like to have the gifts in manifestation every now and then, but there is not much desire among the people.

Then there are churches that want a move of God fairly regularly.

And finally there is the church where the people are hungry for a move of God.

In a spiritually hungry church, the gifts of the Spirit move at almost every service. Each service leaves a residue of expectancy, spiritual hunger, and anointing. The difference between these churches is in the desire of the people for the things of God.

There are meetings today in our country where hundreds of people are being healed and people say, "Look how God is using So-and-so."

God will always use people, but we need to learn to come together with such expectancy that a strong corporate anointing is produced. At times like that, it's not just the anointing on a person, but the corporate anointing that fills the place. Entire congregations can be changed, and miracles can occur en masse.

God is not looking for great ability; He is looking for cooperation. He is looking for people who desire to see Him move.

Source: Preparing For His Glory by Mark Brazee.
Excerpt permission granted by Faith Library Publications

Author Biography

Mark Brazee
Web site: Mark Brazee Ministries - DOMATA School of Missions
 
For more than 30 years, Pastors Mark and Janet Brazee have traveled throughout the world sharing the Word of God and the Spirit of God. Together they've shared the powerful truths of faith and healing in more than 50 nations.
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