Normally when we hear the word "covet" we immediately think of the tenth commandment which states:
Exo 20:17 Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour's.
However there is a command given in the New Testament that is seldom taught on in today's modern pulpits. It comes at the end of a teaching Paul gave to the Corinthian church regarding what is commonly called "The Gifts Of The Spirit."
1Co 12:31 But covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet shew I unto you a more excellent way.
Yes, Paul is about to introduce the "more excellent way" which is to flow in the love of God as described in the next chapter of 1st Corinthians, but that does not diminish the command given in the first half of verse 31 to … "covet earnestly the best gifts." What are these gifts? Paul lists them in chapter 12 as being: the word of wisdom, the word of knowledge, the gift of faith, the gifts of healing, the working of miracles, prophecy, discerning of spirits, divers kinds of tongues, and the interpretation of tongues.
Why do we not see more of the manifestation of these gifts in modern church services? I am convinced that the primary reason we do not see more of them is because they are seldom taught about from the pulpits. Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God. [Rom 10:17] You cannot have faith for something that you do not know exists in God's Word. Said another way, you cannot have faith beyond your actual knowledge of the Word of God. If pastors and teachers never teach about the gifts of the Spirit, then the people will not have faith for them to operate in their lives.
I thank God that many years ago the young man that led Sue and I to the Lord was not ignorant concerning the gifts of the Spirit. He taught us what he knew about them. Then Sue and I sought out more teaching on the subject. We wanted God's saving, healing, and delivering power to be able to flow through us to a lost world. We "coveted earnestly" the gifts, even while we were pursuing "the more excellent way" of walking in the love of God. Sure enough, it wasn't long until we began experiencing various gifts of the Spirit in our lives.
It is so exciting when the gifts of the Spirit begin manifesting. Things begin happening that are "supernatural," beyond your natural ability to help people. Sue and I have been doing a lot of traveling ministry this year. So far we have ministered in Washington State, Ohio, Illinois, and Florida. We have seen the gifts of the Spirit operate on every trip. Not only have we seen people saved, filled with the Holy Spirit, and healed but we have also seen various manifestations of the gifts. Let me share just one example with you.
In Florida a lady asked for prayer for the healing of acid reflux. It was something she had to deal with often and she wanted permanent relief. We prayed and laid hands on her for healing. She fell down under the power of God and as we were about to move on to the next person in line, a "word of knowledge" came to me and I said to her, "This is not just a simple healing. It has something to do with your calling in the kingdom of God. You will soon be on foreign soil where you will have to eat whatever is set before you. You will never have to fear acid reflux again. Do not be afraid to eat whatever the people prepare for you." (Of course you say all of these things by faith, trusting that you are truly hearing the mind of Christ as delivered by the Holy Spirit. This takes practice, but with experience, great confidence and trust is developed between you and the Holy Spirit to flow in these gifts.)
After the service we found out that she had only recently (within a few months) married a man who has been making regular evangelistic trips to Peru for the past 12 years … and she soon will be going with him! (We had absolutely no way of knowing that in the natural.) Her husband showed us pictures of him baptizing converts in the Amazon River and eating meals prepared by the natives in thatched huts. No wonder she needed to be healed of acid reflux since she will be going with him from now on. It is so exciting to flow with the Holy Spirit in these gifts.
I want to encourage you to begin expecting the gifts of the Spirit to begin flowing in your life. Read about them in 1st Corinthians chapter 12. Notice these are "gifts." They cannot be earned. They don't come by maturity … they are simply … gifts. The only qualification is that you be born again. But even these gifts require faith to be loosed into the earth. The Holy Spirit can give words of knowledge till the cows come home but they will never be useful unless somebody is willing to "speak them" when they come. That is where faith is required. It takes some courage to be willing to be thought of as a fool when you speak a word of wisdom or a word of knowledge, or to flow in any other gifts of the Spirit. But the rewards are so wonderful when you see the power of our supernatural God manifesting change in this natural world. Hallelujah! I'm getting excited all over again. Have faith for God to use you in the gifts of the Spirit.
Sue and I love you and appreciate you. We thank God for your generous and giving heart. God bless you!
Your friend and co-laborer,
Gary Carpenter Ministries|
© 1996 - 2012 All Rights Reserved.
P.O. Box 9667, Tulsa, OK 74157