12Because just as the body is one but has many parts, and all the body’s parts are one body, so it is with Christ. 13For you were all baptized by one Spirit into one body, whether you were Jews or gentiles, slaves or free before, and all of you have drunk of one Spirit. 1 Corinthians 12:12-13 (TFBV)
All of us have wondered from time to time just how it is we are to identify the work of the Holy Spirit. How are we to know who is following God and who is not? How do we make a choice? There are many tests, but the key element throughout is to identify the working of the Holy Spirit.
In order to do so, we have to listen. If we listen, the Holy Spirit will tell us what our gifts are, and what gifts are available in our congregation, Sunday School class, or small group. If we listen, the Holy Spirit will tell us how to effectively use those gifts to perform the various functions and fill the various offices of the church.
The key to it all is listening!
Most of us were taught the use of a prism in science classes. You let white light pass through a prism, and it splits into various colors. Imagine the Holy Spirit as a reverse prism. Instead of splitting the light into various colors that separate and go their own way, he takes various colored beams and brings them together into a single source of light.
We are the various colored beams. If we will listen to the Holy Spirit, he will bring us together in just the right way to produce the single beam of God’s light. That single beam can be called effective ministry.
Now you may wonder what this illustration has to do with identifying the work of the Holy Spirit. Here it is. Paul’s key way of identifying the work of the Holy Spirit in 1 Corinthians 12 was the way in which the One Holy Spirit brings all of the diverse elements of the body together to work as one in ministry.
And the subject doesn’t change in chapter 13. The great love chapter simply shows us what people will be like when they have been brought into unity under the one Spirit. When the Holy Spirit speaks, he speaks unity.
The Holy Spirit is speaking . . . LISTEN!!!!
(This devotion is adapted from my forthcoming book Identifying Your Gifts and Service â€“ Small Group Edition. — HN)