“And whatever things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive.”
– Matthew 21:22 NKJV
Growing up, we all probably experienced hosting special guests at home. Usually, our parents would announce the intended visit, and then from that moment until the guests arrive, an emergency “clean-up’’ exercise is declared. Brooms and mops extend to areas that may not have been touched in years, children are dressed up in their Sunday best, and everyone is generally on their best behavior.
In this scenario, we see expectation, as well as behind-the-scenes preparations in anticipation of the arrival of the special guests. We see a level of honour and receptiveness. This month, you have learnt that spiritual gifts are important for believers and the Church. You have also been taught that these gifts are for everyone, and now you may be wondering, “How can I receive them?”
The above scenario is a perfect analogy. The same expectation, preparedness, honour, and receptiveness also applies to receiving spiritual gifts. In 1 Corinthians 14:1, the Bible commands us to “earnestly desire spiritual gifts,” and so, this is the first step to take.
There are things to do when you really want something. You actively pursue it, you spend time learning and gathering information about it, you basically keep it top of mind. Your desire ought to lead to increased devotions. This means that you should take prayer even more seriously. Prayer will help to align your priorities and ensure that you are not desiring the gifts for selfish reasons.
You must also study your Bible avidly in order to grow in your knowledge of God and become aware of all the possibilities by His Spirit. Furthermore, reading real accounts of these gifts in operation will not only strengthen your convictions about the supernatural, but also kindle your faith and fuel your desire. Listen to sermons on the topic and get close to people who are functioning in the gift(s) you desire.
Following that, the place of expectation and honour cannot be overemphasised. Just as you would a special guest, you must be ready to receive. You must be fully convinced that these gifts exist, and that God is willing to grant your desire for them.
Believe that God can use you, and also see yourself functioning in these gifts. Even as you envision and expect spiritual gifts, learn to honour the gifts in the lives of others. Celebrate the power of the Holy
Ghost at work through them. Rid your heart of all jealousy and bitterness. See them as people God is using—your brethren in Christ, not your competition. Be encouraged and motivated, not intimidated, by their expression of the gifts.
Finally, remember that the gifts flow in service, so pursue love and seek to meet a need. God wants to use you to bless others; don’t let doubt and fear stand in the way. Step out of the boat today.
Bible Reading Plan: Numbers 22-23