As I think about the problems of pride and jealousy within the church because of spiritual gifts, I think a lot of it comes down to the fact that we forget our lives, as Rick Warren once put it, is not about us. We were not created to live for our own purposes and our own glory. Rather we were created for God’s purposes and God’s glory.
We see this in verses 4-6. We all have different gifts, but it’s not as if those gifts were something we created within ourselves. Rather, they were gifts given from God himself. And as Paul said in chapter 4,
For who makes you different from anyone else? (God). What do you have that you did not receive? (Nothing). And if you did receive it, why do you boast as though you did not? (For no good reason). (4:7)
Yet so often, we act as if we are God’s gift to man. In a sense, I suppose we are. We are to be a blessing to those around us. But that is not for our glory and for our benefit. It’s for God’s glory and for the benefit of those around us. Like I mentioned in the last blog, the gifts we have been given are to be used for the common good. (12:7)
Paul goes on to say,
All these (gifts) are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he gives them to each one, just as he determines. (11)
Again, we see that these gifts are not only from the Spirit, but it is he who decides, for his own purposes, who to give them to.
Paul then adds,
But in fact God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. (18)
Here again we see that it is for God’s purposes that we are given our place in the body.
Because of this, there’s no room for pride. It is for God’s purposes that you have been placed where you are and given the gifts you have received, not your own.
And there’s no need for jealousy. God has specially placed you in where you are for his own good reasons. It’s not that he said, “Well, I kind of messed up when I made you. I can’t use you for much, so I guess I’ll just stick you here.”
Rather God, when he created you, looked at you and said, “I have a special purpose for you. I need someone to fill in this position for my body, and I specially designed you to fill that need.”
How about you? Do you see your gifts as something that should bring you glory and fulfill your purposes? Or do you see them as something that should bring God glory and fulfill his purposes.
A self-centered attitude concerning your gifts will lead to jealousy and pride. What kind of attitude do you have?