In summing up the truth that our spiritual gifts should unite us and not divide us, Paul goes on to show us how we are to use those gifts in one of the most famous passages in scripture.
He calls it, “the most excellent way,” probably meaning, “the most excellent way to use our gifts.” (12:31)
If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging symbol. If I have the gift of prophesy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move all mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing. (13:1-3)
In short, we can give have the most incredible gifts in the world, we can sacrifice all we have, even our very lives, but if we don’t have love for God and for others, all of that means nothing.
So many people exercise their gifts or make great sacrifices, not because of their love for God and others, but because of pride. All that they do is for the praise of man, and to be seen and recognized by them.
It is that very pride that also causes people to envy others and the gifts they have. It is that same pride that causes people to look down on others as less spiritual if they don’t have the same gifts they have.
The end result of all this is a divided church filled with hypocrites. That’s not how God intended our gifts to be used.
Our gifts are to be expressions of our love for others. Any other usage is an abuse of the gifts God has given to us.
How about you? How do you use your gifts?