Don’t Grinch the Spirit
December is the most stressful month of the year for me. Nevertheless, in the midst of grading, shopping, and the hustle-and-bustle, I’ve noticed more opportunities to “pursue love … especially that you may prophesy” (1 Corinthians 14:1). Somehow, this has to be Zechariah’s fault (John the Baptist’s father)! During the first Christmas, Zechariah “was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied” (Luke 1:67).
How does one go about having a Merry Pentecostal Christmas?
“Pursue love, and earnestly desire the spiritual gifts, especially that you may prophesy … for the one who prophesies speaks to people for their upbuilding and encouragement and consolation” (1 Corinthians 14:1-3). Pursue love—especially to prophesy? Why does Paul say this? What does it mean to prophesy? And why prophesy during the Christmas season?
First of all, let’s get this straight: “THUS SAYS THE LORD” is never a preface when believers prophesy in the New Testament. Whew, what a relief! That alone should speak volumes to us (we are not OT prophets). Our prophesying doesn’t add to Scripture, contradict Scripture, replace Scripture, or become Scripture.
Prophesying occurs when the Holy Spirit impresses a word on our heart that strengthens, builds up, edifies, or comforts someone (1 Corinthians 14:3-4). Its “a word fitly spoken” (Proverbs 25:11), a word “good for edifying, as fits the occasion, that it may impart grace to those who hear” (Ephesians 4:29). Sometimes the Spirit will even give us a word that provides direction or spurs someone to action (e.g., Acts 13:1-3).
Until the perfect comes and we see Jesus face-to-face, we will always prophesy in part—that is, we will always deliver it imperfectly, understand it imperfectly, and apply it imperfectly (1 Corinthians 13:9). But let us not “Grinch” the Spirit (1 Thessalonians 5:19, personal translation). Merry Pentecostal Christmas everyone!
by Gloria Wiese