1 Corinthians 14:1 says, "Follow the way of love and eagerly desire spiritual gifts." How do you walk in love and how do we eagerly desire spiritual gifts?
We simply walk in love with one foot in front of the other. We eagerly desire spiritual gifts by simply doing what we are eagerly desiring.
Let me illustrate. Last night I pulled up to a Loves gas station. My car was eagerly desiring gas, and my kids and I were desiring something to drink. So we acted on those desires by filling the tank, then I put one foot in front of the other as I walked into Loves gas station. I put my love for my kids into action by buying them something refreshing to drink: Dr. Pepper for Annalisa, and a good old fashioned A&W root beer for Tyler. I settled for a big bottle of water myself.
As I was walking in a simple expression of love for my kids, I was also on the phone with my wife talking about the day. I was just doing normal life stuff. I was multitasking - walking in love by talking to and listing to my wife, doing something for my kids, and satisfying my own desire for something refreshing to drink. I was on a quick mission to get in and get out of the gas station as quickly as I could. With drinks in hand and listening to my wife on the phone, I stepped up to the checkout line hoping to hurry through the line to get back in the car with my kids.
All of a sudden, a desire came to give a word to the lady behind the counter. Then this thought came to mind: "You're on the phone with your wife, the kids are waiting in the car, and what if you miss it and get the word wrong? Just get in and get out”. These were busy, self-centered thoughts. While I was having this conversation in my head and still on the phone with my wife, the manger of the store walked over to the cashier and told about a new baby in her family. She was smiling and telling me the good news as well. I responded with a thumbs up and a smile because I was on the phone. I could see other people in the store gathering their items and heading to the checkout stand. I thought to myself that there was just too much going on for me to share anything with the lady. I was too much in my head, and I needed to get into God’s heart, walk in love, and act on the desire the Holy Spirit was giving me. He was trying to give a drink to this lady even though she didn’t know how thirsty she really was, and I was too busy listening to the selfish conversation in my head.
I decided to simply RISK and stop entertaining the selfish thoughts, to walk in love and eagerly desire spiritual gifts for this woman. I did this by opening up my mouth and saying, "Excuse me. Do you happen to have problems with your lower back, knees, and ankles?" (These were the impressions I had received from the Holy Spirit.) She looked at me a little funny and stepped back a bit. Those mind-warring, self-centered thoughts came again: "Oh, no! You missed it, and now it's going to get awkward."
Instead, the lady replied, "Yes, I'm in pain all the time. So much so that I'm on pain killers."
"Really? Well, are you in pain now?"
She responded that she wasn't because she had just taken a pain killer. I asked, "Can I pray for you? The reason I knew about your pain was because Jesus knows about your pain, and he wants to touch you."
The lady turned to her manger and asked, "Will I get fired for this?" Her manger said no, so the cashier turned back to me and agreed to let me pray for her.
I asked the lady for her hand, and I began to pray by asking the Holy Spirit to come. Guess what happened. He came! Why? Because he was the one inviting me into his work. God is always working and inviting us into his work. He wanted to give this woman a drink and desire for him. Psalm 34 tells us to taste and see that the Lord is good.
At first, she just looked at me as I prayed. It was awkward. People started coming forward with their items ready to check out, and the cashier was busy. Then, the cashier closed her eyes. It was as if she was oblivious to anyone else. Her manger opened up the register and started doing this lady’s job for her while I stood there holding her hand, praying, "Holy Spirit, come." (You know the presence of the Lord is there when your manager starts doing your work for you.) The cashier was locked in and something was happening. After about twenty seconds or so, I asked, "What are you feeling?”
She dramatically exclaimed, "Like nothing I've ever felt." She closed her eyes again and was just soaking in the presence of God. She was captivated and getting a drink of his love. Another few seconds went by, which seemed like an eternity in the checkout line.
"Do you know what that feeling is?" I asked. She replied that she didn't. "This is the Holy Spirit resting on you. Jesus loves you and knows about the pain, and he wants you to know he's near." She looked at me with hope in her eyes then closed her eyes again, resting in the presence, and still gripping my hand.
"Thank you for letting me pray for you."
She looked at me with grateful eyes and said, "Thank you." She rang up my purchases, and I returned to my conversation on the phone with my wife and brought my kids their drinks so that the desire of their little taste buds could be satisfied.
Walking in love is so simple: It’s putting one foot in front of the other. To eagerly desire spiritual gifts is also simple: it’s acting upon the desire. Love is action, and desires are apprehended. There are many distractions and conversations going on all around us, trying to distract us from being present. If we can remember to put the conversation of heaven first, and "Follow the way of love and eagerly desire spiritual gifts," then we will see heaven come upon those around us.