Paul’s instructions about spiritual gifts are a key to operating in the prophetic: “Follow the way of love and eagerly desire spiritual gifts, especially the gift of prophecy” (1 Cor. 14: 1, NIV). I don’t know where I heard the following phrase first, but I know I heard it many times growing up in the church: “Seek the giver, not the gifts.” I know the intention of people who used this phrase was to inspire people to have relationship with God, but it was accompanied by a chilling effect regarding the pursuit of spiritual gifts. Paul is clear that supernatural gifts require pursuit and pursuit requires passion. Seek both the giver and the gifts. Be especially passionate about prophecy. I like that.
I have spent years traveling and ministering in different cities, states, and nations. Many years I spend more than 250 days away from home. I have stood hundreds of nights for five or six hours as people waited for prayer. Many, many nights I have changed time zones, gone with little sleep, and stayed up very late praying for people. Why do I do this? Maybe it is because I love airplanes and hotels. I don’t mind them, but I love being home more. Maybe I’m a night owl and always stay up late. Ask my wife and she will tell you that I am early to bed and early to rise. Maybe I do it because being around people energizes me. The opposite is true. I love people, but if my personality profile is correct, I am an introvert. I get recharged when I am alone.
The reason I do what I do is simple: I get excited to hear about lives that are changed because of God’s prophetic promises. Just today, I heard from a family that I prayed for several years ago. I did not remember the encounter, but it was life changing for them. One of the things I said about their youngest child was that he would have a unique learning style and that the education system would try to label him. In that same conversation, I shared some wisdom about how to handle that and how God would use this boy. Now several years later, they are experiencing the exact event. Because I framed their future from God’s perspective, what could have been a problem is now a promise. I get passionate when I see God’s promises come to pass.
You have to see your promise to maintain your passion. You have to find ways to celebrate even the smallest things. One of the reasons people lose passion is that they lose awe. Celebrate the healing of the hangnail and the headache. Celebrate the small words and the big words. Celebrate every promise fulfilled.