Paul ends his discourse about prophecy in 1 Corinthians 14 with these words: “Therefore, my brothers and sisters, be eager to prophesy” (1 Cor. 14: 39, NIV). The word eager can be translated as envy. Wow! God is telling us to be envious to prophesy. I am not allowed to envy another person’s possessions or calling, but I am allowed to see spiritual gifts in them and say, “I want that too!”
Let me illustrate it this way. If you drive home in a brand new red Ferrari, and I look at your car and say, “I want that car,” I am saying I want to take your car from you and put it in my garage. That kind of envy comes from a poverty spirit that thinks if you have a red Ferrari, I can’t have one. It says there are a limited amount of red Ferraris available and a limited amount of resources to purchase one.
In God’s Kingdom the opposite is true. If I see God do something through someone else, it is an invitation to seek that in my own life. I don’t want to take yours. In fact, I want you to have more so I can see what “more” is possible. Unlimited resources are available to us. Jesus said, “I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do” (John 14: 12, NKJV). This is an invitation to want what He has, and even more is available.
The question could be raised that if it is available for all of us, why do some demonstrate a greater level of operation? If all can prophesy, why are some more effective, more accurate, or more prolific? I believe one of the differences is passion. If you love to do something, you will do it often. If you do it often, you will become good at it.
Malcolm Gladwell in his book Outliers: The Story of Success states,
The emerging picture from such studies is that ten thousand hours of practice is required to achieve the level of mastery associated with being a world-class expert in anything.
Mastery does not seem like an appropriate word when talking about the supernatural, so let’s use the word maturity. Luke 2: 52 (NIV) states, “Jesus grew in wisdom, and stature, and in favor with God and men.” Like Jesus, there are some people with special callings and specific assignments. Even a special calling takes growth to achieve maturity.
I remember many years ago being at a series of meetings in which I prayed for every person in the room each night. After the second night, I woke in the morning with very little voice and very little energy. I remember asking God to forgive me for doing His work in my own strength and saying that I would not pray for every person the next night.
That afternoon, I was scheduled to have lunch with a pastor who drove from several hours away to meet with me. As we sat down he said, “God gave me a picture for you today. You were lifting weights and feeling like you were getting weaker, but with each repetition God was adding more weight. Though you felt like you were getting weaker, you were getting stronger. God is developing supernatural strength in your gifts.” So much for an early night! I prayed for everyone there that evening. At end of three days, the pastor said, “We have almost 500 individual cassette tapes of prayers for people to pick up.” They had recorded each prayer.
Passion will push you past your frustration. Passion will lead you to celebration. Passion will develop supernatural strength in you.
Paul said this to his young student Timothy: “I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands” (2 Tim. 1: 6, NIV).
Paul instigated the passion in Timothy, but Timothy had to sustain it. God will use other people to initiate passion in you, but you will have to establish it.
Hungry people will stand in line on Sunday to have hands laid on them, but passionate people will wake up Monday and lay hands on others.
Passionate people stir up the passion in others. When you are passionate about something, it is hard to keep what is inside from coming out.