For the last three months, I have had the privilege to lead a weekly men’s group for our church. I love leading the group for several reasons. These men are incredible, Word-loving Jesus followers. Another reason is that we meet at Chick-fil-A at 7 AM every Tuesday. Of course, this necessitates me enjoying a sausage, egg, and cheese biscuit at each meeting. These meetings are one of the highlights of my week.
In our meetings, we are going through The God I Never Knew written by Robert Morris. While we were discussing the gifts of the Spirit in Section 5 (chapters 13 through 16) a couple of weeks ago, I had this thought come to me. Seemingly out of nowhere, I saw a picture of what I’ll call a Holy Spirit ice cream sandwich. Really? Yep. That’s in the Bible? Yep. It’s found in 1 Corinthians 12 through 14. Now don’t start shaking your head and thinking that I’ve lost my mind. Let me give you a quick overview of what I saw.
I’m assuming that you have enjoyed a bit of heaven while eating an ice cream sandwich. I speak from years of experience and research when I write that they are so wonderful. On the outside of the ice cream sandwich are the two chocolate wafers. And then there’s the ice cream placed between the wafers. I’m sure that you will agree that it’s the sweetness of the ice cream that makes this so, so desirable.
Now, for the Holy Spirit ice cream sandwich insight. In 1 Corinthians 12, Paul instructed these believers about the operation or purpose of the Holy Spirit through His gifts. Without question, this teaching was needed in the Corinthian church and also in today’s Church. In chapter 14, Paul gives specific guidelines about the gifts of tongues, the interpretation of tongues, and prophecy and the benefits of the gifts to both the believer and the church then and now. These two chapters are what I saw as being the chocolate wafers of the Holy Spirit ice cream sandwich.
What about the Holy Spirit ice cream? 1 Corinthians 13 gives us the answer. As great as chapters 12 and 14 are, the operation and working of the Holy Spirit without the addition of what I call the “sweetness” ingredient, love, will produce something far different than our Father’s desired “taste”. The cream of love is the key ingredient to the flavorable and favorable work of the Holy Spirit. I can but won’t share stories of those who failed to operate in love when pursuing a walk in the Spirit. The stories would sadly tell of people left hurting and bruised by these acts. The gifts of the Holy Spirit and the pursuit of love must go hand-in-hand. They are to be inseparable.
The Holy Spirit ice cream sandwich is to be desired by all. Let’s desire BOTH the Holy Spirit wafers (the operation and gifts of the Holy Spirit) AND the sweet ice cream (love). Together, they impact both you and those around you.
Remember Paul’s admonition to the Corinthians (and us)…
“Pursue love, and desire spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy.”
1 Corinthians 14:1 (New King James Version)
If you will pardon me, I will quit writing and go do some more “research” as I eat one or maybe two ice cream sandwiches.