Pursue love. We can chase after a lot of things in life but love has to be the most important. We can fill out time pursuing money, possessions, and positions of power and still come up empty. When we pursue love it fulfills us unlike anything else. Pursuing doesn’t mean to look for that someone special in your life. It means to empty your heart of everything for those who are close to you.
Pursue love, and earnestly desire the spiritual gifts, especially that you may prophesy. For one who speaks in a tongue speaks not to men but to God; for no one understands him, but he utters mysteries in the Spirit. On the other hand, the one who prophesies speaks to people for their upbuilding and encouragement and consolation. The one who speaks in a tongue builds up himself, but the one who prophesies builds up the church. Now I want you all to speak in tongues, but even more to prophesy. The one who prophesies is greater than the one who speaks in tongues, unless someone interprets, so that the church may be built up.
Don’t Sit Back and Wait for It
The first two words of this chapter are words that the church should live by. Pursue love. Love is something we should be chasing after. We can’t just wait for opportunities, we have to go look for people to love. We should also be desiring to work in the gifts of the Holy Spirit. This scares a lot of people today but for the church to fully work we need to desire them.
The Corinthians loved speaking in tongues, but Paul preferred to prophesy. He gives his reason for preferring prophesy over tongues. Prophesy is easier to understand. Tongues are powerful, but it is speaking to God while prophecy builds up and encourages everyone. Tongues build the person, but prophecy builds up the church. Paul isn’t putting tongues down but instead is showing how useful prophecy is. He even tells them that he wants all of them to speak in tongues but even more so to prophesy. Tongues only build up the church if someone interprets. This shows us that people spoke in tongues without interpretation and Paul was okay with it. The main point here is that the church is pursuing love and working in the gifts.