Lenten Devotion: Monday, March 30

Psalm 31Psalm 35Exodus 4:10-31 1 Corinthians 14:1-19Mark 9:30-41

Pursue love and strive for the spiritual gifts. . . .
1 Corinthians 14:1-19

Paul tells us in this passage that trust in Jesus Christ can be a simple thing. In fact, the very simplicity of faith is what draws us to the community of believers, what brings us through the doors of our church, and what keeps us coming back. And while faith has been the subject of great scholarly writing and preaching, it is not something that needs excessive prose or even “speaking in tongues” as mentioned in Paul’s letter to the Corinthians. In fact, Paul warns against the use of the excess of speaking in tongues as a spiritual device, encouraging us rather to tune our minds to Christ. He compares the excessive use of “tongues” to instruments from which no distinct sound can be heard – how can we tell what is being played, or what purpose that instrument has? So was it with members of the early church swept away by the emotion of speaking in tongues, and so it is still often today with Christians who make a show of being Christian rather than behaving in the manner of Christ.

Paul urges us to check our faith and share it in a manner that all may understand, not just the few – in his case, not only by those speaking in elaborate tongues. As a Christian, I am continually drawn to passages such as these that remind us to set our sights on Christ alone, and not to make a show of our faith; doing so only draws attention to ourselves, when attention should be given to God. In fact, Paul reminds us that our call to follow Christ remains simple: “pursue love and strive for spiritual gifts.” In pursuing a life of love, peace, patience, and gentleness, we may not only draw ourselves nearer to God, but also those around us.