12:8 For to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, to another the word of knowledge through the same Spirit, 9 to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healings by the same Spirit, 10 to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits, to another different kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. 11 But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills.
For such a simple teaching it sure has created a lot of confusion, error, and division in the Body of Christ. Some have elevated one gift above the others and made it a test of true belief. Others have almost denied the gifts to avoid the tension. Still others treat the gifts and the Spirit who gives them as something we control.
There is beauty in truth. There is harmony in truth. There is humility in truth. God didn't have to give us gifts. He wants to give us gifts. Note the progression of events in the life of a person as revealed in the Scriptures. First the Spirit draws us. Put simply a voice, impressions, feelings, conviction all begin to have an impact on us. Depending on where our journey began this is different for everyone. The bottom line is we get a sense that God is real and that He is drawing us to Himself. For some this happens quickly. For others it is much longer. When we fully discover the reality of Him we have to make a decision. Will I follow Him or not? Will I make Him the Lord of my life or keep Him at arm's length?
Those who choose to follow Him get baptized and join the family of faith or the church or the body of Christ. Again this is different for everyone. Some find one church and believe it to be the true church as they understand it. Others go through a series of churches as they grow seeking one that fits their picture of God as He is revealing Himself to them.
Track the disciples as they followed Jesus. They were born and raised in the faith yet when they found Jesus it was a definite learning curve. They had to unlearn many things they thought were true but weren't. They also discovered many things they never knew.
When their faith was mature and they were fully committed to stay with Jesus no matter what they experienced a new baptism. The baptism of the Spirit. This is when (symbolically) the Spirit moves from the outside to the inside. Referring to Him (the Spirit) Jesus said "He is with you but He will be in you." We already read in this letter to the Corinthians where Paul asked (as a reminder) "Don't you know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is within you?"
When the Spirit of God moves in we move to a new level. We don't get more saved. God does not suddenly love us more. This new level is when we become powerful in the hands of God to win others to Himself. We go from being a patient in the hospital for sinners to becoming part of the medical staff. To be useful in this new role we need skills and abilities. The Bible describes these as gifts of the Spirit. We don't get to choose. He chooses.
Coming back to the analogy from yesterday that we are the orchestra of His grace. Every instrument is different. Every instrument can do something that no other instruments can do. We do not get to choose which instrument we are. We may even be gifted to play more than one. We don't get to choose that either.
Our only choice in this is to submit to the calling and giftedness the Spirit gives or resist. He is the Potter. We are the clay.