12:7 But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all: 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.
Did you notice how complementary gifts are clustered together yet given to different people? Wisdom and knowledge. Faith, healing, and miracles. Prophecy and the discerning of spirits. Speaking in tongues and interpreting tongues.
"No man is an island. No man stands alone. Each man's joy is joy to me and each man's grief is my own." God designed for us to be one. He gifts us so that without each other the gift is incomplete. I was taught growing up that knowledge is having the information. Wisdom is knowing what to do with it. Neither skill is useful by itself. It's wonderful to have the Spirit prophesy through a person but how do we know what spirit it is? It is a gift from God to be able to recognize the difference between the voice of the Spirit and the hiss of the serpent. To be able to speak a language you were never taught is a gift. To understand a language you never knew and translate it to a language those around you know is another gift. You will remember that on the day of Pentecost right after the disciples received the Spirit for the first time Peter stood and spoke to the gathering crowd. The crowd had come to Jerusalem from all over to celebrate the feast and spoke many languages. The Bible says although Peter was only speaking one language they all heard what he said in their own language. The Spirit interpreted. Both language gifts are needed in a multilingual setting. The gift to speak the language of another and the gift to translate to other languages.
What about faith, healing, and miracles? Jesus performed miracles that weren't healings. He directed the weather. He had Peter catch a fish that contained money. He cursed a tree to teach a lesson. Here Paul teaches that faith, healing, and miracles are all different yet connected. We think of faith as a necessary component for healings and miracles but it takes more faith to endure no healing and no miracles. Scripture does not support the false teaching that with enough faith healing and miracles will always follow. Sometimes yes. But sometimes the answer is no. Paul asked for healing. God's answer was "My strength is made perfect in your weakness." Jesus asked to be delivered from the agony of the cross. God's answer was silence. Elijah got the miracle he asked for but almost lost his faith in the aftermath. It takes more faith to endure darkness than to celebrate in the light of healings and miracles. They are complementary gifts but separate. Better to have faith with no miracles than miracles and lose faith.
And that is the point. God designed for us to need each other. Our gifts fit together like hands and gloves. Both need each other. Both complete each other.
We live in a culture of hierarchical thinking. Someone is always alone at the top. This is not the culture of heaven. Jesus' last conversation with His Father before being arrested was on this very theme. He wanted for us the oneness He had with His Father. We continue to struggle with Who was number one between God and Jesus. Throw the Holy Spirit in there and we almost lose our minds. We are convinced there must be positioning. There must be good, better, best. The disciples were always arguing over positioning. One of their mom's even got involved trying to secure top spots for her boys. When human thinking is imposed on the culture of heaven confusion is sure to follow. It is a miracle of grace to lay that thinking down. They are One. They sit on the same throne. Neither is concerned with being higher or better or more. That's demonic thinking.
Tomorrow we'll explore this more as we take a look at the followers of God as a body.