It’s important to have a bit of background for today’s passage, from Luke 10:17-20. Jesus chose seventy-two of His followers and sent them out in pairs ahead of Him into every town He planned to visit. These verses describe their return:
The seventy-two returned with joy, saying, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us in your name!” And he said to them, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall hurt you. Nevertheless, do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”
These followers are amazed at the abilities that God has placed on them because of Jesus. They are thrilled and excited and filled with joy that they have authority over demons when they use Christ’s name. And Jesus points out that He has placed this authority on them to protect them, but also cautions them about rejoicing and celebrating about this ability. The source of their joy needs to be their membership in the kingdom of heaven, which is the reason they have the ability in the first place.
So often I see churches and believers hyper-focused on spiritual gifts, nearly worshiping certain types of abilities that are granted to them by faith. At times the fever pitch over gifts raises doubts in me as to the authenticity of these gifts. How much is gimmick? I don’t doubt that Christ still bestows all kinds of spiritual gifts on His people today, so please don’t misunderstand me. I doubt the legitimacy of the gifts when I don’t see them being used to point the way to the Giver of all good things.
Spiritual gifts are never intended for our glory, but to glorify the One who gave them. If the whole point is my ability to do something, then it isn’t about Christ’s power resting on me. I pray that I can always point the way to Jesus in my daily walk, and that whatever gifts I am given are used for His glory.