Scripture Reading: 1 Corinthians 14:1-5
Follow the way of love and eagerly desire gifts of the Spirit, especially prophecy. 2 For anyone who speaks in a tongue r does not speak to people but to God. Indeed, no one understands them; they utter mysteries by the Spirit. 3 But the one who prophesies speaks to people for their strengthening, encouraging and comfort. 4 Anyone who speaks in a tongue edifies themselves, but the one who prophesies edifies the church. 5 I would like every one of you to speak in tongues, but I would rather have you prophesy. The one who prophesies is greater than the one who speaks in tongues, unless someone interprets, so that the church may be edified.
Verse for Meditation: But the one who prophesies speaks to people for their strengthening, encouraging and comfort. – 1 Corinthians 14:3
Devotional: There are thee primary purposes of prophecy that we see in 1 Corinthians 14:3. God gives the gift of prophecy so that his people will be strengthened, encouraged, and comforted. Each of these three purposes has a specific emphasis. Strengthening has to do with being made strong. It is from the same word where we get the idea of being built up. A prophetic word is able to help one who may be weak in some area to grow in greater strength.
The second purpose is encouraging. Sometimes this word is translated as exhortation. It carries with it the idea of emboldening someone in a belief or in a course of action. This kind of word gives people courage to move forward when they might otherwise be discouraged by fear.
The third purpose is to comfort. This specifically speaks to encouraging those who are depressed, discouraged, or grieving. Some prophetic words are specifically given to help a struggling person, or group of people to find the hope that can help them move forward. In every instance God blesses his church with prophetic insight so that they might be pointed to true hope which is found in Jesus Christ.
Question to Consider: If you are seeking to grow in spiritual gifts and especially in prophecy, you should also be asking God to give you a greater burden for hurting people. Regardless of your spiritual gifts how can you reach out to a person today that is need of encouragement?