Follow the way of love and eagerly desire gifts of the Spirit, especially prophecy. For anyone who speaks in a tongue does not speak to people but to God. Indeed, no one understands them; they utter mysteries by the Spirit. But the one who prophesies speaks to people for their strengthening, encouraging and comfort. Anyone who speaks in a tongue edifies themselves, but the one who prophesies edifies the church. 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.

- 1 Corinthians 14:1-5

It's interesting that Paul actually writes that he has a preference on spiritual gifts. He describes prophecy as speaking specific encouragement to someone while speaking in tongues is comparable to mutterings of the Holy Spirit. Obviously, if we receive any gift from God, it must be good. However, it's interesting that Paul points out that prophecy is a gift that is especially good to seek after.

There are probably several reasons Paul points this out, but there's one that I think is really important - love.

I think Paul recognizes that giving someone specific, timely encouragement will show the love of God to them deeply. If this has happened to you, you'll know what I mean.

For example, you got in a fight with your mom over the phone that left you frustrated. You get on the bus and hear someone telling their mom they love them and then you feel guilty. Without realizing what's happening, you begin to allowing the devil to tempt you with thoughts such as, "Am I a bad son/daughter? Does this mean my relationship with God is like this? Does this mean God is also mad at me? Is He frustrated and impatient with me, too?" And then out of nowhere, someone comes up to you and says something such as, "This might be a little strange, but I feel like I'm supposed to tell you that you're a really good son/daughter and God has big things planned for your family." 

And then all at once you know that you're known and seen by God. You know He hears your cries within your heart before you've even put them into words and He has plans of goodness for your life. You know He loves you. 

I think this is the point Paul is trying to make - not that tongues are bad and shouldn't be sought after, but that prophecy often produces a deeper love of Christ. So whether this is brand new, something you're scared of, or something you're really on board with, ask God today to take you deeper! God is extremely kind and will not force something you don't understand. Just ask him for a deeper understanding and opportunity to grow in the gifts of the Spirit today, specifically prophecy! 

But most importantly, ask God today to grow your heart towards love. If you're not loving someone, you likely won't be able to foster in encouraging thoughts that God will want to say to them! Begin by thinking to yourself, "What do I like about this person? What do I think they're good? What do I think they need to hear that would make their day better?" See if God tells you anything! And release any thoughts of "But if I tell them this and not what they're doing wrong, they might not ever pay attention to the bad in them!" These are easy thoughts to have, but it's God's job to change the sin in other people's hearts, not ours. 

- Logan Johnson