1 Corinthians 12:7
“A manifestation of the Spirit is given to each person to produce what is beneficial…”
What is given? A manifestation of the Spirit.
For what purpose? To produce what is beneficial. These are Divine gifts given not merely to the individual through whom they are manifest, but to other members of the body of Christ. These manifestations are functions of grace.
I think we need to hear more and discern more in the body of Christ. To hear more means to be more ready to receive wisdom, truth, and love from sources we might not expect, through ways that don’t fit a traditional template. To discern more, means to know what another person is like outside of the Sunday morning context; both the good intentions of their heart, and the imperfections of their everyday life. This is important because these manifestations can occur even when a person is foolish, carnal, or broken in other areas of their life. At least this has been my experience. Even if only in the mind, it seems easy in a religious context, to either idolize people or write them off.
I wonder what level of consciousness people have about what is, or what would be beneficial. That is the stated purpose of these Spiritual manifestations. I wonder, given the day to day functional health of many people’s lives, how often a church service is a psychologically masturbatory exercise. If that is the case, maybe it’s from a lack of consciousness about what would actually be beneficial.
What would be beneficial? Probably being truly rid of dysfunctions that live in your own head, and also the unhealthy dynamics in your house; overcoming and evicting them, if you can even see them well enough to identify them. That clarity itself might be a spiritual miracle.
At this point I want to clarify that the aim is not to center my faith in Jesus around self-improvement. However, I think that many of the same personal psychological issues that the multitude of self-help, life-coach people in our society are trying to address, are the same issues that are the most deleterious to the process of a believer’s faith being really effective in their daily lives.
Presently, I think less about “should” in person’s spiritual life and more about “how”. There is an impulse to try to administer spiritual truths from the top down with little care for how things are actually working on the ground. That is not how Jesus led:
“For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin.”
(Hebrews 4:15, NASB)