When the Apostle Paul wrote the church at Corinth he told them he didn’t want them to be ignorant of spiritual gifts. Immediately following that statement, he told the Corinthians they were once gentiles who worshipped strange idols in 1 Corinthians 12:2. Why did Paul make that statement? What is the link between knowledge of spiritual gifts and idolatry?
Idols have no power. They are a man-made form of a god, but there is no substance. The gifts of the spirit, however reveal, that Jesus is not mere form, but substance. When we aren’t taught about the gifts of the spirit, we are we are left with a religion that has a form of godliness, but denies the power.
If Jesus isn’t portrayed to us in a way that presents Him as a loving God that wants to bring change in our lives through his supernatural power, there will be a void left in our heart that will cause us to look for more. This leads to idolatry both overt (making statues) and covert (loving sports or shopping more than Jesus) in order to fill the void.
It is with that thought in mind that I want to explore the working of miracles. The working of miracles is the supernatural intervention by God in the affairs of nature or humanity that surpasses all known human or natural powers.
The word miracle is the Greek word dýnamis which is where we get our word dynamite from. I think this is a great word picture of what a miracle is. When dynamite explodes, more power is released in a few seconds than a human could ever hope to muster with their own strength. Dynamite allows for the demolition of a building in a few minutes. It would take a large team of people an extended period of time to level the same building by hand.
One of the most notable miracles in the Bible is the feeding of the 5,000 with 5 loaves and 2 fish discussed in Matthew 14:13-21. I want to briefly examine this miracle to learn some keys about how to operate in gift of miracles.
In verse 14 we see that Jesus was moved with compassion for a multitude of people and began to heal the sick. The fact that Jesus was moved with compassions demonstrates he was being led by the Holy Spirit. God is love and the way He leads is the voice of love. This is important to emphasize because the gifts of the spirit operate as the Holy Spirit wills. They don’t operate just because we want them to for our own selfish motives or just so we can see God do something cool. Jesus was led by the Holy Spirit into the situation, therefore it was the responsibility of the Holy Spirit to provide in the situation.
Toward the end of the day, Jesus’s disciples told them the people were hungry and needed something to eat. They wanted to send them into villages that were near-by so they could buy food. Apparently Jesus wasn’t done ministering however, because he didn’t think that was a good idea. He instructed the disciples to give the people something to eat.
The disciples responded that they only had 5 loaves and 2 fish. Before we are too critical of the disciples, put let’s put ourselves in their shoes. If all we had was a little boy’s lunch and we see 5,000 hungry people, what would most of us do? Most of us would think what we had wasn’t enough!
So how was Jesus able to see feeding 5,000 people with a little bit of food? The key is found in verse 19:
19 Then He commanded the multitudes to sit down on the grass. And He took the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up to heaven, He blessed and broke and gave the loaves to the disciples; and the disciples gave to the multitudes.
The word look up in this passage is the Greek word anablepō which means to recover sight. This same word is used multiple times to refer to someone being healed of blindness. Jesus looked up to heaven to recover his spiritual sight! He looked past his circumstances and looked to heaven’s resources! When Jesus got a heavenly vision, God showed him how He wanted to send the provision. Jesus then blessed and broke the food and gave it to his disciples to distribute.
I personally don’t think Jesus knew exactly how God wanted to send the provision for the 5,000 when He told the disciples to give them something to eat. I think he knew it had something to do with the loaves and fishes, but if He had known exactly how God was going to do it, He wouldn’t have had to look to heaven.
He had to look to heaven and get spiritual insight after He had the people sit down. Jesus needed further instruction from God and the only way he was going to get it was through His relationship with God. Once He had the spiritual insight He needed, He blessed the loaves and fishes and they multiplied in the disciples hands. Jesus had to be led by the spirit for this miracle to happened. The number one principle we need to learn to operate in the gift of miracles is be led the Holy Spirit.
The Bible records hundreds of miracles and the one constant is being led by the Holy Spirit. Sometimes confessions were made, sometimes armies marched around cites waiting for walls to fall down, sometimes the worshippers were put out in front of armies before battle to bring the victory, while another time a man was told to dip in the Jordan 7 times and he would be healed. There isn’t a formula for this other than being hungry for the miraculous and endeavoring to be led by the Holy Spirit.
I want to encourage you to endeavor to follow the leading of the Holy Spirit today. Jesus isn’t like a dumb idol that doesn’t speak. He speaks clearly and you are his sheep and you hear his voice. Take some time away from the cares of this world so you can clearly hear His voice. Jesus wants to do miracles in your life! All He needs is your hunger and your obedience!