Why shouldn’t we ask the Lord to give us supernatural gifts, such as speaking in tongues and healing the sick and performing miracles? Doesn’t the apostle Paul say: “desire spiritual gifts”? (1 Cor. 14: 1) and “earnestly desire the best gifts ” (1 Cor. 12
The fruits of the Spirit, are more important for you and more beneficial than the gifts of the Spirit.
St. Paul also said about the fruits of the Spirit: ” the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.” (Gal. 5:22-23).
These fruits are of advantage to your eternal life, which is why the apostle calls them ‘the most excellent way’, when he says: ” earnestly desire the best gifts. And yet I show you a more excellent way.” (1 Cor. 12:31).
He explains how love is the first of the fruits of the Spirit, superior to speaking in the tongues of men or of angels, better than all knowledge or all mysteries, better than prophecy and better than faith which can move mountains. (1 Cor. 13:1-3).
He said that prophecies will cease, tongues will be stilled, and knowledge will pass away, but that love will remain, and that it is greater than faith and hope.
As for miracles, they do not necessarily redeem the soul. Many of those who have done miracles have perished, and likewise miracles have been attributed to Satan and his followers.
Look at what the Lord said in His Sermon on the Mount: ” Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ “And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!'(Matt. 7:22)
This is quite a surprise! So these people turned out to be evildoers, and they perished, and the Lord refused to recognise them, in spite of the fact that they had driven out demons and prophesied, and attributed it all to the Lord’s name!!
When the disciples rejoiced at the miracles they had been enabled to perform, the Lord told them not to do so.
The disciples “returned with joy and said, ‘Lord, even the demons submit to us in Your name. ” But Jesus said to them:
” do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rather rejoice because your names are written in heaven.” (Luke 10:20)
And when He was tempted by the Devil on the mountain, the Lord refused to perform miracles.
He refused to change stones into bread, and refused to throw Himself down from the high place to prove that the angels would bear Him up…- because the Lord didn’t wish to perform miracles for pleasure, or for worldly glory. ‘So when the Jews asked Him for a sign, He used to say to them: ” An evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign, and no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah.” (Matt. 12:39). Thus Jesus led them to think about His cross, death and resurrection, rather than the spectacle of miracles or signs.
Wanting gifts, and wanting to perform miracles could be a war by which Satan attacks you and deceives you by gratifying your pride, and then leading you astray.
The Bible says about the Antichrist, the person who deceives, that he is a man of sin, a man doomed to destruction, that he will oppose and exalt himself over everything that is called God, and set himself up in God’s temple proclaiming himself to be God, that he will make many go astray, and lead them to apostasy… And it says that: “The coming of the lawless one will be.. displayed in all kinds of counterfeit miracles, signs and wonders, and in every sort of evil that deceives those who are perishing. ” (2 Thess. 2:3-10)
How easy it is for Satan to lead people astray by miracles, or to lead them to be proud, by deceiving them with false signs.
If Satan sees you as someone who likes visions and dreams, he can appear to you in false visions and dreams… And if he sees you as someone who is keen on casting out demons, he can come out of a person and go back in, and thus play around with you and deceive you into thinking that you are gifted in this kind of work. The Devil is capable of appearing in the form of an angel of light, as the Bible tells us. So if he sees you as someone who likes wonders and marvels, he can fight you from this aspect. You can find examples of’ this in the book “Paradise of the Monks”.
The war of pride, however, can arise even with real miracles.
Look at St. Paul, a giant of a figure in the Church, and see how he says: ” And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure.(2 Cor . 12:7). God must have considered that affliction was beneficial to Paul, and so did not agree to the Apostle’s prayer to remove it from him.
So if even St. Paul himself was wary of these miracles, lest they. should make him think too highly of himself, shouldn’t you be wary too?!
“Do not be haughtybut fear.” (Rom. 11:20), as Paul says, though he goes on in fact to give you further advice which applies to all people in regard to spiritual gifts:
” not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith.(Rom. 12:3).
Why do you think more highly of yourself than you ought? Why do you ask for the performance of miracles, something which not even one of the saints, asked for? Why don’t you concern yourself with the fruits of the Spirit rather than the gifts?
Is it not sometimes a war of pride that deceives you into asking for gifts? Verse “desire spiritual gifts. ” (1 Cor. 14:1) however, does not mean that you have to ask for them.
It means, rather, that you should make your heart worthy to be given them. God cannot give you miraculous powers unless you are humble, because only the humble person is properly cautious about miracles.
Humility does not demand, miracles but receives them with a feeling of not having deserved them, while accepting that the Lord in His wisdom must have performed them because He deemed it beneficial to His creation in some way.
John the Baptist was the greatest man ever born of woman, yet he wasn’t famous for performing miracles, nor did he ask to perform them.