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1 Corinthians 14: 18

I thank God that I speak in tongues more than you all.

Speaking in tongues is not something we discuss often and I have decided that is error. No one wants to offend others so we avoid topics which are not understood or which are easily misunderstood. This is a topic, however, which we must not hide under the rock any longer. To do so is utter foolishness and simply the result of fear. We fear that someone will become upset with us because we open up a subject with which they are unfamiliar. Well, let us be unfamiliar with the spiritual gift of speaking in tongues no longer.

Tongues is a language God gave us so that we can communicate with Him. One of the most significant aspects of speaking in tongues is that this ability is a gift which we gain through the Holy Spirit of God. It was prophesied about in the Old Testament. Paul recounted this old prophecy from Isaiah in 1 Corinthians 14: 21 where he wrote, “IN THE LAW IT IS WRITTEN, ‘BY MEN OF STRANGE TONGUES AND BY THE LIPS OF STRANGERS I WILL SPEAK TO THIS PEOPLE.” This verse is only a couple of verses after the one where Paul says that he thanks God that he speaks in tongues more than anyone. The immediately following verse reads, “So then tongues are for a sign” (v. 22). My point is that he is still writing about tongues throughout these verses. In the second verse of this fourteenth chapter Paul gives us more insight into speaking in tongues. He wrote, “For one who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men, but to God; for no one understands, but in his spirit he speaks mysteries.” Whoa! That is fabulous. God gave us a language so that we can speak to Him. Perhaps it is God’s own language which He gave to us. We are led by the Holy Spirit to speak from our spirits rather than from our minds. Praise God! Now ask yourself, “Why would God do that?” Well, Paul must have had the same question because he gave this answer, “In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words” (Romans 8: 26).

God gave us the Holy Spirit to lead us, to guide us and to be our teacher. He is able to pray for us, and through us which is great because, honestly, most of the time we really don’t know what or how to pray. He leads us in our prayers and helps us to pray the deep things of our heart. It is such powerful prayer because it does not have to go through the filter of your mind which is full of rules and regulations and ego and questions. You are able to pray right out of your spirit, right from the deepest place of who you are. You can be completely honest with God, with yourself and with your emotions because there is no judgment being levied by the mind. It is like having a direct pipeline between you and God. That pipeline is the Holy Spirit.

Paul taught about the gift of speaking in tongues and also the ministry gift of tongues which is different but the same. Paul said that praying in tongues for our personal prayer builds us up (1 Corinthians 14: 4). The ministry gift of tongues is for edifying the church.

The clearest demonstration of the gift of tongues in operation can be found in Acts 2. On the day of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit was poured out on the followers of Christ who had gathered together. The scripture says tongues as of fire rested on them and “they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues as the Spirit was giving them utterance” (Acts 2: 4). There were witnesses from many different regions all about who, when they heard them speaking in tongues, marveled that they heard them speaking in their own languages even though the men were Jews. You will be so blessed to read the account and try to imagine yourself there witnessing this divine event.

This gift of speaking in tongues is such an important expression of the grace, power and love of God. It flows through the integration of our will and spirit with that of the Holy Spirit. It is high time we learned more about this third person of the trinity who is, in fact, God and it is so important that we learn his role and how we can cooperate with him. Additionally, it is really vital that we learn about this gift of speaking in tongues but really not so much learn as participate in. It is not important that you be able to teach a class on speaking in tongues, just that you do it. Paul said, “I wish that you all spoke in tongues (1 Corinthians 14: 5). I second Paul’s wish. There are too few people who are following this leading of the Holy Spirit and teaching of the Apostle Paul. We need to teach it in our churches, facilitate other’s learning and receiving and most of all never downplay or minimize its significance in the modern church, and as Paul said, “Do not forbid to speak in tongues” (1 Corinthians 14: 39).

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