…or, why tongues?
I got this title from the fact that I do often speak in tongues. Driving is my worship time. Often I feel the Spirit moving me to speak in tongues. My kids are unfazed by it. They, like I was, are being raised in a home where being filled with the Holy Spirit is normal. I remember my parents speaking in tongues and anointing our home and us kids with oil. It never seemed weird to me. To hear someone’s spirit cry out to God in an otherworldly prayer language is spine-tinglingly beautiful. I’ve never known any other way to be a Christian than to be filled with the Holy Spirit. If I go to churches where I don’t sense him I am looking for the nearest exit! IMO church should be the most exciting time of the week. You should come out renewed, challenged, and changed through encountering the Holy Spirit moving corporately and individually in the service.
So go ahead and label me a ‘Holy Roller’. It doesn’t offend me at all. I’m not into acting weird (which people often associate with someone claiming to be filled with the Spirit) but I am into encountering God in life-altering ways. I am into being filled with the very presence and power of the resurrected Christ. I am into experiencing everything God has for me.
I don’t believe you have to speak in tongues to be a powerful believer. I was filled with the Holy Spirit and received the gift of tongues on two different occasions. I know many faithful Christians who do have the Spirit but do not speak in tongues. I won’t claim either of two extremes- that everyone should speak in tongues or that no one should. If it is something you haven’t received but want; than pray to receive it. “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.” 1 Cor. 14:2
When we speak in tongues our spirit is communicating directly with God, with no go-between. Often, we don’t know how to pray. But the Spirit in us “helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.’ Romans 8:26 Often I don’t know how to pray and I allow the spirit to pray through me. With groanings only God can understand.
Is it biblical for believers to speak in tongues today? “In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams.” Acts 2:17 We are in the last days, no doubt. God is pouring out his Spirit. “Very well then, with foreign lips and strange tongues God will speak to this people.” Isaiah 28:11
We have to understand that yes we have a body and a brain but we are primarily a spiritual being. God understands English just fine. But perhaps there is an ancient and holy language that is imparted to believers who speak in tongues? Very cool thought. While the cannon of scripture is closed the spirit of prophecy still moves in the church. Prophecy simply means hearing from God. God is still speaking to his church today, Amen?
Prayer is powerfully effective. Paul himself said, “I thank God that I speak in tongues more than all of you.” 1 Cor. 14:18 Speaking in tongues has a place in church. Especially if an interpretation follows. A genuinely Spirit-filled believer speaking in strange tongues is evidence to the unbeliever. 1 Cor. 14:12
My personal experience has been in using tongues to worship God and to intercede for others in prayer. It isn’t something I make up or force out. It is words of the Spirit bubbling up inside of me and spilling out- that is the best way to describe it. Sometimes it is sorrowful, sometimes fierce, sometimes joyful in praise. I am excited to get to heaven and see the many yet unknown ways my intercessory prayers affected the lives of people I haven’t even met.
Do you speak in tongues? Do you want to? Perhaps God wants to pour new life and anointing into your walk with him? You can certainly ask him to today!