…powerful and practical. Have you turned the key of your car in the last six months and it didn’t start? Have you turned the key of your heart in the last month and could not start the engine?
If you speak in tongues, do so now for thirty seconds. What did you just do? You offered perfect prayer to the Father through the working of the Spirit who helps us pray. And you built yourself up in the process. How often should you speak in tongues? How much building up do you need? Are you overdosing on encouragement? The Scriptures say that…
“he who speaks in a tongue edifies himself” (I Cor. 14:5). Those built up are prepared to build up others. Tongues prepares us for the other gifts. Those not built up often expect others to build them up. Do you go to church to strengthen or be strengthened? I Corinthians 14:26 gives the appropriate answer.
This one gift focuses on the giver. It is for you. Lots of discouragement, depression, and despair out there. We need mega-doses of encouragement. A regular practice of speaking in tongues helps to heal depression, mental illness, and discouragement. How do I know this? Because you feel better when you speak in tongues? No. Because the Word of God says that we build ourselves up.
Read Acts 2:1-4. All the gifts were present in the Old Covenant but one—tongues. God saved this gift for New Covenant people: “All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them” (Acts 2:4). The only gift that was given to build us up is available to ALL. Makes sense. God would not say, “This gift edifies you, but it is only available to some.”
Happened again in Acts 10 and 19. Corporate speaking in tongues empowers a body of people, increases revelation, and strengthens prayer. We have privatized this gift. At Pentecost they were all together. Happy Birthday, Church!
“I thank God that I speak in tongues more than you all” (I Corinthians 14:18).
Paul was not bragging. He was urging his friends to use a gift that he found to have incredible value. So what did you learn about it, Paul? “Increased revelation, encouragement, counsel, help in praying, healing, unity.” He also said…
“I would like every one of you to speak in tongues…” (I Corinthians 14:5a). Why is that in the Scriptures? To keep people from saying, “I prayed and nothing happened.” Yes it did. You received. Passivity and unbelief keep people paralyzed. They think incorrectly, “Maybe I am not supposed to have it.” Paul would not say, “I would like every one of you to speak in tongues, but, of course, not everyone will.” Ask for it, believe you have it, then speak or sing out!!
What about Paul asking the question, “Do all speak in tongues?” (I Cor. 12:29), begging a negative response. The context suggests that Paul is speaking of tongues as a ministry, not simply as a gift. All can prophesy, but all are not prophets. All can speak in tongues, a few have a ministry of bringing messages in a tongues.
So we pray, “Father, forgive us for demeaning this gift by not exercising it faithfully, both alone and with others. Forgive our indifference. We ask, Holy Spirit, dispel our doubts and discouragement. Lift from us the spirit of heaviness and give us the garment of praise. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.”