“I thank my God, I speak with tongues more than you all.” (I Cor. 14:18) Who said that – and why would they place such high value on speaking with tongues?….. It was the Apostle Paul speaking to the Corinthian church – and to us who would even today be reading God’s Word……
(I made a point to tell you that it was spoken for us even today – because in many circles it is taught that the gifts of the Spirit are not for today – but there is no place in God’s Word that nullifies any of the spiritual gifts which God gave to the church after the resurrection and ascension of Jesus Christ. A verse or two taken out of context has been used to appear to say that the gifts have passed away – but you would have to do away with MANY other new testament passages of scriptures in order for those one or two verses to stand – as evidence of the spiritual gifts having “passed away.” I am not trying to be ugly to anyone – for I have seen some things in the name of “spiritual gifts” that would turn me off too – but any true gift God has for us is too good to miss – simply because of misuse or misinformation….. So my aim is only to share what the Word of God does have to say about this incredible gift of God for His church)
Incredible gift is right!….. that is “the why” for the Apostle Paul telling us that he speaks in tongues – “more than you all!” The Apostle Paul was a very busy man – and with all that he had to do for the care of the churches, he would not have had time – or taken time – for frivolous or trivial things! That should tell us that it is important to look into this matter to see why he placed so much value on speaking/praying in tongues (aka praying in the spirit)…..
To begin with (in I Cor 14) – just four verses before he made the statement about his choice to spend time praying and speaking much in tongues – he tells us that … “if I pray in an unknown tongue – my spirit prayeth.” (verse 14) And going back to verses 4 and 5, he makes the statement “I wish that you all spoke with tongues”– and in verse 39 as he finishes that chapter – he tells us to “forbid not to speak with tongues” – all of these statements pointing to the fact that he found it very important that we understand the value that he placed on this gift…. and at the same time he made it clear that it can be used (misused) in a disorderly fashion in a church setting – that being the topic of that entire chapter…. . He was not belittling the gift (as some pull a verse or two out of the context of that whole chapter to say), but rather he was addressing the proper use of the gift in a church setting so that all could benefit. There is the church as a corporate body meeting together, and there are the individual members of that body. The gifts were given to the individual members to profit withal…….“There are diversities of gifts but the same Spirit ….. and there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all – for the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal” (I Cor 12:4-7 paraphrased)……ie. Praying in the spirit – or any of these gifts that are used for the end result of ministering the life giving grace of God to others will benefit the minister – and the one(s) ministered to. That is the “profit withal” that this scripture mentioned.
Okay, it’s an important gift – but “WHY”? To begin to answer that I will share from two passages of scripture with you…… “He that speaketh in an unknown tongue edifieth himself…. for in the spirit he is speaking mysteries .” (I extracted two key statements here from I Corinthians 14:2,4 – highlighting them to you for a purpose)- ie. “Edifieth himself” means “to be a housebuilder – to build (up), to construct – or instruct in such a way as to improve, enlighten or uplift and embolden.….. That’s a lot of good stuff, and at first look it might appear that this is a rather “self-serving” gift – but not so!
Why is that? …. Let’s look at one other scripture because one scripture often sheds light on other scriptures….. Jude 20, 21 : “But you beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith – PRAYING IN THE HOLY GHOST – keep yourselves in the love of God….. Hmmmmm … Indeed! We do build ourselves up when we pray in the spirit (aka pray in the Holy Ghost) – and it is very important that we keep ourselves built up and strong – so that when the need arises, we are able also to help others…… And “keeping yourself in the love of God” – (as this scripture attributes to praying in the Holy Ghost) – is no small thing either!
I’ve just shared with you a couple of super big reasons for developing the simple but strong discipline of praying in the spirit. There’s more to share with you about this from the Word – and from some personal experience about what has helped me along the way too – so I hope with all my heart that you who are reading this today will return to this blog for the next posts on this very important subject of praying in the spirit
….. And thank You Lord Jesus for this incredible gift to your church!… and for unveiling its purpose in Your Word.