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Pointers along the way #737

Speaking in tongues

- Jacob Ninan

Why am I writing about this controversial subject which some Christians think is from the Devil? Because it is a very useful gift from God. I don't agree with those who teach that speaking in tongues is the only sign of being baptised in the Holy Spirit (1Co.12:30). I do agree with those who warn that there could be demonic counterfeits (even some people from other faiths speak in tongues) and that a lot of what is going on is human manipulation (making ourselves say 'bababa') and not from the Spirit. But all this should not keep us away from the genuine gift which will edify us (1Co.14:4). It's not for public display to show others how 'spiritual' we are, but speaking to God things that are beyond understanding.

Paul was a very intellectual man but one who walked by faith. He spoke a lot in tongues privately without understanding what he was saying but believing that God understood (vv.18,14). He also believed that when the Holy Spirit gave him the words (Ac.2:4). God was able to hear what Paul really needed to pray (Ro.8:26,27). This helped him to balance his human walk based on his understanding with leaning on God. He used his understanding and also his faith to walk by (1Co.14:15).

If we truly want to express ourselves to God, we pray, not with pious, formal words but with words that come from our heart. We see that sometimes the things we want to express are too deep for words. Sometimes praise just overflows our mind and there are no words to use that are adequate. Sometimes we don't even know what exactly to pray for. Then we can thank God for this gift through which we can depend on communication through the Holy Spirit.

But if we are looking for thrills or something to impress others with, beware. What we may be getting may be a serpent in the place of the fish we ask for. There is a lot of deception in this area and warnings are certainly in place. However, if our heart is right with God and we ask for spiritual gifts in order truly to serve God, He promises us that He will not disappoint us, and also He will keep us safe (Lk.11:11-13).

I know there are many out there who shy away from anything supernatural out of fear that it could be demonic, or because they have been wrongly taught that supernatural things ended with the apostles. But please examine the Bible with an open mind and see what it actually says. I personally think that in these days when the Devil is becoming more and active with his deceptions, God is also working through His Holy Spirit to equip His people to overcome. Everything supernatural we see now is neither entirely from God nor the Devil. Certainly we need discernment. But we must not miss what God has prepared for us. Nor should we stay back in 'caution' trying entirely to protect ourselves. There is much work to be done in the kingdom of God and we certainly need the power of the Holy Spirit working in us and also through us. "Desire earnestly spiritual gifts" (1Co.14:1).


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