SPEAKING IN TONGUES
By Ross Monk
“For he that speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God. For no one understands him; however, in the spirit he speaks mysteries”
PERSONAL AND PUBLIC BENEFITS OF TONGUES (Acts 2:1-24 )
Blessings to you all! Let me begin by saying, how awesomely amazing the gift of speaking in other tongues is. How wonderful it is that God has made available to us this powerful gift ~ not only to construct our lives, but also to keep us from destructing it with wrong words.
James writes in Chapter Four of the Book of James addressing the power that the tongue can have ~ either for constructive purposes, or destructive. He reminds us of the power of such a little member as that of the tongue. James said that it can be likened to the rudder of a ship, although small in comparison to the great ship or, in our case, the rest of our body, the rudder (like the tongue) can ultimately steer the direction of our whole life.
Praise God that He has made an amazing provision in giving us a ‘new language’ that can keep us on direction and can direct our lives. When you see the purpose of God in giving this gift, you will begin to use it in ways that you have not done so before, and with a greater intensity. When you begin to value such, you will find your thinking changing and your direction in life taking on a new meaning.
WHY DID GOD GIVE US THIS GIFT?
Basically because there is a spiritual dynamic that takes place when you speak in tongues.
I want to challenge you for a moment to imagine the dynamics that are taking place as your spirit connects with God in tongues. It is beyond what is possible with just the skill of human faculties. It is the faculty of our spirits speaking mysteries to God. Wow, that is amazing!! When you think that some religions have their vain lifeless repetitious mantras’, we actually have the language of heaven. Speaking in other tongues can keep you from talking to God with vain repetition and just simply praying out of your own head.
As I have been challenged of the Lord to study again the whole dynamics of speaking in tongues ~ and the personal and public benefits of such ~ I find myself challenged by some of the discoveries or re-discoveries I have made. I am sure that I am like a lot of us, at times a little lazy in regard to the use of, and the releasing of, the language of the Holy Spirit. I find that it is possible to become very familiar with something in our walk with God.
It may be more appropriate to describe the state that we can fall back into this way; an under-utilizing, or an over-looking of this amazing personal gift. Today I want to esteem its power and potential.
Although I speak in tongues daily, I recently found myself asking for the Lord’s forgiveness for the lack of the use of such a wonderful gift. I am sure that at times I have under-valued this personal gift from Holy Spirit. It is in the context of re-discovering and re-valuing the gift of tongues that I write this article. It is well known that we will never seek something with all our heart until we value it with all our heart. If we can get along alright with our natural abilities, then why would we want to use supernatural abilities?
If the receiving of other tongues becomes just an historical event in our life and not a current priority, or a highly valued gift, we will under-value it and certainly never use it to our full advantage.
What I say here, I say not in a critical way, but in an observational way. I think that most Christians today really do under-estimate the power and value of speaking in tongues. I want to bring to our attention 3 key things here.
FIRSTLY: There is a discipline in exercising the language of the Spirit in our lives. Tongues can dry-up and not flow like they are intended by Holy Spirit. No wonder our prayer times can revert to short, shallow “shots” at God.
SECONDLY: There is a development that must take place to form what can be truly termed, an edifying experience and the establishment of a unique “hot-line” with God.
THIRDLY: A direct line to heaven. My daughter used to work for a company called ‘Hotline.’ ‘Hotline’ prided itself on one thing. The one thing the company sought to fulfill above all else was the goal to be able to personally answer every telephone call to their company. When you rang them to get a quote for insurance for your car, they wanted you to be able to get straight through to an operator. They did not want people getting some impersonal answer phone, or have you being put in a queue waiting for an operator. That is why their company was called ‘Hotline’.
We do not have to put up with ‘call waiting’ or an answer phone that says, ‘I will phone you back’ ~ it is a direct line to God. God knew something when He let heaven break out in the upper room on that mighty day of Pentecost (Acts 2:1-24 ). People had a ‘hotline’ to God. Because speaking in other tongues is such a dynamic and powerful gift in our lives, I think that we need to be constantly reminded that this gift will be a highly contested issue by the devil. I think that he would want to interfere with this gift as much as he can, simply because of the powerful dynamics that it carries in connecting us to God.
The devil has always made an issue of tongues. If the devil can silence the personal gift of tongues, and the public gift and operation of such, and make us feel that it is just empty words, he is happy.
The other thing that I see in so many believers today is the way that this gift is so under-valued. It seems like a lot of Christians do not see this gift as being relevant today. What a subtlety to think like that!
Getting down to the simplest explanation that I can find to explain this amazing personal gift, I put it this way:
If this is what happens (and it does), then imagine how much the devil must hate hearing a believer or a large group of people talking to their God and praising Him in tongues. Simply putting it, the devil cannot understand what is going on. He is at a loss to be able to stop what is going on unless he can simply shut a person up from doing it.
SCRIPTURE BRINGS SUCH A SIMPLE FOCUS AS TO HOW HOLY SPIRIT EXPRESSES HIMSELF IN OUR LIVES TODAY
“And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever ~ the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you” (John 14:16-17 ).
“Another Helper” said Jesus. Is there anybody reading this that needs heaven’s help????
“And He said to them, ‘Go into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned. And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover" (Mark 16:15-18 ).
“These signs” which Jesus spoke about are also confirmed by Paul in 1 Corinthians 14:22 ~ Paul said to the Corinthians that speaking in tongues was a sign to the unbelievers.
DID YOU NOTICE HERE THAT JESUS HIMSELF SEEMS TO PUT TONGUES INTO THE SAME CATEGORY OF THE WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION GIVEN TO EACH BELIEVER IN THEIR ARSENAL FOR KINGDOM ADVANCEMENT?
TO ME, SPEAKING WITH NEW TONGUES IS CERTAINLY PRESENTED HERE, NOT AS AN OPTIONAL THING, BUT AS AN ESSENTIAL THING.
IT IS THE ‘ADVANTAGE FACTOR’ FOR EVERY BELIEVER in Kingdom things.
I THINK THAT SPEAKING IN TONGUES IS THE KINGDOM OF GOD LANGUAGE!! FROM THE DAY OF PENTECOST, GETTING THE BELIEVERS FILLED WITH THE HOLY GHOST AND SPEAKING IN TONGUES WAS A PRIORITY!
It is like the Apostles knew that this experience and this gift were absolutely essential to get the new believers empowered with Holy Ghost anointing. Speaking in tongues was a way to get the believers on a ‘hot line’ to heaven.
We seem to want to go the ‘seeker sensitive’ or ‘let’s not offend anybody’ way. Let us not forget that tongues are a sign, not to the believers, but to the unbelievers.
LOOK AT THESE EXAMPLES:
“And it happened, while Apollos was at Corinth, that Paul, having passed through the upper regions, came to Ephesus. And finding some disciples he said to them, ‘Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?’ So they said to him, ‘We have not so much as heard whether there is a Holy Spirit.’ And he said to them, ‘Into what then were you baptized?’ So they said, ‘Into John's baptism.’ Then Paul said, ‘John indeed baptized with a baptism of repentance, saying to the people that they should believe on Him who would come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus.’ When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. And when Paul had laid hands on them, the Holy Spirit came upon them, and they spoke with tongues and prophesied” (Acts 19:1-6 ).
“And while Peter spoke these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word. And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost. For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God” (Acts 10:44-46 , KJV).
The writing of this article is intended to impact you and bring you, along with myself, back to what is important. This walk on earth is always about the work of the Spirit of God.
I think that we have pushed aside, or neglected, a great gift in that of tongues (personal and private). This is such a wonderful tool given to us by the Holy Spirit, not only for personal empowerment, but also for the expanding of the Kingdom of God. I can imagine people coming into contact with the early church Spirit-filled Christians and, upon hearing them speaking in tongues and praising God, then questioning them how all this was possible. The Bible says that tongues are a sign, not to the believers, but to the non-believers.
Can you get the picture? ‘How do these people do this?’ would have been the questions of the unsaved. I think that such signs in their midst would have opened the door to many to have explained to them the Gospel and the reality of the true and living God empowering ordinary people.
I have been to many so-called Pentecostal churches and found no evidence of people singing in tongues. Today we sing about God. The reason that we do this is because many Christians do not have a personal empowerment of tongues at home, so therefore they are no different in a public place. You cannot tell people to worship. You can shout all you like about God and get no real atmosphere of His presence.
You cannot truly worship God when you are singing about Him. So many songs today are about Him. I do not want to just sing about Him ~ I want to worship Him. Shouting and saying a few ‘Hallelujahs’ is not worship. That is praise. Praise is a soul expression.
You have to have a flow coming out of your spirit to worship God, who is Spirit.
Jesus said in John’s Gospel Chapter 4:24 ~ “God is Spirit, and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth.” No wonder we are lacking the power of heaven today. We have stopped using the language of heaven.
Praise God, however, there is one gift that can release heaven on earth powerfully, that is through the gifts of tongues.
We have failed them and made Pentecost and speaking in other tongues a thing in history, yet it was the event that made history in that upper room. Many of today’s Christians would have found themselves embarrassed by what was happening in that upper room on that great day of Pentecost. Note that it was an ‘upper room,’ not a back room.
Some years ago we had a man who would attend our church on a Sunday night. He loved to be where the Spirit of God was, but was not at that time baptized in the Holy Ghost with tongues. After one of the services he came to me and asked if we could go out to the back room and he be prayed for so that he could receive tongues. I felt strongly challenged by the Lord to say no, explaining that we do not practice back-room tongues in this church. I turned to him and said that if he wanted to speak in tongues he would have to turn around and face the people that were still in the building, and as I prayed, he would speak in tongues out loud with all his might. Well, he thought about that for a moment and must have seen that I meant business. At that he turned around, and as I prayed, the Spirit of the living God came upon him so mightily that he burst out in tongues so loud that everybody turned around to see what was going on. This man attributes this bold release to so many things that began to change in his life. From that time on he was healed of timidity and began to be boldly used in other gifts. My point is that it must be an ‘upper-room’ experience in difference to a ‘back-room’ experience with no release.
At Pentecost, that upper room was certainly not a ‘seeker sensitive’ place to be. They were seekers alright, but not on their terms. When they got what they were seeking it was radical. It certainly could not be compared with what we think we are seeking today and perhaps keeping out of our midst.
What a great opening brought on by the Holy Ghost. As Peter sees such and gets up under the power of the Holy Ghost, he begins to explain the whole dynamic of that encounter. He captures the moment and begins to explain to a captive, bewildered audience what will happen in the days ahead by the Holy Ghost. We read that thousands came into the Kingdom of God.
Instead of trying to get people to have a go at what we call worship and having worship seminars that are more like concerts, we would do better to have Holy Ghost days where we get the believers filled with the Holy Ghost and released in the power of tongues. I believe that amazing worship would follow. My challenge is, let’s get it the right way round.
Today we want to keep Him at hand and do it all our way with programs. Well, as long as we want it our way, God will allow us to have the same old results.
THERE IS EVEN MEDICAL EVIDENCE OF THE BENEFITS OF SPEAKING IN TONGUES.
I quote this article that I read on a Christian Website which is powerful in regard to speaking on tongues: “Even medical science is beginning to take notice of the power and benefits of speaking in tongues. A fascinating study done by Dr. Carl Peterson, a brain specialist at Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, (Oklahoma, USA) discovered this in his research. Dr. Peterson discovered that as people pray and worship God in tongues, the brain releases two chemical secretions which give our immune systems a 35-40% boost, and promotes healing in our bodies! As amazing as this seems, the secretion comes from a part of the brain which has no other apparent activity in humans. The only way to activate this part of the brain is by praying with tongues in the Spirit! What’s amazing is that this secretion is triggered from a part of the brain that is only activated by our spirit-led prayer and worship.”
WE COULD CONCLUDE FROM THIS THAT SPEAKING IN TONGUES CAN MAKE YOU HEALTHY.
We all know that there are those who say that speaking in tongues is of the devil. Well, my response to that is this: they will have to admit the following:
NOW LET’S LOOK AT THE VALUE AND BENEFITS OF SPEAKING IN TONGUES:
I have not put them in any order of priority, but place emphasis upon the first one mentioned here, simply because of the impact that it has on me. When I speak in tongues I am reminded of this powerful reality.