I am glad that some people have started to speak in tongues at our church. People receive the gift while praying alone or in groups. Some received the gift during the most recent Special Early-morning Prayer Meetings. As a pastor who values non-eccentric, “natural” spirituality, it is gratifying to see such gifts spread among the congregation quietly and naturally.
According to Scripture, there are two varieties of speaking in tongues. One involves speaking in a foreign language unknown to the speaker (Acts 2:1-6). The other involves speaking in a prayer language that is not really a language (1 Cor. 14:14-15).
Speaking in tongues is the least among the spiritual gifts (1 Cor. 12:28). God gave spiritual gifts so that church members can build each other up (1 Cor. 12:7). But speaking in tongues helps only the speakers themselves in their prayer life; it does not help others unless there is interpretation. So the Apostle Paul encourages the Corinthians to seek the gift of prophecy, which is helpful to other church members (1 Cor. 14:6) and ultimately the gift of love (1 Cor. 13:31-14:1).
All tongue speaking is not the gift of the Holy Spirit. Mormons, who are not truly Christians but cult members, speak in tongues. In the 19th century, speaking in tongues spread like wildfire among Native Americans, and it had nothing to do with the Holy Spirit. Whether tongue speaking is from God or not is determined by its fruit. If people grow closer to God and become more loving towards their neighbors, we can conclude that their tongue speaking comes from God. But if people start looking down on others who don’t speak in tongues, and they become critical to other church members because they lack the gift, their tongue speaking is probably not from God.
As I said, speaking in tongues is the least among spiritual gifts but must not be ignored. The Apostle Paul says this: “Therefore, my brothers, be eager to prophesy, and do not forbid speaking in tongues.” (1 Cor. 14:39)
In my observation, it is rare for people who have been in the Lord for a long time to suddenly receive the gift of tongues. They are so advanced in serving and loving that God may not feel they need a lesser gift.
If you desire to receive the gift of tongues, you must earnestly seek it, but only for a set period of time. It God does not grant you the gift during that period, you must submit to His decision. It is not healthy to be jealous of people who speak in tongues or consider yourself a lesser Christian because you do not have the gift.
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