I’m taking a few posts to talk about how God uses tongues and interpretation, as well as prophecy, to build up the church. Most people understand why prophecy is important. Tongues is a little more controversial.
For this reason anyone who speaks in a tongue should pray that he may interpret what he says. For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but my mind is unfruitful.
Paul shows us three things in this short passage. First, my body is speaking in an unknown language. At the same time, my mind is unfruitful. But the most important aspect is the fact that my spirit is praying to God.
Notice that when I pray in the spirit, my spirit and body are active, but my mind is not a part of what’s transpiring. That’s because the gift of tongues is a physical reaction to a spiritual event. My flesh doesn’t know how to handle what’s happening with me in the spirit.
According to this verse, what comes out of my mouth may or may not have anything to do with what’s happening in the spirit. That includes the length of the “conversation”, any repetition, the language, or even the physical words spoken.
For instance; as my spirit is praying to God, a Native American may hear “Praise God, praise God, praise God” coming out of my mouth.
Prayer in the spirit – tongues – is for a spiritual exchange. It’s all about communication with the Holy Spirit of God. I can say “praise God” well enough in English. So it’s not about what’s coming out of my mouth.
Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.
1 Corinthians 13:8
That’s why the gift of tongues is only a temporary gifting. It will be unneeded in our resurrected body. We need this supernatural gift right now.
All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and creatures of the sea are being tamed and have been tamed by man, 8 but no man can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.
Our tongue can be a big problem. According to James, animals can be tamed; but you can’t tame the tongue.
What’s the difference between something tame and something wild? Tame is about character. A tame dog scratches at the door when he needs to relieve himself. He’ll wait for you to feed him.
With a wild animal, it’s all instinct. They’ll do what they want whenever or wherever they are.
I’d like my tongue to be self-controlled. But it’s not going to happen all by itself.
Is a lion in a zoo tame? No; it’s simply being controlled. The fact is, you can’t tame the tongue, but it can be controlled…if you’ll let God have control of your tongue. Then the rest of your life is easy to turn over.
Have you ever noticed how easily we’ll give over control of most things to others? We’ll let hair stylists, beauticians, surgeons, and trainers take over those areas of our lives. But not the tongue.
I believe that’s why this gift is so controversial. I’ve heard people say, “Even if you convince me it’s of God, I’m still not going to seek this gift.”
That’s because tongues are about giving control to God. Prayer in the spirit is about learning to hear and yield to God. When it comes to control, that’s the one thing we don’t want to relinquish in our lives.
As believers, we should be daily giving over more and more control to the Holy Spirit.
Question: How has prayer in the spirit positively changed your life?
© 2019 Nick Zaccardi