By Joyell Nevins – CFFM Blogger
Here at Christian Family Fellowship, we have seen in the Word of God and in our own lives that God is real, Jesus is Lord, and the holy spirit we receive when we acknowledge those facts is not inactive.
Yes, Ephesians tells us that we are sealed with the holy spirit of promise, and that it is the guarantee (or as the Holman Christian Standard Bible puts it, the “down payment”) of our inheritance in heaven.
“When you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and when you believed in Him, you were also sealed with the promised Holy Spirit. He is the down payment of our inheritance, for the redemption of the possession, to the praise of His glory.” Ephesians 1:13-14 HCSB
But that spirit also moves within us down here on earth! There are nine different manifestations of the spirit, like a divine toolkit, and nine fruits of the spirit. Today, we will focus on one of those manifestations:
Speaking in Tongues.
What is It?
Speaking in tongues is the “external or outward manifestation in the senses realm that gives testimony to the inward reality and presence of the holy spirit,” according to CFF co-founder John Shroyer in Living in God’s Power.
In other words, speaking in tongues is proof positive to yourself and others that you do have holy spirit inside of you, and that holy spirit is active and working! As mentioned above, there is a plethora of ways the spirit manifests in our lives.
But unlike many of the other manifestations, speaking in tongues can happen anytime, anywhere, that we choose. Even in a crowd, or in a place where quiet is required, you can “think in tongues” – speaking in tongues to yourself, inside your head.
Why Should We S.I.T.?
“I would like every one of you to speak in tongues…” I Corinthians 14:5 NIV
That is God speaking through Paul. Paul goes on to list other manifestations that we should operate, but for now, we’re stopping right here at speaking in tongues.
God never asks us to do something without a reason or a benefit, so what are some of the reasons to speak in tongues? There are at least 16 benefits given in the Word of God – today, we will look at four of them.
Benefit #1: You Know You Are Born Again
Born again is one of the Biblical phrases for salvation: when we confess with our mouth that Jesus is Lord, and believe in our heart that God raised Jesus from the dead, we are saved! We are ‘born again’ with a spiritual seed.
“For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring Word of God.” 1 Peter 1:23 NIV
My niece is continually told how much she looks like her mom or her dad – depending on her expression! There is no question of who her parents are because of the family’s physical resemblance.
But, what about when we are born again into a spiritual family, with God as our Heavenly Father? It’s not a resemblance that you can see with your physical eyes. However, speaking in tongues is a manifestation in the physical world that proves you have the spirit inside of you!
“The Spirit itself bears witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: and if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ…” Romans 8:16-17 KJV
Speaking in tongues is one of the only spiritual acts that the devil has not been able to replicate or counterfeit. It is impossible to truly speak in tongues without holy spirit, and so is a reminder to yourself that no matter what, you ARE born again and you ARE a child of God.
Benefit #2: You Get Built Up
“He who speaks in a tongue edifies himself…” I Corinthians 14:4 NKJV
“Edifies” was translated from the Greek word “oikodomew,” which was originally used to describe a housebuilder. Just like someone would build and construct a physical house for a dwelling place, speaking in tongues helps bolster your spiritual house.
When you speak in tongues, not only are you obeying and honoring God, but you get blessed or “built up” too, as Jude puts it. After all, we are God’s dwelling place – His “house,” so to speak!
“Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?” I Corinthians 3:16 NKJV
Benefit #3: You Speak Divine Mysteries (or Secrets)
How would you like to share a secret with the Heavenly Father? Speaking in tongues is a manifestation of the spirit designed solely for the individual – ONLY God understands him or her.
“For one who speaks in a tongue speaks not to men, but to God; for no one understands him, but he utters mysteries in the Spirit.” I Corinthians 14:2 ESV
That’s why when the Bible references speaking in tongues in a group setting, we are always told to speak in tongues with interpretation or prophesy in the common tongue, so that everyone around us can be edified, too.
BUT when you’re by yourself or in your own head, what a special opportunity to communicate with the Lord in your own ‘heavenly language.’
Benefit #4: You Pray For Just What Is Needed
Have you ever been in a situation where you know a friend is hurting, but don’t know why? Is there a plight in your neighborhood or world, and you know it needs to be fixed, but you don’t know how?
Pray in tongues! Romans shares with us that when we speak in tongues, the spirit inside helps us prays for exactly what is needed.
In Romans chapter 8, Paul has just finished talking about the Hope that we have to look forward to, even if we don’t know exactly when Jesus Christ is coming back.
“Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities [weakness]: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God.” Romans 8:26-27 KJV
Joseph Prince put it this way: “When we pray in tongues or in the holy spirit, we can never pray out of God’s will because the holy spirit ‘makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God.’ In other words, we pray perfect prayers in line with God’s will when we pray in tongues.”
So whether it’s to remind yourself that you’re born again, speak divine mysteries, build yourself up, or pray when you don’t know how to pray, speaking in tongues is a powerful tool that God has given us. Let’s live and walk in the spirit on the daily!
“But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.” Jude 1:20-21 NKJV