Tongues: Understanding The Gift of the Holy Spirit
The gift of tongues, the uses for it, and the necessities of it has not been met with too much consensus amongst Christians. Instead of basing our ideas on traditions and opinions let’s have a biblical study of what the bible says about tongues and why it is so crucial for the modern church to emphasize its use.
A Short History on Tongues
The first time we see believers being filled with the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking in tongues is in the New Testament in the book of Acts. As Jesus was preparing to be crucified He forewarned His disciples of His imminent death. He also promised them that upon His return back to heaven God would send The Spirit of Truth, or the Holy Spirit, whom would act as a helper to them (John 14:16). Even after he resurrected, Jesus confirmed that the Holy Spirit would indeed still be coming to encounter them. He even instructed them not to leave the city to preach until the Holy Spirit came to baptize them, assuring them that they would receive power once the Spirit came upon them. (Acts 1:5) Not too long after Jesus ascended into the heavens this prophecy came to pass in the second book of Acts.
“And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. Then there appeared to them divided tongues of fire, and one sat upon each of them. and they were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.” Acts 2:2-4
After this Baptism of the Holy Spirit the disciples were now empowered to boldly preach, (even Peter, the uneducated disciple who denied Jesus three times) speak in tongues, move in miracles, signs, and wonders, and the church grew at an exponential rate through the power of God working through them as the Holy Spirit.
So what exactly is tongues?
Tongues is a gift from the Holy Spirit. Just as Jesus comes with the gift of eternal life, so does the Holy Spirit not come empty-handed. When we are baptized with the Holy Spirit and start to speak in tongues it is the expression of the Holy Spirit. Every believer has a portion of the Holy Spirit but when we are baptized with the Holy Spirit (not be confused with water baptism) this means we are completely immersed and overflowed with the Spirit of God. This gives Him the power to work through us and not just in us. When we speak in tongues we are allowing the Holy Spirit, the most powerful spirit in the universe, to pray and declare things through us. It is a heavenly language which means that as we speak it, we are declaring heaven on earth. If you want to prophesy, move in miracles, or pray for the sick and see them healed, it is crucial to be empowered by the Holy Spirit. He is the power of the Holy Trinity and as we know we cannot do those things in our own strength but only by the power of the holy spirit that works through us!
Misconceptions of tongues
You have to be super holy or religious to speak in tongues.
Tongues is a basic part of Christianity meaning that it is possible to receive salvation and be baptized with the holy spirit with the evidence of speaking in tongues both in the same day. It is God’s will that every believer would speak in tongues because it supernaturally empowers us to live righteously and bring His Kingdom on earth as it is in heaven.
Only a few chosen people can receive the gift.
Tongues is one of the nine gifts made available by the Holy Spirit. If you want all 9 of the gifts then God will be more than pleased to give you all of them if you ask and believe for he is not a respecter of persons. “If you then, being evil know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more your heavenly Father give the holy spirit to those who ask him.” (Luke 11:13)
Tongues is a scary phenomenon
It is a mystery that could only be understood through a spiritual lens but it not in the least bit scary. Some people think when they receive the Holy Spirit they will not be able to control when and where they start speaking in tongues but it is a conscious effort that you will be able to make. Just as when you open your mouth to speak English you can control it, you will also be able to control when you speak in tongues. Holy Spirit is also a gentleman so He will never force himself on you unless you want Him too.
Tongues was only for the early church.
The early church illustrated in the book of Acts is what every modern church should aspire to be like. Not only did God add to their numbers daily but they had great dominion over the kingdom of darkness. They were empowered to heal the sick, prophesy, cast out demons etc. It is no coincidence that Jesus instructed them to wait for the Holy Spirit to baptize them before starting to preach the gospel because He knew that without the Holy Spirit they would not be able to move in miracles, signs, and wonders. If the church of today want power and not just another dry religion or dry church service it is important that the members are all baptized with the Holy Spirit so they can be empowered to move in these dimensions.
Why should we speak in Tongues
We pray the perfect will of God-Rom 8:26-28
We are edified & strengthened- 1 Cor 14:4
We increase our faith -Jude 1:20
We receive the capacity to understand the mysteries of God and receive revelation from him. -1 Cor 2:9-11
How to receive The Gift of the Holy Spirit
Ask and Believe–
For some, it may be a matter of praying for a minute, for others it may take months of praying but ask and believe that God will give you exactly what you prayed for.
Receive it and don’t doubt-
The biggest obstacle in speaking in tongues is our minds. We start thinking that it is us who is speaking gibberish because it can feel mechanical. Don’t think about it too hard, just say the first syllables that comes to your head and trust that it is the Holy Spirit doing the talking. A lot of people have the gift but allow it to remain dormant because they have trouble believing with their mind that they have received the gift. Remember, the currency of the kingdom of God is faith so you cannot access anything in His kingdom without having faith that you can and will receive it.
Keep building it up.
Like a baby first learning to talk you may find that when you are first baptized with the Holy Spirit you can only say one or two syllables over and over. The more you use your tongues the more fluent you will become in it but the only way to become fluent is if you practice. Try speaking in tongues as you’re in the shower, cleaning the house, driving to work, or any other chance you get and you will soon find your tongues to be more fluent and complex.
In conclusion don’t be afraid or turned off by the Gift of tongues because every good and perfect gift comes from above. Our father thought it was a good idea to bless us with this gift to empower us so it must be for our benefit! If you have any questions, comments, or concerns we would love to hear it in the comments below.
God bless you!