This post is the first in a mini-series on the ‘Gifts of the Spirit’. I am going to try and explain in simple terms what the gifts are, how to get the gifts and how to step out in using them.
If you’re not sure about what gifts you may have, read my previous blog on Have you unwrapped your Gifts Yet? and see what gifts you think you have and what gifts you desire to have and use.
I am going to start this series looking at the Gift of Tongues which can be a topic which causes debate with people having different views. I am only giving my own opinion on these and my own experiences in using them so you may or may not agree and that is okay.
You may have heard about the Gift of Tongues before if you have grown up in church and for others of you it may be a completely new and mind boggling concept.
The bible first mentions the gift of tongues when the disciples, who are gathered together after Jesus’ death, have the Holy Spirit poured out on them, in what is known as Pentecost. In Acts, speaking in tongues is mentioned 3 times and linked to receiving the Holy Spirit,
Acts 2:1-4 When the day of Pentecost arrived, they were all together in one place. 2 And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. 3 And divided tongues as of fire appeared to them and rested on each one of them. 4 And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance.
Acts 10:44-46 44 Even as Peter was saying these things, the Holy Spirit fell upon all who were listening to the message. 45 The Jewish believers[a] who came with Peter were amazed that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles, too. 46 For they heard them speaking in other tongues[b]and praising God.
Acts 19:6 And when Paul had laid his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they began speaking in tongues and prophesying.
Tongues simply means ‘languages’ and the gift of tongues is to speak in a language that a person doesn’t know already because it is inspired by the Holy Spirit and is used to minister to another person, to pray when you aren’t sure what to pray, to build yourself up and to communicate directly with God through your spirit. Sometimes someone might pray out in tongues during a church service and what usually happens then is that God will give someone else present the interpretation of what that person is saying, so that all present will understand what was said and to build up and encourage the church.
Because this is a topic that causes debate within the church with some believing that all Christians can speak in tongues after receiving the Holy Spirit and some believing the opposite. I find it interesting that the bible says,
1Cor 12:30 All do not have gifts of healings, do they? All do not speak with tongues, do they? All do not interpret, do they?
So, this could lead us to think that maybe not all spirit filled Christians speak in tongues. But it is a gift and I do believe that it is not the only evidence of a person being spirit filled as you may operate in other giftings.
However, I do believe that the gift is available to all Christians and it may be a case that they haven’t asked for the gift or started trying to exercise the gift yet.
Do you desire the gift of tongues?
It really is just as simple as asking God for the gift or getting someone else to pray for you. I have been in church meetings and seen people receive this gift and start to use it there and then.
I have also seen people struggle with this gift (including myself) and feeling like they can’t speak in tongues despite praying for it or being prayed for. I find this scripture really reassuring;
Luke 11:11 “Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead?
Like most spiritual gifts there is going to be a time when the gift is still in the infancy stages and needs developing and tongues is no different. When you are a baby and you first start to make utterances you do not talk clearly. Through practice you develop a spoken language and it’s the same with the gift of tongues.
Often you may feel like you have some odd words floating around in your head and may even think you have made them up because they sound a bit silly or not like anything else you have heard before. This is a great start, honestly and I think many people feel like this and it stops you using the gift.
Now, the enemy would love nothing more than for you to think that you have made them up and his prime motive is to stop you speaking in tongues because they’re so powerful! (Just in case this is what happens to you!) If he’s making you think this you are onto a winner for sure! It’s almost like you having to bypass human thinking and processing and let the words just come straight from your mouth without over-thinking. In fact, over thinking kills tongues.
Next, you have to be courageous and speak the words out loud and then keep speaking them, even if you are just saying the one word you have over and over again. Take yourself off on your own for a walk where no one else can hear you and give it a go. The more you use what God gives you the more will come, just like learning to speak your own native language.
Don’t give in to fear and make a start putting this beautiful new language to good use and use it when you are praying, when you are going to college, work, before you speak to a friend, boss etc. This amazing new language can literally build you up and give you courage, it’s like fighting talk (in a good way) and at times it may come out of your mouth with force as you are doing battle in the spirit.
From my own personal experience fear of man and doubt that it is from God are the biggest hurdles to get over but get over them you will if you persevere with this amazing gift.
If you haven’t spoken in tongues yet but would love to, ask God for this gift or get a friend or someone at church to pray with you and then open your mouth and let it out.
Enjoy the gift and use it to bless yourself and others around you and when you don’t know what to pray in a situation pray in tongues. But most of all just pray in tongues, it changes everything.
Other Gifts of the Spirit in this series:
Speaking in Tongues