Is it necessary for a Christian to speak in tongues?
Yesterday I put up a post about the Holy Spirit. As expected, there was a vibrant conversation in the comments section from a few very faithful commenters. I’m so so grateful for those of you who actively engage with me and my blog through comments, private messages, and everything in between. May God bless you all. Anyway, today I want to highlight a very important comment from the conversation yesterday. As we're all setting our spiritual goals for the year, this post is particularly pertinent. Please enjoy. That’s basically today’s post. Regular programming will be back tomorrow (or Sunday) hehe.
The influence of the Holy Spirit in the life of the believer goes beyond speaking in tongues but also includes it. And there are a lot listed in the new testament.
Some ways the Holy Spirit helps the Christian is:
- Revelation and interpretation of the word of God – both written and living (Jesus). [2 Timothy 3:16-17; John 16:12-13; John 14:26]
- Through the Holy Spirit we are lifted unto a supernatural plane of living and get to taste of the power of the age to come. [Hebrews 6:4-5]
- In the place of prayer, He gives supernatural direction, power and ability when we pray.
He does this through some of these ways but the list is not exhaustive
– He comes to help us pray because we cannot pray. There are certain prayers we must pray but cannot pray because of our weak and finite minds, but the Holy Spirit helps us to pray in such times (mostly these are prayers of intercession). And until we’ve engaged in such prayer, we don’t birth certain things. This is a sacred experience every Christian can have. [Isaiah 66:8; Galatians 4:19]
– He renews our mind, illuminates it and guides us to pray according to God’s will. Only a renewed mind can find out God’s will even in the place of prayer. [Romans 12:2; Ephesians 4:23]
– He puts the right words in our mouth even as we pray.
– In 1 Corinthians 14:2&4, Paul talks about an unknown language. This is a language not known to men. This is a language that when spoken, only God understands (such profound privilege). We share God’s secrets when we speak this language. We also edify ourselves when we speak this language. This language is tongues. Speaking in tongues (prayer language) is different from the gift of speaking in diverse kinds of tongues in 1 Corinthians 12. To not speak it is to miss all these benefits.
– In 1 Corinthians 14:14, Paul states two important things: He speaks in tongues – which renders his mind unfruitful. He also prays with his mind in a known language. We must not use one at the exclusion of the other; they must go hand in hand for a rich prayer life.
Speaking in tongues might not be compulsory and it is not the only sign that you have the Holy Spirit, but it is very necessary for a deeper and richer spiritual life especially in the place of prayer.
One way I’ve always used to explain the gifts of the Holy Spirit and our response to them (since I first heard it) is the imagery of the story of Abraham sending his servant to look for a bride for his son. When the servant found Rebecca, he gave her gifts right at the river, he gave her more when they went to her father’s house. All the gifts the servant carried were for the prospective bride and family. A refusal of the gifts – especially the first one would’ve been a refusal of the master of the gifts (Abraham and Isaac).
Abraham in this story can be likened to God, Isaac to Jesus, and the servant to the Holy Spirit. Just as the servant went with gifts looking for a bride for Isaac, the Holy Spirit has also come with gifts to prepare the bride of Christ for Him – which is the church. Now you’ve accepted the first gift which is salvation so you’re now part of the bride of Christ awaiting His return for us.
Apart from salvation, the Holy Spirit has a lot of other gifts for the bride – of which you are part – and you (the entire church for that matter) can choose to take them or not. They are for us. It’s not a matter of “whether or not it’s necessary for our walk or not ot whether we’ve reached that point or not”, because obviously it is. It is a matter of, will we ask for what is rightfully ours? Will we accept it if it is being offered?
I think salvation is accepting the marriage proposal of Jesus Christ and that qualifies us for eternity with Him. But all the gifts are ours and intended for our enjoyment here on earth. So Instead of thinking and settling with the belief that you might not need it, I will encourage you to renew your mind and begin to think you need it and you deserve it. And pray earnestly for it. I trust God with all my heart to give it to you without hesitation. [Luke 11:13; Romans 8:33]
Also on the possibility of God allowing “The Holy Spirit to communicate with us in a state we are comfortable in”… What I believe is the Holy Spirit is always moving. He’s been moving since the beginning and he hasn’t stopped. To keep in step with Him, we have to be moving too. He seldom relates to us in our comfort zones.
Moving is not always comfortable and it is so in our relationship with the Holy Spirit. He will always stretch us and stretching is uncomfortable. So if we are looking to be in our comfort zones and still keep an active relationship with the Holy Spirit, I think we will lose Him and not even realize it long after he’s gone. He will always be calling us higher. He will always be calling us deeper.
Thanks of course to Kwadwo-Truimph for this exhaustive comment. God's blessings today and always.
Featured image from here.