For he who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God, for no one understands him; however, in the spirit he speaks mysteries...He who speaks in a tongue edifies himself...I wish you all spoke with tongues. 1 Corinthians 14:2,4,5
Have you ever heard someone speaking in tongues? If you have, and you do not understand what they are doing, then chances are very good that it was an odd experience for you that left you questioning and uncomfortable.
No matter where you are concerning tongues, let me clear things up for you. First, speaking in tongues is a gift of the Holy Spirit that does still exist today. And in saying that it is a gift, I mean that it is a good thing that the Holy Spirit gives us. Whether it is weird or mysterious does not take away from it being good.
Second, speaking in tongues has boundaries and a purpose. Paul tells us that it is no use to speak in tongues corporately when we gather together for worship because anyone who comes and is not aware of tongues will be freaked out and never come back. More than that, speaking in tongues does nothing to build up the body as a whole, but is rather a gift for each of us as individuals.
Our verses for today tell us that tongues edify the one who uses them, or in other words it builds them up, making their own faith and walk with God stronger. In this way, it is obviously a good thing to both desire and use.
If not corporately, when should we speak in tongues, then? We should speak in tongues sometimes when we pray-as a prayer language-praying both in our natural language and in our spiritual one.
Some people also speak in tongues in working among the nations. God gives them supernatural ability to speak and understand the language around them so they can serve Him better where He has called them.
Lastly, tongues can also be used with someone who has the gift of interpretation of tongues. God can give one person a message that they speak in tongues, and then give someone else the gift of interpretation to understand the person who is speaking in tongues.
Tongues can be weird, but they are from God, they are a good thing, and they have boundaries. Ask God for this gift today. You might be surprised at the impact it has in your life.
Prayer Holy Spirit,
Thank You for giving gifts to us! I don't know if I understand the gift of speaking in tongues, but I believe that it is a good thing. Will you please give me this gift and teach me how to rightly use it?