The verbal gifts of the Holy Spirit - the practicalities of tongues
The practicalities of using the gift of tongues
There seems to be two main roles for the gift of tongues.
1. The manifestation that often occurs at the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Thereafter it is used for communicating messages to God.
2. The operation of the gift to communicate a message from God to the church.
Although not all spirit filled Christians do talk in tongues, they have the ability. If you are in that position and would like to operate in the gift of tongues, we will be discussing how to remove any hindrances. Some people just seem to take off either speaking or singing in tongues right away. Others pick it up a few words at a time!
Possible hindrances to speaking in tongues.
1. Fear or shyness; sometimes people are called forward at meetings and are prayed for and told ‘just start speaking in tongues!’. This can be a nightmare for people who are very shy and would not even speak in English in front of a group of people! Such people who are shy should be allowed to manifest the gift of tongues at home or in a small supportive group. We need to be sensitive when ministering in this area. Sometimes at a meeting where most of the congregation are speaking in tongues it is much easier for the first timer to just join in.
2. Ignorance; some people believe that speaking in tongues is involuntary. That is not the case since scripture is clear that we have control over the gift, since we can speak quietly in tongues or sing or shout in tongues. Some people have been filled with the Spirit for many years and want to speak in tongues but do not realise that the gift is operated by faith with our co-operation.
Sometimes new tongue talkers get stuck repeating one phrase and need to ask the Lord to develop their tongue. Many spirit-filled believers operate in more than one tongue and seem to be able to recognise the change of tone.
When the new tongue-talker hears the words coming out of their mouths they sometimes think that is just coming from themselves. However, we must have the humility to admit that we would not recognise most other known languages if we heard them. If a small boy were learning French and said to his dad ‘oui oui’ or ‘bon bon’ then his dad might say ‘wee wee’ and ‘bon bon’ are not French words, but he would be wrong. Likewise, we will not recognise the syllables and words in our other tongues.
Although counterfeit tongues are exceedingly rare, if you are not sure about your tongue whether it sounds fight or not ask a small group of believers (or your leaders) to listen to it to see how it sounds to them.
3. Unbelief; sometimes people can be in bondage over this gift and need a prayer of deliverance to set them free to move in the gift. Bondage can be brought about through sitting under wrong teaching on tongues or might even be due to fear of man about looking or sounding silly in front of others. We need to realise that the gift of tongues was a normal part of the spirit-filled church life in the new testament church.
Why is God so interested in our tongue?
James 3:8 But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.
9 Therewith bless we God, even the Father; and therewith curse we men, which are made after the similitude of God.
10 Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be.
God knows that we need to sanctify our tongues and when we are speaking in other tongues in a sense God is taking control of our tongues whilst we still retain overall control. If the Lord can gain control of our tongue, then He can be begun to take over the rest of our lives as well!
When we are using tongues as a manifestation of the baptism in the Holy Spirit, we are praying to God, and we can all do it together. God can hear all of us at once! (remember the day of Pentecost).
However, when the direction changes to when God wants to speak to the church a different rule applies. Usually only one person speaks in tongues at a time, and everyone listens because we are not like God and able to receive all the tongues at once.
Although most tongues that can be translated by someone present give glory to God, very rarely there might be an impression of something wrong with a tongue. In such a case a prayer of deliverance is needed. remember, when you ask God for something good that is what He gives, not something bad!
When a tongue is given in a meeting someone should bring forth the interpretation in English (or other Indigenous language depending on location).