Why did God do it that way? What would it accomplish for His church to speak in other tongues that originated from their born-again, baptized spirits and not from their natural learning?
God chose speaking in tongues because the tongue is the most powerful and influential member of the body (see James 3:1-12; Prov. 18:21; 1 Cor. 14:2). The father of all miracles is God’s transformation of a sinner into a saint, and the mother of all miracles is the Spirit taming the tongue by having it speak a language that it didn’t learn and doesn’t understand.
Just as Jesus gave many infallible proofs of His resurrection, the authors of the New Testament gave many infallible proofs that the gift of the Holy Spirit with speaking in tongues was for all believers during the Church Age and for all generations to come (see Acts 2:38).
The Old Testament prophets spoke of the Holy Spirit’s gift of tongues. On the day of Pentecost, the apostle Peter referred to Joel’s prophecy to explain how the early believers were speaking unknown languages (see Acts 2:16-21). And in 1 Corinthians 14:21, Paul quotes the prophet Isaiah when instructing the church on the operation of the gift of tongues.
In the Gospels, John the Baptist prophesied that Jesus would baptize His followers with the Holy Spirit and fire (see Luke 3:15-16). And in the book of Acts, the gift of tongues was the sign that convinced the apostle Peter that gentiles could become children of God without first becoming proselyte Jews (see Acts 10:44-48, 11:1-18).
Jesus promised in John 14 to send the Holy Spirit, and the manifestation that came with His gift was not wind, fire or feeling God’s presence. It was speaking in tongues. God wanted it that way, and that should be incentive enough to receive the gift and speak in tongues (see Acts 2:4-11; 1 Cor. 14:5,39-40).
If that isn’t sufficient for a believer, however, there’s another major reason for receiving the gift of the Holy Spirit: Because Jesus commanded His followers to wait for it (see Acts 1:4). He paid a great price to fulfill His promise. He died, rose and, in order to send the Holy Spirit with His gift of speaking in tongues, ascended back to the Father (see John 16:7).
If everyone knew all the benefits of praying in tongues, they would want to receive the gift. The Holy Spirit is our helper, comforter, intercessor and faithful friend. Praying in tongues empowers us when we are weak, comforts us when we are saddened by life’s circumstances and enables intercession for us according to the will of God.
When we don’t know how to pray as we should, we can turn the intercession over to the Holy Spirit, and it will go directly to the heart of the matter with the wisdom and power of God to meet the need. Using the spirit language, we can wage spiritual warfare against unseen enemies.
Praying in tongues fills us with the love of God, and it enables us to manifest the fruit of the Spirit and the mighty gifts of the Holy Spirit. This is why Jesus told His disciples it was best for them that He go back to the Father and send them the Holy Spirit, who would bring them the greatest gift of praying in their own spirit language.
How grieved the Holy Spirit must be when God’s people don’t receive His special gift. May all Christians fulfill Jesus’ command to receive the gift of the Holy Spirit and embrace all He has to offer.
Bill Hamon is the founder and bishop of the Christian International Ministries Network, a coalition of more than 3,700 ministers. He is working on a book that will give 70 reasons that Christians should embrace speaking in tongues.
Discover how science has validated the practice of glossolalia at tongues.charismamag.com
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