by Pastor Tim Burt
Why is it that people have such a hard time admitting that they need help? Is it for reasons of pride – the very stumbling block that caused Satan himself to fall? We do need help in this life and God knows it. And God has given us gifts to help us!
When a person receives Jesus as his/her Savior, they enter into a new relationship with God. Jesus called it being “born again” (John 3:3) Upon receiving Jesus, the Holy Spirit comes to live within you. He does so to help you see life through God’s eyes. He makes the scriptures come alive like a letter written to you! The Apostle Paul describes one’s new life like this: “What this means is that those who become Christians become new persons. They are not the same anymore, for the old life is gone. A new life has begun!” (2 Corinthians 5:7)
We live in a defiled world of sin that works to drag you down and negatively influence you. We need God’s help to live a whole-hearted Christian life. You can admit that can’t you? To that end, God offers His help – supernatural help – through supernatural gifts called the “gifts of the Holy Spirit.” It’s amazing how many people who call themselves Christians knowing nothing about these gifts and yet the Apostle Paul said, “Now about spiritual gifts, brothers, I do not want you to be ignorant.” (1 Cor. 12:1)
1 Cor. 14:1 tells us to “desire spiritual gifts.” We find the gifts in 1 Cor. 12:7-11. For this short devotion, I am focusing on just the gift of tongues. “But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all…different kinds of tongues…”
There are a number of books written on the gifts of the Spirit but much of what is written is written by men that have never experienced them. They write against what they don’t understand. They teach that spiritual gifts were something for the early church and don’t exist today. They write from a theological view – trying to understand them from their head rather than their heart and through experience. They write about them but really don’t know what they are talking about. They’ve never opened their heart to them. And they blatantly overlook the Apostle Paul’s directive in 1 Corinthians 14:39 “… and forbid not to speak with tongues.” Babies are a fact of life but ladies, will a man ever really understand what it is like to be pregnant and deliver a child? Not like you can. Experience does matter!
If you’ve read different epistles by the Apostle Paul, you would have noticed that he often talked about his consistent prayers for the different churches he planted. I assure you that Paul wasn’t praying some recited prayers from a prayer book. He knew what Jesus taught in Mat 6:7.”And when you pray, do not pray vain repetitions like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many prayers.” Repetition of the same prayers over and over is called vain repetition. Paul didn’t do that. What did he do? He prayed in the Spirit and he did so often. “I thank God that I speak in tongues more than all of you.” (1 Cor 14:18)
In church Paul taught that it was important to communicate with words in the common language that people understood. But beyond the four walls of the church he prayed in tongues more than anyone. Why? Because He needed help! He didn’t know what to pray. He didn’t know what the people needed. He didn’t know how to meet their needs. He didn’t have the capacity personally to meet their needs. But he knew that God did! And so he yielded himself to the Holy Spirit to pray though him in unknown tongues.
You can only pray so far with your human understanding before you begin to repeat yourself over and over. There is so much that God knows that needs to be prayed that you don’t know. Praying in tongues is yielding yourself to be a vessel for the Holy Spirit to pray through. Paul appreciated and thanked God for this gift. He understood his own limitations. He abandoned his pride and got out of the way. He prayed in the Spirit more than anyone. “I thank God that I speak in tongues more than all of you.” (1 Cor 14:18)
This gift has dimensions greater than simply praying for others. It prays the perfect will of God and edifies you in the process. 1 Cor. 14:4 (NLT) says it like this, “A person who speaks in tongues is strengthened personally in the Lord…”
This is why I am so thankful for all of the gifts of God, but especially that gift of tongues. Not only does it help me pray out the perfect will of God, but it also builds me up! I don’t know how a Christian makes it through life without this precious gift from God!
1 Cor. 14:2 For anyone who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God. Indeed, no one understands him; he utters mysteries with his spirit.”
Jude 1:20 (NIV) “But you, dear friends, build yourselves up in your most holy faith and pray in the Holy Spirit.”
In His Love,
Pastor Tim Burt
Published by Pastor Tim Burt
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