C H A P T E R 1 3
MORE SCRIPTURAL PURPOSES FOR SPEAKING WITH OTHER TONGUES
So far we have focused on three primary purposes of speaking with other tongues. One, tongues provide a divine, supernatural means of communicating with God. Two, tongues provide personal and spiritual building up or edification to the spirit of man. And three, by praying in tongues, we know we are praying out God’s perfect will. However, many more marvelous benefits await us as we yield ourselves to the Holy Ghost and allow Him to give us supernatural
utterance. Let’s look at several more benefits that demonstrate the great
value of tongues.
Tongues: A Means of Magnifying God
Acts 10 gives us another scriptural purpose for speaking with other
tongues: It is a means by which we can magnify God. Let’s read what happened when Cornelius and his household
received this supernatural experience.
45 And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the GIFT OF THE HOLY GHOST.
46 For they heard them SPEAK WITH TONGUES, and MAGNIFY GOD.
Notice that phrase in verse 46: “speak with tongues, and magnify God.” We know that the word “magnify” means to make something bigger. But can God be made any bigger than what He already is? From His standpoint, of course, the answer is no. But from our standpoint, God can be magnified or made larger in our estimation, and speaking with tongues is one means whereby He becomes bigger to us. I noticed this particular purpose of speaking in tongues early on in my ministry. Before I was filled with the Spirit, I was still a teenager between the ages of 18 and 20, yet I was already a pastor of a small denominational church. And, of course, I had all the tests and temptations of any young person. But I noticed a change after I was filled with the Holy Ghost, spoke with other tongues, and began to pray in tongues every day. When I’d face those same tests and temptations, I had an added power to pass the tests and resist the temptations. Before I received the Holy Ghost and began to pray every day in tongues, I’d sometimes just “skim by.” But afterward, it became much easier to live as an overcomer in those areas. Why? Because I was magnifying God, He became bigger in my life. If you remember, I told you earlier what happened after I received the Holy Ghost in the little community church where I pastored. For two years, I never even mentioned to anyone (except privately to Mr. Cox) that I had received the Holy Ghost or that I spoke with other tongues. But after a while, people in my congregation began to say to me, “Something has happened to you. You have more power than you used to have. When you preach now, your words are so powerful, it almost knocks us off the pew!” You see, after I received the Holy Ghost and started speaking with other tongues, Jesus was magnified in my preaching. He became bigger in my life! People should say the same thing about you when they look at your life. Just determine to pray every day in other tongues, and let God be magnified more and more in your life. As a result, you’ll begin to walk in His power to an extent you have not yet seen. People will begin to notice the difference, and they’ll want what you have!
Speaking in Tongues Helps Us Stay Conscious of the Holy Spirit’s Presence
Here is an important fact about the value of speaking with tongues: although speaking with tongues is the initial sign or evidence of the Holy Spirit’s infilling, continuing to pray and worship God in tongues helps us to be ever conscious of His indwelling Presence. This one benefit alone is bound to affect the way we live.
In John 14, Jesus talked about the Holy Spirit’s abiding Presence in the lives of believers.
16 And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may ABIDE WITH YOU for ever;
17 Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth WITH you, and shall be IN you.
It would behoove us to stay conscious of the Holy Spirit’s divine, holy Presence in our lives, for He is ever abiding with us
and living within us. I heard an evangelist give a testimonial along this line a number of years ago that was very helpful. It helped me understand this particular benefit of praying in tongues, so I’ve used it as an illustration ever since. The evangelist related an incident that happened when he was staying with a pastor and his family in the parsonage while holding a meeting in their church. The evangelist said, “I usually took a one-hour walk after the noon meal to get a little exercise. Then I’d come back and get ready for the evening service. But on
this particular day, I had some letters I needed to write and mail, so I went to my room first. My plan was to take the letters to mail when I went for a walk later.” The pastor and his wife had only one child, a 12-year-old daughter.
This daughter didn’t know their guest was still in the house; she thought he was out taking his afternoon walk as he normally did. So when something happened to make her angry with her mother, the young girl threw a temper tantrum and talked ugly to her mother.
Just about that time, the evangelist came out of the bedroom and into the living room. When the daughter looked up and saw their guest standing there listening to her tantrum, she turned white and started to cry. She wept, “Oh, forgive me, forgive me! I’m so sorry you saw me act this way and heard me speak like this!” The evangelist took the young girl by the hand and led her over to a chair to kneel down. Then he said, “Well, I forgive you. But there is a Greater One on the inside of you Who also heard you. And if you’ll repent, the Lord will forgive you too.” So the girl repented and began to weep and pray, “Lord, please forgive me.” After a while, the girl started praying and worshiping God in other tongues and got over into the Spirit. Then the evangelist asked her, “Do you often pray in other tongues and worship God like that?” “No, not often,” she answered. “Well, I want you to promise me something. I want you to pray in other tongues every day from this day forward. I’m not talking about rattling off a few words in tongues. I want you to take time to wait before God and pray in other tongues for at least 30 minutes a day. “If you’ll do that, it will help you become more conscious of the Holy Spirit’s Presence on the inside of you, and it will affect the way you live. When you’re conscious of His indwelling Presence, you’re not going to fly off the handle and lose your temper anymore.” The young girl tearfully agreed to pray in tongues every day. Of course, we all know born-again, Spirit-filled people who lose their temper and say a lot of things they shouldn’t. But that doesn’t need to happen. Believers act in the flesh because they’re not conscious of the Holy Spirit’s abiding Presence within them. About two and a half years later, the evangelist returned to this church to hold another meeting. The young lady was now about 15 years old. After the service, she took the evangelist aside and asked, “Do you remember what you said to me when you were here a few years ago?” “Yes, I do.” “Well, I’ve done what you told me to do,” the girl said. “Every single day I pray at least 30 minutes in other tongues. And I want you to know that I haven’t talked ugly or lost my temper one single time since then—not with Momma or anyone else!”Praying in tongues on a daily basis helped this young girl become more conscious of the HolySpirit’s indwelling Presence, and it affected the way she lived. The same thing can happen to us when we make a daily practice of praying in tongues. There are many things we wouldn’t say or do if we were more conscious of the Holy Spirit’s Presence in us.
Tongues Aid You in Worshiping God
Speaking with other tongues will not only make you more aware of the Holy Spirit’s Presence in your life, but it will also aid you in worshiping God. In the process, your spirit will become more sensitive to the things of God, and your taste for natural things will be affected—even things that aren’t necessarily bad in themselves. Let me give you an illustration. For instance, in the years I was a pastor, we only had a radio; there was no television in those days. Our
parsonage was next door to the church, and I remember coming into our home many times after spending time at the church, worshiping God in the Spirit and praying with other tongues. Sometimes when I walked in the door, music would be playing on the radio, and I remember how it affected me. My wife and I never listened to a bunch of junk on the radio, nor did we watch junk on TV later on, as far as that is concerned (and certainly
there’s a lot of junk on both radio and television!). But I discovered something during those years about the effect praying and worshiping God in other tongues had on me. Sometimes after a time of intimate fellowship with God, I’d come back home so conscious of His Presence, and my wife would be
cleaning the house, playing so-called Gospel music on the radio in the background. It wasn’t that the music was bad. That kind of music is good, clean entertainment. But to me, it sounded like someone was beating on the lid of a bucket! Some of the songs weren’t even scriptural. I couldn’t even listen to that music because I’d just been in the holy,
hallowed Presence of the Holy Spirit, and I was highly conscious of His Presence within me. Please understand—I didn’t say that this kind of entertainment is wrong. I just wanted to get the thought over to you that speaking with other tongues is a devotional gift, given to help you worship and praise God. Worshiping God in tongues will make you more conscious of the Holy Spirit’s indwelling Presence. It will make you hungrier for God and less drawn to things of this natural realm. Howard Carter was a pioneer of the Pentecostal Movement and the general supervisor of the Assemblies of God in Great Britain for many years. He was also the founder of the oldest Pentecostal Bible school in the world and was recognized in Full Gospel circles worldwide as an outstanding teacher. Carter once made a statement about this purpose of speaking in other tongues that I never forgot. He said: “We must not forget that speaking with other tongues is not only the initial evidence of the Holy Spirit’s infilling, but it is a continual experience for the rest of one’s life to assist us in the worship of God.” Then he went on to say this: “Speaking in tongues is a flowing stream that should never dry up and that will enrich one’s life spiritually.” Those of us who continually pray and worship God in other tongues experience the spiritual enrichment provided by this supernatural gift!
Tongues Stimulate Faith
You’ll also find that praying in tongues stimulates faith. We already looked at Jude 20. It says, “But ye, beloved, BUILDING UP YOURSELVES ON YOUR MOST HOLY FAITH, praying in the Holy
Ghost.” And we’ve established the fact that praying in the Holy Ghost or
praying in the Spirit refers, at least in part, to praying in other tongues. We can conclude, then, that as we pray in tongues, we stimulate our own faith. However, tongues will not give us faith. As Romans 10:17
says, “Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” If you’re a believer, you already have faith. But now you must build yourself up on your most holy faith. Charge yourself up in faith! How do you do that? By praying in the Holy Ghost. When we pray in the Spirit, the Holy Ghost supernaturally directs
the words we speak. You see, we must exercise our faith in order to speak in other tongues. We don’t know what the next word will be, so we just have to keep trusting the Holy Spirit to give it to us. Well,trusting God in one area is going to help us trust Him in other areas—and that’s going to stimulate our faith. Some people have heard faith teaching for years and years. They try to believe God to meet their needs, and they receive some results. However, many times they don’t receive the results they ought to because they’re not taking the time to build themselves up on their most holy faith—stimulating the faith they already have—praying in the Holy Ghost. You see, when you want to keep your body physically fit, you exercise it, and as a result, your body becomes more keen and alert. In the same way, if you want to keep your spirit keen and alert, you need to exercise it as well. And praying in other tongues is one of the greatest spiritual exercises there is, along with feeding your spirit on God’s Word. Since praying in tongues stimulates faith, it also helps you learn to trust God more fully in every area. When I first began in the ministry and pastored that little country church I told you about, one of the women who went to the church suffered from severe ulcers of the stomach. She and her husband had a denominational church background. This woman’s husband told me, “I didn’t tell my wife yet, but the doctors told me that my wife has stomach cancer and there is nothing further they can do. I have already spent more than $10,000 trying to get her healed.” That doesn’t sound like much these days. But back in the 1930s, $10,000 was a lot of money. After all, you could buy a Cadillac with all the bells and whistles for $875. You could rent a three-bedroom house for 10 dollars a month. Your monthly electric bill was only about one dollar. Your monthly gas bill was about 50 cents, and a loaf of bread cost a nickel! Back during Depression days, men worked 30 days for 30 dollars, and a dollar a day was considered good pay. So for this husband to spend $10,000 to try to cure his wife’s illness constituted a real fortune] The husband continued, “We’d just about paid for our home, but I had to sell it and use the equity to pay my wife’s medical bills. I also sold my automobile and all of our furniture to pay for her medical expenses. Now we live in a little furnished apartment.”
This dear lady cooked meals for her family but couldn’t eat the food
herself because she just couldn’t keep any food on her stomach. She’d
eat a little baby food, but even that she would often vomit up. The
woman looked like skin and bones.
Then the family began to attend the Full Gospel Tabernacle, and I
didn’t see them for a while. One day I decided I’d go visit them, but I
didn’t expect what I saw when I walked into their house. There was this
very woman, eating greasy foods, and I could tell she was enjoying it
My eyes got as big as saucers. The woman looked up and smiled. She
said, “Yes, this is me! I’m eating anything I want. In fact, last night I had
chili for the first time in nearly 10 years! It didn’t bother me a bit, and I
don’t have any symptoms. My stomach is perfectly healed!”
I’d laid hands on this woman and prayed for her healing, and I knew
other ministers had as well. I’d tried to teach her faith to the extent that I
knew it at that time. But remember, I was just a boy preacher when this
happened. Nothing seemed to help her.
I asked the woman, “How did you receive your healing?”
“I got baptized with the Holy Ghost down at the Full Gospel church!”
she exclaimed. “I was praying and seeking the Holy Ghost at the altar
when the power of God came on me. I didn’t exactly fall, but it was
easier for me just to lie down under that power than it was to stay
upright. So with my eyes shut I just lay down between the altar and
platform and kept praising God in English.”
The woman continued, “Even though my eyes were shut, I
suddenly saw a beam of light about the width of a pencil come
down through the ceiling and strike me in the forehead. Then I
began to speak in this unknown tongue—and ever since then, I’ve been well!”
I saw the woman again a year later, and she was still perfectly healed! I kept hearing testimonies like this woman’s. Then later I got baptized in the Holy Ghost and spoke in other tongues myself.
In the years that followed, I saw this kind of healing happen again and again. I don’t mean just one or two cases. I mean
physical healing at the same time a person got baptized in the Spirit was a frequent occurrence!I met folks who, like this woman, had been seeking healing without success for a long time. Many had asked every healing evangelist who came to town to lay hands on them, yet for some reason, they couldn’t seem to get healed. But when they got baptized with the Holy Ghost, these same people were instantly healed! I just couldn’t figure it out, but I was determined to try. I’m just that way. It may take me days, weeks, or months to find an answer to something I don’t understand, but eventually, I will find the answer! So I kept studying and meditating and asking questions. Finally, I got a revelation about what Jude 20 says: ” . . building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost.” Speaking with tongues stimulates a person’s faith, and believing God in one area helps that person believe God in another area. That’s what happened to these people who needed healing. When they got filled with the Holy Spirit and started speaking in tongues, it stimulated their faith—or stirred up the faith they already had—and helped them receive the healing they were unable to receive before.
Gives Spiritual Refreshing
Here’s another value we derive from praying in tongues: Speaking
with other tongues gives us spiritual refreshing. We find this scriptural
purpose for tongues in Isaiah 28.
11 For with STAMMERING LIPS and
ANOTHER TONGUE will he speak to this people.
12 To whom he said, This is the rest
wherewith ye may cause the weary to REST; and this is the REFRESHING ____
Notice those two words “rest” and “refreshing.” That sounds good, doesn’t it? But what is the rest and the refreshing this passage of Scripture refers to? There’s a hint of the answer in the words
“stammering lips” and “another tongue” in verse 11. But the answer is fully revealed in the New Testament. We experience God’s rest and refreshing when we get filled with the Spirit and speak with other tongues
In some cases, a doctor will recommend a rest cure to someone under his care. People sometimes go on a vacation for their rest cure, but when they return home, they often need to rest from their vacation before they go back to work!
However, I know the best rest cure in the world. We can take this rest cure every day, and it doesn’t cost us anything! “With stammering lips and another tongue”—this is the rest wherewith
you may cause the weary to rest!
And I’ll go so far as to say this: Anyone who takes advantage of God’s rest cure on a daily basis will never have a nervous breakdown. You can say what you want to—that’s absolutely true!
I’ll tell you, in these days of turmoil, perplexity, and anxiety, we need spiritual rest and refreshing as never before. And God has provided a means for us to receive the refreshing we need by
speaking in other tongues. We need rest and refreshing! And, thank God, we can enjoy this spiritual rest cure every day of our lives. Whenever we want to, we can rest and be refreshed by speaking in the Holy Ghost!
The Best Way to Give Thanks
Paul gives us another reason we should pray in tongues.
Tongues provide the best way to give thanks.
1 CORINTHIANS 14:14-17
14 For if I pray in an unknown tongue, my spirit
prayeth, but my understanding is unfruitful.
15 What is it then? I will pray in the spirit, and I
will pray with the understanding also: I will sing
with the spirit, and I will sing with the
16 Else when thou shalt bless with the spirit,
how shall he that occupieth the room of the
unlearned say Amen at thy giving of thanks, seeing he
understandeth not what thou sayest?
17 FOR THOU VERILY GIVEST THANKS
WELL, but the other is not edified.
Notice that Paul said, “he that occupieth the room of the unlearned”
rather than “the room of the unsaved.” What did he mean by that word
“unlearned”? He meant those people who are unlearned in spiritual
things. Paul was saying that if you give thanks in other tongues,
someone who is unlearned in spiritual things can’t join in with you.
For instance, suppose I accept your invitation to come to your house
for dinner and you invite several others to come as well. At the dinner
table, you ask me to bless the food, and I give thanks with my spirit by
praying in other tongues.
However, the other people who came to dinner are unlearned when
it comes to the baptism with the Holy Ghost and speaking with other
tongues. Because of their lack of understanding about these matters,
they wouldn’t be able to say “Amen” to my prayer of thanks. Why not?
Because they wouldn’t understand a thing I said! That’s why it would
be better in this setting to give thanks with my understanding. Then
those sitting around me at the table can understand my prayer of
thanksgiving and agree in their hearts with what I say.
Of course, it’s still good for us to give thanks to God by praying in
tongues. In fact, verse 17 says, “For thou verily givest thanks WELL
. . . ” Paul is saying here that giving thanks in tongues provides the
most perfect way to pray and to give thanks, especially when we are by
Now, folks who are learned in spiritual things will
understand if we give thanks in other tongues. They may not
understand what we’re saying, but they can still say “Amen”
because they understand spiritual things. They know we’re
giving thanks well with our spirits!
However, in the presence of people who are unlearned in
spiritual things, it would be best to give thanks with our
understanding in our own vernacular. That way others can
understand what we say and be edified. As Christians, we are
commanded to walk in love, and love always considers the other
person and looks for ways to edify others.
Praying in the Spirit
Brings Your Tongue
While we’re discussing the many reasons why we should
speak with tongues, let me include an important one here:
Speaking with tongues helps bring the tongue under subjection. And I
think we would all agree that our tongues need to be brought
8 But the tongue CAN NO MAN TAME; it is an
unruly evil, full of deadly poison.
So what does speaking in tongues have to do with this verse?
According to this scripture, the tongue is the most difficult
member of our bodies to control. Notice it says no man can tame
the tongue. But God can!
So when you yield your tongue to the Holy Spirit and speak with
other tongues, you take a giant step toward fully yielding all your
members to God. If you can yield the most unruly member to God, you
can yield any member of your body to Him!
Think about it—the Bible calls the tongue an “unruly evil” and a
“deadly poison”! Many Christians assume that the sexual members of
the body are the hardest to control. And they may even condemn other
Christians who fail to control their sexual appetites while they sin just
as grievously or worse themselves because of their uncontrolled tongue!
Some people are always running around talking about fellow
Christians and running them down. For instance, some preacher may
fall into immorality, and everyone in the church starts talking about it.
“Did you hear what the preacher did? Well, let me tell you all the
But putting out the other fellow’s candle doesn’t light yours!
Criticizing and gossiping about others is a grievous sin too. The Bible
says the sins of the tongue are an abomination to God.
16 These six things doth the Lord HATE:
yea, seven are an ABOMINATION unto
him . . . .
19 A false witness that speaketh lies, and
he that soweth discord among brethren.
The bottom line is this: You have the potential to do more damage
and more sinning with your tongue than with any other member of
your body. But the more you pray in tongues, the more you will learn to
yield your tongue to the Holy Ghost— and the easier it will become to
speak only words that edify others in every situation.
Praying in Tongues Protects
You From the Contamination
of the World
Here is another reason why every Christian ought to speak
with tongues: It’s a means of keeping us free from the contamination
of the world—the ungodly, the profane, and all the vulgar talk
that surrounds us, whether on the job or in different public
How can praying in tongues keep us spiritually clean from
worldly contamination? Well, let’s first go back to what Paul said
about the proper use of praying in tongues in the public
assembly. A believer is to “. . . keep silence in the church; and let him
speak to himself and to God” (1 Cor. 14:28).
The same principle can be applied to any public setting. You
are speaking to yourself and to God when you speak in tongues.
So just as you can speak to yourself and to God in a church
service, you can also do so in other public settings because
you’re not speaking out loud—you are “keeping silence.”
You can pray this way on the job. You can pray in the Spirit
riding on a subway, in a bus, or on an airplane. You won’t
disturb anyone because you’re speaking quietly to yourself and
to God, building yourself up and at the same time keeping
yourself clean from worldly contamination.
Years ago when I was a young pastor, I’d have to go to the
barbershop to get my hair cut, and sometimes I’d have to sit and
wait for my turn. Meanwhile, the barbershop would be full of
men engaged in all kinds of conversations, many of which
included vulgar jokes and profane language. But I’d just sit there
and speak under my breath to myself and to God in tongues
while I waited, and I didn’t stop speaking in tongues even when
I was in the barber chair. As a result, all that carnality and
vulgar talk that surrounded me never registered on my spirit. I
stayed free of the contamination of the world as I prayed in
You can do the same thing. Throughout the day, wherever you go,
you can speak quietly in tongues to yourself and to God. As you do,
you will be strengthened by the Holy Spirit’s power in your spirit man
to keep you free from all worldly contamination!
Praying in Tongues Is
the Introduction to
the Gifts of the Spirit
To be filled with the Holy Ghost and to speak with other tongues is
also the introduction to the gifts of the Spirit (1 Cor. 12:1-11). I often say it
this way: Speaking with other tongues is the doorway into the supernatural
realm of God. In other words, the infilling with the Holy Ghost and the
practice of praying in other tongues on a regular basis is the doorway to
all the other benefits and spiritual equipment that are ours.
Before we go on, however, I need to clarify something. Tongues are
not the doorway into the fruit of the spirit in a believer’s life (Gal.
5:22-23). I need to point this out because many times, people have said
to me, “I know a lot of Full Gospel folks who speak with tongues but
don’t have the fruit of the spirit the way they ought to.”
Others have said, “I know wonderful Christians who don’t
speak with tongues, and they marvelously exhibit the fruit of the
spirit!” Certainly, both statements are true. But let me call your attention to the fact that the fruit of the spirit talked about in Galatians 5:22-23 are not the fruit of the Holy Spirit. The Holy
Spirit doesn’t produce fruit. Jesus said, “I am the Vine, and you are the branches” (see John 15:1-8). Fruit grow on the branches, and we are the branches.
Therefore, the fruit of the spirit refers to the fruit that grows in our lives because of the life of Christ within!
22 But THE FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,
23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.
Someone might say, “Yes, but in the King James Bible of Galatians 5:22, the word Spirit is capitalized, so it must refer to
the Holy Spirit.” But there is only one Greek word for spirit, so if the word
“Holy” isn’t in front of the word spirit, you have to determine by the text whether it refers to the human spirit or to the Holy Spirit. Paul is primarily talking about the human spirit here. Paul is drawing a distinction between the fruit of the flesh and the fruit of the spirit, that is, the recreated human spirit. The fruit of the spirit should be developed in the life of every Christian. But remember, the fruit of the spirit has nothing to do with the baptism in the Holy Ghost or the gifts of the Spirit. I can prove that by the Scriptures. For instance, the first fruit of the spirit listed is love. First John 3:14 states, “We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren.” Love is the first evidence of a person being born again. Another fruit of the spirit is peace. Romans 5:1 says, “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace . . . .” This verse tells us that peace is the result or the fruit of being justified so we can stand righteous before God. I could go down the list of the nine fruit of the spirit and find chapter and verse to prove that each of these fruit is the fruit of the recreated human spirit. Fruit grows on branches. Believers are the branches, and Jesus is the Vine. Branches produce fruit as they draw their life from the Vine (John 15:1-7). The fruit is given for the purpose of holiness and character. Gifts are given for the purpose of power. You can be holy and not be powerful, and you can be powerful and not be holy. Of course, God’s ideal is for you to be both holy and powerful!
This is what Paul was saying to the Corinthians about walking in
love: “Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not
charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal” (1 Cor. 13:1).
Paul was saying in essence, “You have spiritual gifts, but the gifts are for
power and the fruit is for holiness and character.” I know some wonderful saints of God—consecrated, dedicated Christians—who have the fruit of the spirit in abundance but no power in their lives whatsoever. I’ve never seen any supernatural gifts in manifestation in their lives whatsoever. On the other hand, I know people who are powerhouses for God and have marvelous manifestations of
spiritual gifts. But they failed to grow up spiritually, and it’s very obvious that they need to grow more fruit of the spirit in their lives. You see, spiritual babes can have spiritual gifts. A person doesn’t have to be a mature Christian for the Holy Spirit to operate through him in the gifts of the Spirit. I can easily prove this by the Scriptures as well. Paul told the Corinthian believers that they came behind in no gift (1 Cor. 1:7). Yet later Paul called these same Christians spiritual babes (1 Cor. 3:1). Think about it: We don’t expect baby trees to produce fruit. We know that it takes time for a tree to mature enough to bear fruit on its branches. Well, the same is true for baby Christians. It takes awhile for baby Christians to start exhibiting the fruit of the spirit to any great measure. Yet baby Christians can be filled with the Holy Ghost and have divine power operating in their lives! If we would be honest, I believe we would all have to admit that we are not fully mature in the fruit of the spirit, no matter how long we’ve been walking with the Lord. We may have been good, Spirit-filled, tongue-talking Christians for many years. But just about the time we think, Man! I’m doing really well! I’ve just about got my flesh under control!—some less-than-desirable circumstance arises, and we find out we’re not nearly as sanctified as we thought! Those are the times we realize all over again that we are still living in the flesh and we still have the body to contend with.
1 CORINTHIANS 9:27
27 But I KEEP UNDER MY BODY, AND
BRING IT INTO SUBJECTION: lest that
by any means, when I have preached to
others, I myself should be a castaway.
You see, sanctification is a process, and we have to learn to keep the body under. When Paul said, “But I keep under my body. . . ” he was referring to keeping his body under subjection to the inward man. In
other words, Paul was saying, “Instead of letting my flesh dominate me, my spirit must dominate my flesh.” On the other hand, carnal Christians who don’t allow their spirits to dominate their flesh can still be filled with the Holy Spirit. And to tell the truth, they need to be filled with the Spirit more than anyone! You see, tongues are the beginning of it all—the entry way into a new realm of power in your walk with God. But once you go through that door into God’s supernatural power, are you going to develop in the things of the Spirit? Or are you just going to stop on the other side of the door and stop your spiritual growth, as so many people do ? Personally, over the years I’ve found in my own life and ministry that the more I pray and worship God in tongues, the more manifestation of the other spiritual gifts I experience in my life. And I’ve found that the opposite is true as well: The less I speak in tongues, the fewer manifestations of spiritual gifts I
experience. Paul teaches believers to be desirous of spiritual gifts and to covet earnestly the best gifts (1 Cor. 12:31). But remember— those words were written to people who already spoke with tongues! In conclusion, let me repeat. Speaking with tongues is the entrance into all the spiritual gifts and the supernatural equipment God has for you. But don’t just stop at the entrance! Go on to develop yourself fully in God’s mighty spiritual equipment as you press ever deeper in prayer!
The Inestimable Value of Speaking With Tongues
In light of all these purposes for speaking with other tongues that are set forth in the Scriptures, we can readily see that each one is designed for our benefit and our gain. Therefore, it is amazing to me that people ask, “What good does a person get out of speaking with other tongues?” Is there any value in talking to God supernaturally? Emphatically yes! There must be, or God wouldn’t have provided the means to do so! If God says tongues are a supernatural means of communication with Him, then we emphatically need this supernatural means of communication with Him! If God says tongues edify the one who speaks, then the one who speaks needs this supernatural ability to empower him in the Holy Ghost. No matter what a believer feels or does not feel, when he speaks in tongues, he is being built up! And if God says tongues are of value, then they are of great and
marvelous value—beyond the scope of anything we have yet imagined
or experienced in Him!