Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Tho i speak with the Tongues of angels....

Tongues is a fairly divisive gift of the spirit, not because of the spirit but because we know better than the spirit or God. Pentecostals believe that speaking in Tongues is the initial evidence of the baptism in the Holy Spirit, and if you don't speak in tongues you are not baptised in the Spirit. Then there are those believers who give it pride of place of all the gifts, mainly because it is a show gift, it's public in the sense it is spoken out and as such people can see it at work. Without wanting to get too deep, tongues is a useful gift, it enables the person to communicate at a different level than normal words, but in no way demeans prayer in normal language given to God, it never was meant to make people feel inferior or superior, that unfortunately is a human trait and not a spirit one. Tongues do not make you a super christian, they enable you to speak in a heavenly language and communicate at a deep spiritual level with God.
The day of pentecost was a great day and the fact that the tongues given on that day were to let people hear the gospel of Christ in their own language ( i know many of my pentecostal friends will baulk at this) but from a reading of the book of acts thats what it was for, it was a mass pouring of Gods spirit to enable communication, and communication which was needed. The Apostle Paul in some respects put's it way down from other gifts, because even back then people who did it felt superior probably and the gift was being abused which is why he gave instruction on how to use them in church. As with any gift of the spirit it can be abused, which comes back down to human nature i guess. The greatest thing we can do in practical and spiritual terms is to love, love trumps it all and loving can be a spiritual act especially when we have to or need to love people who wind us up, or rub us the wrong way, love is preeminent it is the be all of everything we do, people need to be loved, need to feel worth and we as Christians need to follow the example of Jesus in all of this, which is to love the unlovely and love without recourse of payback. Tongues is useful to the Christian, it's useful to congregations, it's useful to the body of Christ. We as individuals need to keep our pride in check and not put the gift above the giver which tends to happen. Having spent 16 years of my life in one of the biggest Pentecostal denominations on the planet, i have witnessed the way tongues can be elevated above the giver, but that does not mean we throw the baby out with the bath water because it gets abused as a gift. If we did that a lot of things in church would need to be thrown out as well, because it's not just spiritual gifts that get abused in churches, many things do and we need to guard against that in all forms not just the spiritual ones. I speak in tongues daily, i'm pentecostal after all and it goes with the territory, being Methicostal as i now term myself has it's drawbacks but the pro's far out weigh the cons involved in the spiritual gifts i have. Balance in all these things is important, practical help goes a long way to helping people, at times it will feel silly and we wonder what God is playing at, God is God and at the end of the day can do what he want's with me as his follower, i'm capable of trusting him enough to know he will not let me down. 

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