Tuesday, May 18 2021
When you become a Christian (being born again or having a spiritual birth) it happens subtly. Yet, everything around you seems to be the same.
Inside your soul, however, you are changed for ever. The best you is now visible to you, along with the worst you. Now you have a better understanding of your own nature and of how to move forward.
Not long after you become a born again Christian (which has had its share of mocking by outsiders and insdiers), you will be confronted with the subject of being Baptised in the Spirit, and Speaking in Tongues.
When we first found Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour, this was a hot topic. (March 1982)
Now, it does not come up for discussion as it seems to be something people might classify as a "hot potato" among other issues, such as "de-facto relationships", alcohol, gender issues, abortion, assisted dying, vaccines, etc. (Vaccine is on everyone's agenda today and the opinions and options are so numerous that you can spend a whole day reading up.)
Back to TONGUES:
What on earth is this all about? You can ask that question and get many answers.
Where did it begin? Most people would say that Christian 'Tongues' began at Pentecost, around 50 days after the resurrection of Jesus Christ and recorded in the Book of Acts. (Acts 2) Never again was there such a moment (recorded) in history. The Spirit came upon those praying together (120 men and women) and they actually saw tongues of fire falling on those who were praying. The Apostles (12 - Matthias had replaced Judas the betrayer), were all there. All received the ability to speak in tongues, or languages (translation) and could be understood by everyone who was present. In other words, these words were in formulated languages that people could understand easily and receive the message. It makes sense that way. If someone who spoke Spanish was given a message in Spanish by someone who never spoke that language. they would be startled and take notice, for example if the person did not speak that language in normal Australian life. That makes it miraculous!
If we go right back to 1 Samuel and the story of Hannah, we may see more to praying in tongues than we had thought about. (around 1100 BC or over one thousand years before Jesus came and 100 years before King David rose up.)
'Hannah was praying in her heart, and though her lips were moving, her voice could not be heard. So Eli thought she was drunk…'
In the story at Pentecost, a similar situation arose to onlookers. "They are drunk" (2:13) In a way, thest two incidents recorded are connected. They are about prayer, incoherent voices and primarily directed from or to Yahweh (God).
The important lesson to learn from these events is that the Lord God Almighty is listening to "hearts" and voices. Our hearts reach up to God and God sees deep inside our souls. In Hannah's case, she prayed, waited, suffered abuse from her close family (not her husband). She was condemned, judged, mortified and humiliated. Why? Because she had no children. In our civilized world today we would be shocked to hear such a story. But, to understand Scripture, we need to understand the "normal culture" that prevailed at the time in Israel.
In some spiritual way, Hannah was speaking in a grief filled vaccum that only God could understand. Eli condemned her at first, thinking she was a drunken woman and a disgrace. But, God was right there, listening with a very attentive ear. Finally at the end of this drama, there was the most famous prophet in Israel before Christ, Samuel. Even 2 books are named after him. This was Hannah's first son. What a God we have, to answer a muttered prayer and to give such a blessing.
What about today?
For years we have prayed as Christians, using Scripture, our souls and spirits to speak with God. (We are encouraged to do this)
Talking in tongues remains a mystery for many. Even some reject this method of connecting with God because it may be "demonic" or yelling at God!
However, recently I have been using this method that Paul speaks about and gives a lot of instruction to Christians in Corinth. (1 Cor 14)
The Christians were becoming too keen to speak out in the community hall. It caused confusion. We understand this when we see crowds gathering and screaming at the top of their lungs and we have no idea what is being said except for the placards they hold up. Can you imagine a Christian Church like this. Everyone wants their voice heard at the same time? It would not be pretty for any visitor for example. They would merely run away and hide.
So, should we speak in tongues or not?
They are a gift from God. Therefore we must examine this process.
They can be used in prayer. That is a great help to people like Hannah who are struggling in prayer for years.
Can we speak in our own languages in prayer. Of course we can. This is probably the most common way to pray.
Can anyone get this gift of speaking in tongues? Yes, if you are a believer and born again, you can certainly have this gift.
Speaking in Spiritual tongues seems to be a strange gift. It is not about working out which words to say to God. "Thou" or "Thee" or "You" are not confused.
It is a language that God gives you (or lots of languages). From my experience and study, they appear to be a code that is encrypted. Only God knows what you are saying, and He understands what you are thinking or holding in your heart.
Since praying with tongues (unknown languages) (no brainer) in many ways, I see prayers being answered quickly!
Could it be the ultimate way to trust God with our thoughts and deepest longings? Only God hears, only God knows what we say, and only God answers. We are then in a "hands off" situation in prayer. Putting our full trust in God to see right into our depths and to answer in surprises and surprises. We cannot manipulate God in this.
We have been the ones getting in the way of our own prayers by being so meticulous that we memorise passages (we can still do that). But, can we let go and let God be the real boss of our prayers? This is the test we must all face one day as a Christian.
Close your eyes and open your heart and allow the Spirit to truly fall on you as your lips move, just like Hannah, and be blessed. It is a very refreshing way to pray.
Thanks to Pexels (Skully - mba) for this pic