The gift of tongue is the one gift that can be easily counterfeited. We cannot communicate biblical truth through meaningless sound. A language without a meaning is pointless. It is the meaning that makes a language to be a language. People don’t go to church so that they can hear someone showing off and making some unintelligible sound. People go to church so that they may hear the Word of God spoken in a way it clearly communicates to them the message of the gospel. No one can say Amen to what I’m saying or praying If I don’t know what in the world I’m saying and nobody else certainly knows what in the world I’m saying, how can they agree and express Amen?
To be sure, when the apostles spoke in tongues in the day of Pentecost (found in Acts 2), they spoke languages and not gibberish. To be sure, the apostles did not all understand what they themselves were saying, but the millions of foreigners who were gathered together on that day from all over the world (and did not understand Hebrew or Aramaic) understood exactly what the apostles were saying. The apostles were preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ, proclaiming the resurrection in these foreign languages, so that these foreigners would take the gospel back to their homeland and preach it and proclaim it. That gift of language was given by the Holy Spirit of God so that the gospel may spread through these millions of visitors by them taking the gospel they’ve heard back to their countries.
God always have a purpose, worshipping God always have a purpose, serving God must always have a purpose, ministering to others must always have a purpose, exercising of the spiritual gift must always have a purpose, and Paul (in the book of 1 Corinthians 14) is telling us that the purpose is to edify the body of Christ, to seek and save the lost, and to make the name of Jesus great so that the people can respond intelligently to the preaching of the gospel.
For God is not the God of confusion but the God of peace, and for this reason, we should seek and desire the gift of prophesying more than the gift of tongue. The great apostle Paul said the reason prophesying is superior to the gift of tongue is because prophesying convicts of sin, brings us under judgement, reveals the secret of our hearts, and brings us to our knees which is our rightful place before God. This is what prophesying is all about:
- Every time you speak biblical truth to a colleague or a friend you are prophesying
- Every time you bring the word of God to bear upon a problem or a difficult matter, you are prophesying.
- Every time you instruct your children in the word and the ways of God, you are prophesying.
- Every time you are sharing the scripture with someone in need, you are prophesying.
There is a move in the charismatic movement which is mistakenly called prophecy. In this movement, people are often told that they can get a word from the Lord. I’ve seen it in some churches I’ve been too. They come around and say something along the line, “How many of you want to hear from the lord? I’ll pray over you…” I call it charismatic fortune telling, I do not believe it is from God, and sadly so many lives and churches are sadly wrecked by it. It is a dangerous thing to say, “Thus says the Lord,” if it does not come directly from the scripture, the Holy Bible.
The fact that a fortune teller can tell you truth does not mean it comes from God. We need discernment! There are two different ways of being guided. One can be normally guided by the scriptures, or specially guided by a supernatural revelation or vision. But if you are not walking according to the real will of God as revealed to us in the scriptures, don’t expect to receive from God a supernatural revelation.
For example, Ezekiel was a man chosen by God to be a prophet, and he followed that calling in obedience despite all the opposition he faced. As a result of Ezekiel’s obedience to God’s calling, God gave him supernatural visions. When God told Ezekiel to prophesy to the dry bones, He did and the dry bones came alive (Ezekiel 37).
“With the tongue we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not be so.” – James 3:9-10
Wounds made by the sword would heal quickly, but the wounds that are afflicted by words, wounds that are afflicted by the tongue, fester the soul and scars the mind. James, the younger brother of Jesus knows that the tongue is the highway from the heart. He tells us in James 1:26 that “If you consider yourself religious and yet you do not bridle your tongue, you are only deceiving your own heart and your religion is worthless.” We can tell an awful lot about the state of our heart by looking at and listening to our tongues. For it written, “It is out the overflow of the heart that the mouth speaks.”
- Hearts which are cold are going to be speaking cold words.
- Hearts that are bitter will speak bitter words.
- Hearts that are vengeful will speak damaging words.
- Hearts that are jealous will speak jealous words.
- Hearts that are angry will speak inflammatory words.
- Hearts that are critical will speak critical words.
- Hearts that are proud will speak pompous words.
- Hearts that are selfish will speak selfish words.
But a heart that is filled with the word of God will speak words that bring life and comfort and hope and blessing.
When was the last time you shared the word of God with a colleague or friend or testify to the power of God in your life? Don’t get carried away by emotion because ultimately, soul winning is what counts the most. “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits.” – Proverbs 18:21