The Gift of Tongues as a Glorious Display of the Gospel (Part 7)

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Part Seven: Counsel

For those desiring the gift of tongues, I'd give you two pieces of counsel. These comes from the Bible and from my own experience (which I measure against the experiences of others whom I have come to trust).

First, believe it's okay to seek the experience. There's nothing wrong with seeking this kind of experience, because it comes from the Lord. Some Christians will tell you that it is wrong to seek after experiences. The Bible says otherwise. "...earnestly desire the spiritual gifts...Now I want you all to speak in tongues..." (1 Cor. 14:1, 5).

Second, to seek after it, begin first seeking liberty. That's where the joy you are looking for is rooted in. And that joy-producing liberty is itself rooted in grace. The grace of God brings liberty. That grace removes condemnation, fear, doubt, and confusion. Grace liberates you to see beyond your current horizons to new possibilities and experiences you've yet to encounter. Jesus told his disciples that they would do greater works than His when the Spirit came (John 14:12). These greater works are only possible when you embrace and walk in the liberty of the Spirit that the Father gave you.

Third, expect it to receive it. Yes, I know what 1 Corinthians 12 says. And I've repeated this point in another post on this series. God is sovereign, and He gives His spiritual gifts to those whom He desires, when He desires. But some Christians seem to lean too far to the negative side, assuming God will probably not give it to them. For those like me who watched Winnie the Pooh when they were younger (or those who may watch it now with their kids), you'll be familiar with the character named Eyore, the pessimistic, always negative stuffed donkey. Everything is always wrong in Eyore's mind, and nothing will ever go right. In fact, if you even try, it will probably fail. And so there's this sort of "Eyore spirit" that can pervade Christians who pray to a good God not expecting Him to be good in His answer.

This must end! Once and for all. God is a good God...all the matter what. And He desires to give good gifts to His children (Luke 11:12-13). Every good and perfect gift comes down from the Father of lights in whom there is no deceitfulness or changing of mind (James 1:17). So if He is this good God the Bible talks about, then He desires to be good to His children.

The point here is simple: if He is sovereign, then let HIM decide when He wants to sovereignly give you the gift of tongues. Your responsibility is to keep asking! Stop worrying about whether or not God will give it to you, and believe He is a good God and wants to give it to you. Let your requests be made known to God! And the peace of God that passes all understanding will guard your heart and mind in Christ Jesus (Phil. 4:6-7).

He wants you to be filled with joy. Remember His name, Jesus, means, He will save, rescue, and deliver His people from their sins (Matt. 1:21)! He is a liberator! If you are not a Christian, He wants to liberate you! And if you are a Christian, He already HAS liberated you. So dwell on that. Meditate on that. Eat, sleep, and drink the liberty you have been given in Jesus Christ. That is where He has expressed and reflected His goodness toward you the most. And that is where the Spirit is going to point your attention night and day...upon the goodness of God shown to you in Christ Jesus living, dying, rising again, ascending to heaven, and praying right now...all for you!

Oh, how He loves you!

Oh, how He loves you!

Oh, how He loves you!

Oh, how He loves you!

Oh, how He loves YOU!

Do not doubt His goodness toward you in this area of tongues, when God has already displayed His greatest goodness toward you in the area of liberation in and through Jesus. And conversely, if God should sovereignly determine to not bless you with this gift, then He has still already displayed that greatest goodness toward you, and you have all you need in Christ Jesus.

But continue to ask, seek, and knock!

It's a paradox, this continually asking for something that God alone will or will not sovereignly give. But God wants you to keep on asking and not worry about whether or not He's going to give it to you. That's why Jesus taught His disciples this invaluable lesson in Luke 11:5-13. Persistence in prayer is the key to prayer, according to Jesus.

You must believe that He desires for you to experience in deeper and more profound, impacting ways His goodness, His joy, His ecstasy and excitement...all through the liberty He has gained for you and given to you.

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