What part of the Bible, chapter and verse do you wish to cut out?
So many sincere and believing Christians are in this category of, “If God wants me to have this spiritual gift, He will give it to me.”
That seems logical. But the gifts of the Spirit are not logical, they are foolishness to the natural mind (I Cor. 2: 14). Also, you would never say, if God wants to save me, He will. You know that you must receive Christ into your spirit to be born again. God doesn’t force Himself on anyone.
We are told to earnestly desire spiritual gifts in I Cor. 14: 1. They do not just fall on us automatically because we follow Jesus.
If therefore ye, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much rather shall the Father who is of heaven give [the] Holy Spirit to them that ask him?
44 While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word. 45And 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
We see in I Cor. Chapter 14 that Paul wrote to the Corinthians laying down some guidelines so they would not abuse their gift of tongues. (People do this today, but that does not lessen the reality of God’s gifts). He explained there is a public tongue to be interpreted, and also a private prayer language, speaking “not unto man but to God, mysteries in the spirit,” and no man understands this prayer but God since it is inspired by the Holy Spirit. He also encourages the church to practice this, but in public he urges, “I wish you all spoke with tongues, but in the congregation I would rather you prophesy.”
Shall we cut out these verses? They are there for a reason. I know that the enemy casts a shadow on true spiritual gifts. He knows that believers are strengthened, edified, and empowered by them. After I got past the concern that I might be deceived, and that these verses are there for a reason, a hunger grew in my heart for every “good and perfect gift from the Father of light.” (James 1: 17). I am not satisfied to do merely what I can achieve in my own flesh and by my own efforts. Then God doesn’t get the glory. I want His supernatural stamp on my life every day.
Pete And Tom
Talk It Over
Thomas slaps a hand on the table while he breaks bread with Peter soon after their upper-room experience on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2). “I thought nothing would amaze me more after we saw Jesus rise and then later ascend up in the clouds. But what do you think about those flames of fire we saw on everyone’s heads? Man, I heard the sound of a mighty wind! I saw the fiery glory of God over our heads. It was like the shekinah glory! Then all the disciples and our families, all 120 of us (Acts 1: 15), started speaking in other languages. Even the Lord’s own mother! People who heard us said we were proclaiming the wonderful works of God in other languages. Pete, what does it mean?”
Peter grins. “Don’t you remember that John the Baptist said he baptized with water, but Jesus would baptize us in the Holy Spirit. Then He told us to wait here until the promise was fulfilled. It’s the promise of the Father, the Comforter that Jesus told us he would send to lead us into all truth (John 14: 16-21). It’s the prophet Joel’s words coming to pass. That’s what happened, Tom. That’s how we know the Holy Spirit comes on new believers. They get to speak a new language (Acts 10: 46-48).”
Tom looks doubtful. “It was like joy, unspeakable. But How can this new language benefit anyone if I don’t even know what I’m saying? (I Cor. 14: 14).”
“That’s the point, Tom. It benefits you! (I Cor. 14: 4). The words come out of your spirit, not your understanding. This kind of prayer bypasses the natural mind so your own imperfect thoughts can’t get in the way. It’s a perfect prayer between you and the Father, because it’s from the spirit giving you supernatural words—not your natural mind. (I Cor. 14: 2, 15, 16, 19.)
“But I don’t want to be out of my mind. I pray in Hebrew.”
Peter raises a hand toward Thomas, as if to call a halt. “I know. So do I. I pray my thoughts, my wishes, my ideas of what God ought to do. But His ways are higher than my ways. When I pray in the spirit, I’m praying mysteries in the spirit according to His perfect will that I don’t even know about yet (I Cor. 14: 2). And what’s even better, the devil can’t understand it and mess it up!”
Thomas scratches his head. “I guess I’m not always sure I know how to pray according the Father’s perfect will. But Pete, the people thought we were drunk! I don’t want to cast doubt on the ministry of the Lord if people think we’re acting like drunks!”
Pete dips his bread it in the olive oil. “Yeah, Tom they thought we were drunk, but even so, three thousand of those people asked what they must do to be saved. That’s the power of the Holy Spirit’s anointing. For the first time, I preached Christ, crucified and resurrected, without fear and oh, such power! Remember, Jesus said we would receive power after the Holy Spirit comes on us.”
“You’re right, Pete. Speaking in other languages of praise got their attention. Then you preached and the Holy Spirit got them saved. I was amazed. Some of the people standing there were the very ones who just days ago were shouting to Pilate, “Crucify Him!” What a change of heart. I would never have believed it if I hadn’t seen it myself with my own eyes.”
“Remember what the Lord said, Tom. Blessed are those who believe and have not seen.”
With a whoop of joy, Thomas raises a hand toward heaven. “This is all foolishness to the natural mind (I Cor. 2: 14), but it sure feels good when I worship in my own spiritual prayer language, just between me and the Lord.”