1 Corinthians 14:1-2
What was it like the first time you heard someone speaking in tongues?
If you’re like me, it was weird. I mean, it was crazy. I was in college and I went to some church where at one point the pastor directed the whole church to burst out in tongues all at the same time. And there I am in the middle of all that, thinking, “What in the world is happening? I don’t understand any of this!” It’s like I suddenly dropped into the middle of a Star Trek convention and everyone’s speaking Klingon.
This isn’t a new issue in the Church today, saints, and in fact, Paul wrote about it to help us get to the bottom of this very thing. If you didn’t already, go back and read our verses today. That should clear up a lot of what has become confusing and maybe controversial within the Church as to where tongues fits in.
And let me be clear—it does fit in. However, just like a piece in a puzzle, not only is the puzzle incomplete without it, but there is a correct place where it fits.
If a church all of a sudden broke out in the midst of the service speaking in tongues, there are going to be a lot of people that just are not getting what’s going on. In fact, they would be looking for the exit door, saying, “This is weird.” Now, you might feel closer to God because of it, but everybody sitting around you is freaking out.
Here Paul says that this gift is meant to be something between you and God, as opposed to something that is put on display before men, because putting it on display before men, no one’s getting it. No one understands it.
So let’s not forget the point, because, you see that our verses move on to talk about tongues and prophesy and all these amazing spiritual gifts, but where did it start? That’s right, it starts with love. When you use your gifts, if it doesn’t come out of and lead to love, and if the people who experience your gift when you use it don’t grow closer to love, then what’s the point? You’re misusing your gift. Go back to the beginning. Start over and remember where these gifts came from and why God gave them to you.
Desire the spiritual gifts, yes. But don’t forget the pursuit—love—the very heart of every gift we have been given.
Thank You for giving me the spiritual gifts that I have, and especially thank You for the biggest gift of love—Yourself. Whenever I use the gifts I have, please show me how to use them the same way You do—to love.