Speaking in tongues is a gift for today, and it has not ceased as many preachers and false theologians would have you believe.
Recently we were live streaming our worship service and I was on the stage getting ready to transition into my sermon. The singer next to me began to sing in another language, which I assumed was Spanish. After the service was over, the singer said, “Pastor Mike, I’ve never sung in tongues before. That was the most beautiful, powerful experience in worship I’ve ever had.” I replied, “Well, I assumed that you were singing in Spanish, so that’s why I was encouraging you to continue to sing it. He said, “No, that was tongues, I had no idea what I was singing.”
Speaking In An Unknown Language
Later on that day he received a text message from a family member who had been watching the live stream broadcast. They said, “Hey, since when did you learn Portuguese?” He said, “I have no idea what you’re talking about, I don’t know Portuguese!” The person replied, “Well, I know Portuguese and you were singing a phrase repeatedly in Portuguese: I give all my devotion to you, I give all my devotion to you.”
This is just one of many many stories I can tell. You simply cannot convince me that the gift of tongues through the Holy Spirit has ceased. You might be asking, how can I speak in tongues?
You Cannot Earn This Gift
There is this precious woman from my church who came to me recently. She said, “Pastor Mike, I’ve been praying, fasting, giving my tithe and offering, reading my Bible more, and attending church every Sunday, I never miss. I have asked for the gift of tongues. Why have I not received it?”
I politely responded to her, “If the Holy Spirit gave you the gift of tongues after all of that work, it would be ‘the rewards of the Spirit’ not ‘the gifts of the Spirit.’” Rewards are earned, but gifts are received. In my experience, people who devote their lives to helping others and kind-hearted people who are always trying to do for other people have the hardest time simply receiving when they come to God. They want to know how they can be good enough, ready enough, or knowledgeable enough to speak in tongues. This makes sense because everything else we do is learned, achieved, and accomplished. But it’s not so with the gifts of the Spirit. We can only receive like children from a good Father.
The Science Proves It
In 2006, the New York Times reported a scientific breakthrough. Researchers at The University of Pennsylvania took brain images of five women while they spoke in tongues and found that their frontal lobes – the thinking, willful part of the brain through which people control what they do – were relatively quiet as they spoke in tongues. Even the language centers of their brain were relatively quiet. The regions involved in maintaining self-consciousness, though, were active. The people were not in blind trances. It was unclear which part of their brain was driving the behavior of speaking in tongues.
“The amazing thing was how the images supported people’s interpretation of what was happening,” said Dr. Andrew B. Newberg, who was the leader of this study. “The way they describe it, and what they believe, is that God is talking through them.” Donna Morgan, a co-author of the study, was also a research subject. As a born-again Christian, she considers the ability to speak in tongues a gift. She said, “You’re aware of your surroundings. You’re not really out of control. But you have no control over what’s happening. You’re just flowing. You’re in a realm of peace and comfort, and it’s a fantastic feeling.”
Many people look at those who speak in tongues and think they’re out of their mind and they must be lunatics, but according to the New York Times article, a study of nearly 1,000 Evangelical Christians in England found that those engaged in the practice of speaking in tongues were more emotionally stable than those who did not. Contrary to what may be a common perception, studies suggest that people who speak in tongues rarely suffer from mental problems.
How Do You Receive The Gift?
To receive the gift of speaking in tongues, you simply receive forgiveness through Jesus Christ, you are washed by the blood of the perfect Sacrificial Lamb, and then the Holy Spirit comes and dwells inside of you to fill the believer. Over and over again in scripture, we see people filled with the Holy Spirit. When you ask Him to give you the gift of tongues, He will increase and you will decrease. You get out of the way and say, “Okay God, I’m not going to do this through the centers and the regions of my brain that normally produce language, but I’m going to yield and allow it supernaturally to come through me.”
To learn more about the gift of tongues, check out one of my in-depth teachings here in blog and video format:
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