For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope. Romans
Comments, thoughts and reflections welcome.
I Corinthians 14:1-12
Pursue love, and earnestly desire the spiritual gifts, especially that you may prophesy. For one who speaks in a tongue speaks not to men but to God; for no one understands him, but he utters mysteries in the Spirit. On the other hand, the one who prophesies speaks to people for their upbuilding and encouragement and consolation. The one who speaks in a tongue builds up himself, but the one who prophesies builds up the church. Now I want you all to speak in tongues, but even more to prophesy. The one who prophesies is greater than the one who speaks in tongues, unless someone interprets, so that the church may be built up.
Now, brothers, if I come to you speaking in tongues, how will I benefit you unless I bring you some revelation or knowledge or prophecy or teaching? If even lifeless instruments, such as the flute or the harp, do not give distinct notes, how will anyone know what is played? And if the bugle gives an indistinct sound, who will get ready for battle? So with yourselves, if with your tongue you utter speech that is not intelligible, how will anyone know what is said? For you will be speaking into the air. There are doubtless many different languages in the world, and none is without meaning, but if I do not know the meaning of the language, I will be a foreigner to the speaker and the speaker a foreigner to me. So with yourselves, since you are eager for manifestations of the Spirit, strive to excel in building up the church.
Essentially the gift of other tongues is for the one receiving it. All other gifts are for the building up of the church. These gifts all benefit someone, the one who holds them and those interacting with that one. The gift of tongues, however, is to build up the one receiving the gift. Let us be sure to exercise our gifts, but to also be alert to the end, will it benefit others as well as ourselves.
“…So with yourselves, since you are eager for manifestations of the Spirit, strive to excel in building up the church. …”
There is a time when in prayer, we do not know how to pray so the Spirit prays for us. We receive the power from God that comes with the gift; but let us not be inappropriate with it. Paul reminds us later that God is a God of order and not of confusion. Let us not be found guilty of causing confusion. Confusion does not build up, rather it becomes a hindrance to the work of God. With that said: “So with yourselves, since you are eager for manifestations of the Spirit, strive to excel in building up the church. “