Speaking in Tongues
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Q. As a first time Christian I'm confused and afraid I don't have the Holy Spirit. First I was so happy to see the truth of salvation but I was told if I don't speak in tongues I don't really have the Holy Spirit. So I made myself talk in tongues, but not really, I mean I had to fake it, I guess you could say. Now I don't feel the joy I once did.
A. This is a problem many new converts have to deal with and it is a shame. You, as a newly awakened believer, should take hold of the Word of God and press it close to you face. By this I mean you should listen to it, breath it, study it and until fully convinced of what you are to do, or not do do, how you should be living and acting, until then do NOTHING. Don't listen to anyone until you are convinced they speak the words of the Book. Do not be talked into something you are unsure of, especially as a new believer. I know, it hard to do, at first, after all, you want to share the love.
What about tongues? Paul put this gift at the bottom of the list of gifts. So, what do we see today? The "charismatic" groups (so called), nearly all under the banner of Evangelicals, teach the speaking of tongues as a primary part of your worship and PROOF you have the Holy Spirit. The gift Paul said is the least of the gifts has been moved to the top. Paul tell us it is a self serving gift. Read 1 Cor 14:1-6 and you will see the instructions is toward seeking to "prophecy" not speaking in tongues. What has happened, however, is the Evangelicals have married what they see as prophecy with tongues speaking. This is not the instruction at all, reread verse 6, and see Paul is listing the things to edify the Church all based on knowledge and things understood.
If the group you have joined is pressuring you and if they seem to display erratic and strange behavior I would seek out another group, or even go it alone. You are not really alone, however, as you have the Holy Spirit if He has called you. To continually seek the lower, outward gift of tongues as proof you have the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of the Christ, is childish and spiritually immature. There is another danger, however, is it the demonstration of the lack of faith, of disbelief and a possible "re-crucifying" the Messiah again and again. What does the Bible have to say?
(Heb 6:6) If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.
There are some practicing a type of renewal that is highly frowned upon by our Savior and with good reason. Constantly needing physical proof they doubt what has been promised and in that have a lack, or no faith in Him or the word. As far as the act of "prophecy" goes you will see it is listed (1 Cor 14:6) right there with, revelation, knowledge, and word of instruction. Realize this, if the way the Evangelicals define "prophecy", as Paul is speaking of it, then why did Paul include "revelation". You see the prophecy he is speaking of is not "revelation", no, it is inspired teaching, not the telling of the future or of some strange message received.
You were called for a reason and the reason may not be revealed until the Return of our Savior. Take heart, you are not alone, He is with you always to the end, and there are many more, brothers and sisters you have never met but are bound by the same Spirit of the Messiah. Tongues? Forget about it, move on to higher learning, growing in the Knowledge of our Savior and our Heavenly Father. Left the childish things behind. Remember this, Satan is capable of quoting scripture, but He always twists it and your defense is Scripture. When our Savior was Tempted in the wilderness, Satan used Scripture in an effort to tempt Him, what id our Savior do, He turned to the Bible also and quoted a passage that countered, or over rode the scripture Satan used. Think about it, the "rightly dividing the TRUTH", that is what our Savior did. He did not say Satan was wrong in reading the Scripture to Him He merely corrected Him with a scripture to the contrary.
(2Ti 2:15) Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
We should follow this example. If we are given a scripture to prove what we should do or not do and we know of a scripture that contradicts this then what are we to do? Do nothing, do not be persuaded into acting a certain when there are scriptures to the contrary. This is where "rightly dividing the truth" comes in, get it? Good, stand firm in your faith and leave lots of room for the Holy Spirit of the Messiah, YaHshua to guide you, to teach you. Don't become bogged down by physical expressions all tied to the flesh, leading to the crucifying the Christ over and over again.