By Brother Michel Lankford
We want to be careful when it comes to this or any other issue of biblical spiritual practice. We need to make absolutely certain that we do not add to or subtract from the Commandments of YHWH Almighty God, (e.g. Deuteronomy 4:2; Deuteronomy 12:32; Revelation 22:17-19). We are required not to forbid the speaking in tongues, (1 Corinthians 14:39). There are some scriptural instructions however that we MUST follow. Basically, there is NO Commandment for how long an individual should speak in tongues in their own private prayer time. So it would be a SIN to make such a rule for you, because that would be adding to commandments that are NOT in Scripture.
We should make certain that we ask for and that we are hearing and speaking by the REAL Holy Spirit, and NOT some counterfeit Hindu kundalini or other counterfeit type of spirit, (1 John 4:1). It’s critical. It might be helpful to look at some YouTubes or other guides, that give examples of a Hindu kundalini spirit, so that you can discern the difference. It was extremely educational when I did that.
Beyond that, the only biblical limitations that there are to speaking in tongues involve how we use tongues within the confines of a fellowship involving multiple believers gathered together. What you do in private prayer time is solely between YHWH and yourself. The only relevant instruction there is that we use both; that we should pray both in the spirit and with the understanding, (1 Corinthians 14:15).
As a matter of important review, here are the list of Instructions and Commandments listed in 1 Corinthians 14, for how we are to use our gifts within fellowships or congregations:
Pursue love, (1 Corinthians 14:1).
Desire spiritual gifts, (1 Corinthians 14:1).
If you seek after spiritual gifts, seek that you may be able to prophesy, [that is, that you may be able to pray in tongues but also interpret tongues]. (1 Corinthians 14:2-4).
When you are in public fellowship, the focus needs to be on how you can build up other people to succeed, not how you can promote yourself, (1 Corinthians 14:3-19).
When we are together for public fellowship, EVERYTHING should be done for building others up, and basically NOTHING should be focused on self, (1 Corinthians 14:26).
When there are messages in tongues in public fellowship, it should be two or three at the most, and then it must be only one at a time, each speaking in turn. People should NOT be speaking in tongues all at once. That is not a sign of the Holy Spirit. That is confusion, (1 Corinthians 14:27).
When a message is given in tongues in public fellowship, there MUST be an interpretation also given, (1 Corinthians 14:27).
Whenever a message is given in tongues in a public fellowship, there must be an interpretation given. It is the responsibility of the person who has the tongue to make sure that there’s someone in the congregation that has the gift to interpret, because if no interpretation can be given, the person with the message in tongues MUST remain SILENT. In that case, the tongue MUST NOT be given, unless you are certain that the interpretation can also be given. That’s important, (1 Corinthians 14:27).
After a tongue or a prophecy has been given in public fellowship, those who also have similar gifts should withdraw and review the message that was given. They should be able to confirm through the Scriptures that the message was in fact true and biblical. They are to pass judgment on the message given, (1 Corinthians 14:29). The reason for this is that if in fact there was a mistake made; if something was said that was counter biblical, it needs to be corrected as quickly as possible, in the presence of the people who first heard the message, so that no one will be deceived or misled. In all the charismatic churches that I have ever been involved, (and I have been involved in many), I have NEVER seen this command obeyed at all.
We are not to interrupt each other. Each person is to speak in his own turn, and we are to make room for one another and not step over each other, (1 Corinthians 14:30).
The gifts of the prophet, [or indeed any spiritual gift], are subject to the prophet. In other words, if you are spiritually gifted, YOU are also responsible for making certain that you are using your spiritual gift in a way that does not violate any Commandment of God; in a way that does not violate decency and good order in a fellowship. The idea that you are so overwhelmed by the power of the Holy Spirit that you can no longer control how you behave is a convenient and self-serving, self-indulgent LIE, (1 Corinthians 14:32).
There should not be a lot of extracurricular chatter or private conversations going on in a public fellowship. We should avoid anything that brings confusion or disorder, (1 Corinthians 14:33-36).
The apostle Paul makes an extraordinary statement in the following verse. If you look at it carefully, the implications are ASTOUNDING, (1 Corinthians 14:37-38).
As It Is Written:
“If anyone thinks he is a prophet or spiritual, let him recognize that the things which I write to you are the Lord’s commandment. But if anyone does not recognize this, he is not recognized.(1 Corinthians 14:37–38 NASB95)
Did you catch this crucial note? If we don’t recognize and follow those 12 Commands and Instructions for how we use our spiritual gifts within fellowships and congregations, then our gifts and ministries are not recognized either. So, in God’s eyes, it would be the same as if you did not follow the Holy Spirit at all. Your administration of spiritual gifts are not recognized as being from God, if these instructions are not followed. Unless we follow the instructions, we are not considered even spiritual from God’s point of view. That’s HUGE.
We are NOT to FORBID the speaking in tongues, (1 Corinthians 14:39).
Everything must be done in good order and avoid confusion, (1 Corinthians 14:30).