Sunday, October 07, 2007

Speaking in Tongues (Speak in Love)

Bino posted an excellent list of the difference between Law and Grace tonight. I love the whole list, but one thing in particular stuck out to me that has to do with a thought that's been on my mind a lot lately. The contrast is this:

Under Law Man Says: Look at how I spoke in tongues
Under Grace Christ Says: Look at how I spoke in love

Without love, I'm nothing. I could die a martyr, but without love I'm nothing. I could give myself over to be burned. I could speak deep, deep revelations. I could have faith that moves mountains. I could lead 2,000 people to Jesus. I could write the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth about the grace of God. I could speak in tongues.

I do love writing about grace, and God did give me the gift of tongues in my early pentecostal Christian walk, and I believe both of those gifts have been an ongoing blessing. One time I was praying fervently in tongues while I was walking on my treadmill and I did not understand why I was so overwhelmed by it at that particular time. A friend who was pregnant came to mind and I prayed for that little life inside her. "Pray for the baby" is all I remember. I cried, almost in desperation, as I prayed. The next day, she was present at our small group meeting and she said that they had found a problem with the baby... something to do with the heartbeat... and this was at the same time I had been praying (unknown to her). Everything turned out ok. This is a very condensed version of the story... and I want to be very brief because I truly want to highlight that:

Nothing competes with love. Nothing compares to love. Even prayer that works miracles. Faith itself is nothing unless it works through love. And love is a pretty tall order.

And fortunately the One who IS love is living in us. He can and will love in and through us. Love is a fruit of the Spirit.

All this leads me to a song. Imagine that! I love music and I love how thoughts are conveyed through simple lines in songs. This one's from a band called The Elms. It's essentially a song about how love is so much greater than speaking in tongues... or anything else for that matter!

And remember... the key here, at least as I see it, is that this is something we grow in! It's not automatic. Love grows, not as a result of being obedient to commandments, but as a result of abiding in the Vine.

The Elms - Speaking in Tongues (Speak in Love)
The Elms "Speaking in Tongues"

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Got the kind of face everybody knows.
Run around barefoot when it snows.
Growin’ out your hair and you like it long.
Fighting in the road and you know that’s wrong.
People got a thing for the dangerous.
You’ll find it inside the best of us.
Taking what they want like it’s owed to them.
Some of us do the best we can…
Some of us do the best we can!

Brothers! Brothers!
Everybody’s speaking in tongues, we gotta speak in love!

Never met a man ‘said he did not try
Running from the truth time again in life.
You can be the poor one, rich or wise,
Everybody knows ‘bout sacrifice.
Put me in the water, put me in the fire.
Put me in the world and I’ll walk that wire.
Seen the people come and I’ve seen them go.
Talk all day but it’s what they show…
Talk all day but it’s what you show!


  1. Amen Joel!

    13And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. (1 Cor 13)

    6For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision has any value. The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love. (Gal 5)

    That is the 'only thing' that counts! People all get hung up on law, perfection, values, principles, church, ministry, sacraments, and everything under the sun and forget that 'only thing' which counts.

    We all get puffed up about our spiritual gifts forgetting what really matters.

    1If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. (1 Cor 13)

  2. Just found your blog, very encouraging to read together with grace walk, I have also been listening a lot to Joseph Prince. It all really blesses me and I have grown in God's love for me.

    Now I'm struggling to get my head around why my church have begun to do a series on the ten commandments! I will keep praying!

  3. Bino,

    Amen to all that. In my early walk with Jesus, while I was in the pentecostal church, I was very focused on spiritual gifts - especially the ones that seemed more "miraculous" - and I was very hung up on wanting to see and experience manifestations of the Holy Spirit. These things are truly wonderful things that God really does do, and I never want to discount anything that God does in and through us, but when it comes down to it, we can walk in all these things, but it's nothing without love.

  4. Anonymous,

    Hello, and welcome! I have been very encouraged by others who are walking the grace walk, so it's always wonderful to meet new grace walkers. :)

    I've heard of Joseph Prince. I think I may have read part of one of his books at one time. Something to do with spiritual warfare, but not your ordinary average approach to it. It was very enlightening and encouraging.

    Hmmm... I can relate to what you're saying about your church doing a series on the ten commandments! The church I've been a part of for the past 7 or 8 years also did a series on the ten commandments earlier this year.

    While I understand where people are coming from when they do things like this, my heart protests and is sad because they're preaching a ministry that is meant for unbelievers! I cannot help but ask if they truly know the purpose of the Law.

    The Law was never meant to encourage, inspire or help Christians in any way, nor to give them guidelines for holy living.

    It is meant to condemn people and to impute sin. It is the ministry of death and it is the ministry of condemnation! It's meant to lead unbelievers to Christ, and then once in Christ they have a whole new life that is lived by faith and by abiding in a Person... and not by Law whatsoever!

    All that to say, I know where you're coming from, and I encourage you to keep praying!

  5. I so appreciate the reminder to love!! I have been somewhat enraged by the teaching of my former church, now that I am aware of the full gospel, and everything in me wants to grab my friends and getting ready for a big debate as to why they should leave the church!! But, I know that won't be the best approach -but love can move mountains!
    I have been enjoying your blog alot, thanks!

  6. Hi Lydia Joy,

    It's great to have you here!

    During the past few years that I've been growing in grace - focused on Christ as my life and becoming more and more established grace - the term "Grace Pharisee" has come up in conversations from time to time, and I most certainly don't want to ever be accused of that. You know, such as being legalistic about grace and beating everyone over the head with it. :)

    I, too, have been sad and angry at times with those people who I love who preach and teach stuff that is contrary to the good news of the New Covenant. You are so right that love can move mountains, and I hope to continue to grow in that type of life all the more!

  7. Hi Mick,

    With all due respect to the time and effort in putting together that video, I essentially don't agree with the interpretation of the verses mentioned in it, and the time line, etc. I believe that the gifts - prophecy, tongues, healing, discerning of spirits, etc, etc - are all still as valid and useful and 'of God' as they were back in the day when Paul wrote about them being used in the church. I don't believe they have 'ceased' as of yet.

    However, I will say emphatically that in any and all of it, if we don't have love we are nothing more than a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.

  8. I think speaking in tongues is very important especially after hearing Pastor Prince speak about it on television. I have not been baptized in the spirit as yet, I have prayed about it and am now writing this comment in hopes of someone giving me insight on how it can be attained. Some people say you should just open your mouth and start to speak and after a while it will come, I on the other had believe it comes on the believer without the believer having to do anything physical to encourage it other than being in tune with the Holy Spirit... All comments are welcome.

  9. My personal view is that all who are in Christ are in the Spirit and the Spirit is in them. I would not want to let anyone be under the bondage of waiting to be baptized in the Spirit, or trying to do something to make this thing happen. I don't see any evidence in the Bible that anyone was concerned with trying to get some secondary filling of the Holy Spirit. If a special manifestation happens to you, or if you become gifted in some way by the Spirit, that's great! But don't worry about speaking in tongues or about trying to get the Spirit to manifest Himself in any particular way. Just live your life, daily trusting in Christ as your life, and He will continue to work in you to will and to do according to His good pleasure. :)

    1. Please read Acts 19: 2-6

    2. Things we see in Acts 19:2-6.

      1) The people had not heard of the Holy Spirit.

      2) They had been baptized (submersed) into John's baptism, which was one of repentance, but was not the gospel. It was not the baptism (being submersed into) of Jesus.

      So... Since all they knew was John's baptism, which was the Old Covenant baptism that led TO the New Covenant baptism, they had not been believing in Jesus, but rather in the Old Covenant. So they were instructed to be baptized into Jesus. Now, having believed in the gospel (in the Lord Jesus Christ), they received the Holy Spirit, which they could never have received under John's ministry.