God knew us before we were born, before we were formed in the womb. Not that we existed before, like some of the other religions suppose or that we’ll keep going through this until we get it right, but he knew us and what we would be before we were born. Our days are already numbered here on earth. The day of our birth and the day of our death are already marked in eternity. Nothing we can do or say, no worrying or planning is going to change anything. As King Solomon said, who was the wisest man to have ever lived, “our lives are but a vapor, here and then poof, gone.”
How we live and what we do is something God already knows. God has a plan for each and every one of us. He’s going to use us, whether we like it or not, or whether we know it or not. We will not know everything until we are standing before Him in eternity.
So, what does it mean? Do we just do nothing and wait for a sign? Wait for God to push us in the right direction? No, I don’t think that’s it. I think that we have a clue in John 16:12-15, Jesus talks about the Spirit of Truth coming.
12 “I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. 13 But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. 14 He will glorify me because it is from me that he will receive what he will make known to you. 15 All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will receive from me what he will make known to you.”
For us, believers, it is the Holy Spirit where our strength and guidance come from. But before I go on, how many are confused about who or what the Holy Spirit is? I hope I can help you in understanding a little more about the Holy Spirit.
When Jesus was on earth, he was face to face with his disciples. His disciples needed to be near him to talk to him. If they were geographically separated from him, they couldn’t communicate with Jesus.
Jesus told his disciples that he is leaving, that he must leave so that the Counselor or the Spirit of truth can come. The Father sends the Holy Spirit in Jesus’ name. Unless Jesus leaves or goes back to the Father, the Spirit will not come, but if Jesus goes back to the Father, he will send the Holy Spirit to them.
Some people think that the Holy Spirit is a force, like in Star Wars, “Use the force Luke, use the force” or how many remember the old cartoons where it depicted our conscience with an angel sitting on one shoulder and a devil sitting on the other. Sometimes the Angel won and sometimes the devil won. Or like the comedian Flip Wilson said, “The devil made me do it!”
No, the Holy Spirit is none of that. The Holy Spirit is our direct line to Jesus, all of us, all at once. You could be here, and I could be on the other side of the world and have access to Jesus all at the same time. It’s through prayer that the Holy Spirit can communicate back to us, if we are willing to hear Him, if we are willing to let ourselves go and trust Jesus. Jesus needed to go back to the Father in order for us to have the Counselor or Holy Spirit, all at once.
Many believe that what happened at Pentecost, or for the new church, was for his followers then and that doesn’t happen now. God doesn’t talk to us that way anymore. Or does He?
God talks to us in many ways. When we look up at the heavens in a perfectly clear night sky with no other ambient light, it is awesome! Sunsets, Sunrises, Clouds, or other great mysteries of the world can be some of the ways God speaks to us. His creation speaks to us every day. That’s one way, but there is more.
I think God can and does speak to us directly. I think that what happened at Pentecost can and does happen today. When we accept Christ as our Savior, the Holy Spirit comes upon us and as Paul says in many of his writings, we receive spiritual gifts from God. Some of the gifts are speaking in tongues, prophecy, wisdom, knowledge, faith, healing, discernment, and the interpretation of tongues.
Tongues. What are tongues? The definition of tongues in the Bible is language. At Pentecost, the disciples were speaking in tongues or languages. The people listening to them were hearing them speak in their native tongue or language. The miracle was that they were hearing them in their different native tongues all at once.
When someone speaks in tongues, it is God talking to that person. Tongues edify the person talking in tongues. For the rest that hear him speak, they don’t have a clue of what God is saying if they don’t understand the language being spoken. So then usually when someone speaks in tongues, right after in the Holy Spirit through another person, comes a translation for the rest, the interpretation of what was spoken.
I remember the first time I saw someone speak in tongues. I was about 10 years old. I didn’t understand it or what was going on. Several people talked in tongues and several people translated afterwards, although I didn’t realize that’s what they were doing. Someone told me later that the tongue or language was probably ancient Hebrew.
Tongues are a sign, for unbelievers, but not for believers. Unbelievers look at those people and say that they are out of their minds, or weird or crazy. But think about it. God is speaking through the Holy Spirit directly to those people. Do you think that those people have any doubt that God exists? God, the creator of all things, someone beyond our comprehension is speaking directly to us. Moses couldn’t look directly at God, or he would die. Just being in God’s presence made him glow from the righteousness of God.
Yes, I believe in tongues today. I heard it and have seen it but know there are fakes out there, talking gibberish and not really speaking in tongues. There are videos on YouTube that teach you how to talk in “tongues” but it’s nothing more than faking the truth and making us, believers look bad. Unfortunately, there are more fake evangelists than real spirit driven ones. Most likely if you saw people rolling in the isles, out of control talking gibberish, you probably saw something that was fake and meant to get people to put more in the offering plate. But I’ve seen the real deal. God is a God of order, not chaos. It was how Paul described it in 1 Corinthians 26-33, 2 or 3 speaking in tongues and 2 or 3 interpreting what was spoken. It was a little weird or maybe a little scary at first but now I think that it is pretty awesome.
Speaking in tongues is for that person since no one knows what he’s saying. Paul says that tongues are a sign for unbelievers, so what about believers? Prophecy is sign for believers. When someone prophecy’s, God is speaking to the whole church, believers and unbelievers that can hear Him. Paul says that in the last days there will be lots of these.
Tongues is one of many gifts that can be given to us as saved believers. But not all will have the gift of tongues. Paul believes it is better to have other gifts like prophecy, wisdom, healing, administration and many more. The body of Christ is made up of many parts and of many gifts. We all have our purpose. God planned us and made us to fit in exactly where we need to be.
We need to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of truth. He is where our strength and guidance come from. He can speak to us in dramatic ways as in tongues or prophecies, or in the subtle ways, in the softness of prayer or in creation around us. We grow as Christians through the Holy Spirit. We need to allow God to take control through the Holy Spirit. That can be scary, weird, crazy at first, but it will become an awesome thing if we let it. Amen