He that speaketh in an unknown tongue edifieth himself; but he that prophesieth edifieth the church (1 Corinthians 14:4 KJV)
Speaking in tongues is a mystery in itself by its very nature and the results it produces. Let me focus on the results in this devotional.
We are most familiar with the verse “But he that prophesieth speaketh unto men to edification, and exhortation, and comfort” (1 Corinthians 14:3 KJV). As such, we know that prophecy edifies or builds up the believer. The prophet edifies or builds up another believer by speaking to them. Words are, therefore the primary agent of edification or building up.
Speaking in tongues takes this truth to a higher level. The preceding verse says :
“For he that speaketh in an unknown tongue speaketh not unto men, but unto God: for no man understandeth him; howbeit in the spirit he speaketh mysteries” (1 Corinthians 14:2 KJV).
When we speak in tongues, we speak divine mysteries. We are speaking words that carry the mysteries of God about His plans and purposes for our lives. Those words, contrary to prophecy, not build up the other person that listening because they do not understand them. They build up the one that is speaking. The more you speak in tongues, the stronger you become. This is the major reason why the theory that speaking in tongues is only a gift to be used to edify another believer is not tenable. Yes, that is part of the function but the one who speaks in tongues is impacted by the process.
Is speaking in tongues a gift that is used solely for serving other believers?
APPLY THE WORD
Part of the confusion about this gift is our failure to recognize that there are different manifestations of the gift, serving other believers like prophecy and the other part for the individual believer to profit. Speaking in tongues as discussed above, is a gift available for ALL believers. It is not a requirement for salvation but it is a gift that will benefit your spiritual growth. Yes, not all believers will have the gift of speaking in tongues to serve others, but all can pray in tongues to build themselves. Pray and pray in tongues again and again and build up your spiritual life like a magnificent edifice!
Ask the Father for the grace to tap into this mystery to build up your spiritual life.