Reasons for Not Speaking in Tongues
1. When Not Having Any Understanding About Tongues
Apostle Paul did not want the believers to be uninformed on spiritual gifts, that is, work and manifestation of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor 12:4-11). We would have to have an understanding on spiritual gifts as well as on speaking in tongues. Today’s tendency is that many Christian brothers and sisters do not have any understanding on spiritual gifts, and they have very critical and judgmental views on them. They simply follow the theology and perceptions of today’s era.
The word “knowing” should be understood as “experiencing”. It is not to justify theoretically but to experience it. There is a general tendency that believers with the experience of spiritual gifts at work acknowledge spiritual gifts, but for those without such an experience have objection on the work of spiritual gifts in today’s setting. In the Bible those without having any working knowledge of spiritual gifts are labeled as “believers without understanding”. In 1 Corinthians 14:23, these people are called believers “who have not experienced the spiritual gifts.”
2. When Believers Say “ Tongues ” No Longer
“Love never ends. But as for prophecies, they will come to an end; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will come to an end” (1 Cor 13:8).
This Bible passage is the quotable verse to defend their argument by people who make the claim that tongues is no longer in use. According to this passage, if tongues is ceased, the same should be said about knowledge coming to an end. If knowledge truly came to an end, message should not be preached, Bible study should not be done, and nothing should be done for that matter. Is it fair to say “tongues is no more” when there is much Bible study and preaching in churches?
In the passage above, “cease” does not imply that it will cease in this world; it is rather a phenomenon that will occur when believers come to face to face with the Lord after our resurrection, that is, in the kingdom of God speaking in tongues will not be necessary. In God’s kingdom, knowledge will not be necessary. Prophecies will not be needed there. “Then we will see [the Lord] face to face” (1 Cor 13:12). Moreover, at that time “I will know [the Lord] fully, even as I have been fully known [to him]” (1 Cor 13:12).
3. When Weighed Down by Other Spirits (The Consciousness of the World of Men), Inspiration of the Holy Spirit Gets Quenched (1 The 5:19)
In 1 Thessalonians 5:19, we are told that “Do not quench the Spirit.” When we are weighed down by the consciousness of the world and of men, inspiration of the Holy Spirit could easily get quenched.
Many of the pastors who came to the author’s church to attend “Spiritual Ministry Clinic” have mentioned that they had spoken in tongues prior to their attending the seminary. Then at the school they were taught that “after the early Christian church the gift of tongues has ceased,” and they were strongly influenced by this teaching. After a while, they themselves began to believe that notion, and their gift of tongues has been ceased, as well.
How then could the Spirit be quenched by humans?
The spirit of prophets is the Holy Spirit, and the prophet is a man. No matter how hard the Spirit tries to give the gifts of prophecies and of tongues, unless people believe and act out on their beliefs, nothing is going to happen. Men are created in ways that the Holy Spirit cannot control our body simply by ignoring our sense of self-identity. That is why when we observe the words of the Lord, God then can bless us ( Deuteronomy 28:1-6).
We should not think, “Since God is almighty, he can do all things.” God himself limits the actions of God. God gave us the authority to have dominion over everything on earth (Gen 1:28). Moreover, he gave us the dominion over our body (Gen 2:15-17).
Thus, the Bible said, “present your bodies as a living sacrifice” (Rom 12:1). When we offer God our bodies, time, tongues, hands, and lips, he uses them; yet, if we are not making any move to present ourselves to God but only tell him, “God, use us,” we cannot expect him to make all the move in order to use us. When we simply say, “Tongues, speak in tongues now,” will our mouths then begin to open up and pray in tongues? Since the Scripture says, “Ask, and it will be given you” (Mat 7:7), the first thing we would need to do is to ask him; in response to our request, he will provide.
Even if you have received the gift of speech and proclamation, you would still need to stand before people and speak to them in order to have your gift manifested (1 Cor 2:4); if you keep your mouth tightly closed and yet, deeply yearns for God’s word to be proclaimed through you, will a message be delivered to people automatically just because of you thinking about it? For the work of the Holy Spirit to be manifested through us, we would have to avail ourselves as the channel of the Spirit (Rom 12:2).
4. Since Speaking in Tongues is the Holy Spirit Moving Our Lips, It Is Difficult to Pray in Tongues with the Oppressed Atmosphere
The Bible says, “Open your mouth wide” (Psalm 81:10). So open your mouth wide and proclaim. From my experience of leading revival meetings at various churches, the churches that speak aloud are the ones whose members pray much in tongues. This is further to say that the church with people speaking loudly will eventually speak in tongues.
If any of you cannot speak in a loud tone of voice, you will not likely experience praying in tongues. As I’ve mentioned in previous pages, speaking in tongues happens when the Spirit moves your tongue. To move your tongue, you would have to open your mouth wide. When your mouth is closed, it would be difficult to move your tongue freely. A tongue has various muscle tones, and the muscle used for speaking is well developed. Yet, if you have never experienced speaking in tongues, the muscle the Holy Spirit would need to use to help you pray in tongues has not been developed, and that part of your tongue muscle will not move naturally by itself.
For people without any experience in playing the piano, when they attempt to play the instrument, the muscles in their hands to play the piano will not move smoothly. Likewise, the lame man sitting at the Beautiful Gate, since he has not used the necessary leg muscles to walk for many years, could not just stand up and begin to walk on his own when asked to do by Peter. Not only that Peter told him, “In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, stand up and walk,” but he also helped the lame to do that by taking “him by the right hand and raised him up.” From this act, the lame man’s “ feet and ankles were made strong,” helping him ready to walk (Act 3:2-7).
The same principle applies to speaking in tongues. Have the muscles of your tongue not used in prayer previously be made available. The Holy Spirit will help move it so that you can pray to God in tongues. As the Scripture asks you, open your mouth wide and begin to speak aloud in prayer to have your tongue be made available for the Holy Spirit.
5. Speaking in Tongues is for the Spirit to Move Your Tongue; Thus, Unless You Speak Out in Your Prayer, It Will Be Difficult to Pray in Tongues
“Call to me and I will you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known” (Jeremiah 33:3).
The words of “ Call to me ” appear often in the Bible. Most prayers in the Old Testament era were in the form of “ calling out ” to God ( Exodus 3:9, 1 Sam 9:16 ). The churches worshiping in a quiet style do not usually have people praying in tongues. On the other hand, the churches with lots of “calling out” and “shouting” tend to have many of their members praying in tongues. Generally speaking, when you speak in a loud tone of voice in prayer, you can readily participate in praying in tongues, even if you have never spoken in tongues previously. Our minds are connected to our tongues. When we feel getting “hot” from within by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, if we try to speak aloud in prayer, we often experience praying in tongues. In the tenth chapter of Acts, while listening to a message, the Cornelius’ family all spoke in tongues. It was because the pouring of the Holy Spirit came upon them (Act 10:44).
6. Speaking in Tongues Is A Language Generated by the Holy Spirit Moving Our Tongues; Thus, You Should Not Intentionally Put Strength into Your Tongue
It may sound strange to you, but reflecting on my experience, this is true to the statement. When you pray in tongues, if you put strength into your tongue and speak slowly and clearly, you will have difficulty having your tongue to be controlled by the Spirit, even if you open your mouth wide and speak in a loud voice. As aforementioned in previous pages, when you pray in such a way, the spirit of men has already taken the control of you.
Therefore, anyone wanting to speak in tongues would need to pray in a loud tone of voice; yet, to help you not to put strength into your tongue you would need to speak fast; don’t try to enunciate words clearly, but to connect them together rapidly one after another. If you faithfully follow through this guideline, you will soon experience your tongue being controlled by the Holy Spirit involuntarily, and then your tongue will begin to move by itself. When you begin to experience these phenomena, let your tongue be controlled by the Spirit. When you put strength into your tongue to say something, this will interfere with your efforts in speaking in tongues instead of helping you.