Speaking in tongues is an awesome gift of the Holy Spirit but it can easily become an idol. Whether speaking in tongues becomes a perfect gift of the Holy Spirit or an idol depends on how you handle it.
Anything can become an idol if you esteem it higher than God intended. God gives us gifts but He also gives us the wisdom to know how to prioritize them.
Failing to prioritize gifts from God correctly is a sure way to stop God from giving you any more gifts. In fact, one of the most common reasons why people don’t receive gifts from God is because they are poor at prioritizing gifts from God.
I’m sure you have heard preachers say sometimes God doesn’t give you wealth because He knows you will abandon Him. That is true in most cases.
The Israelites were victims of failing to prioritize the blessings of God. When they were in Egypt, they desired to go to Canaan. When God took them to Canaan, they quickly forgot He had led them out of slavery and sinned against Him.
When Adam was alone in the Garden of Eden, God gave him a wife out of the love He had for him. But when Eve caused Adam to fall, Adam blamed God for having given him Eve.
Of course God was grieved that He was blamed. Since that day, God is very careful with giving blessings to His children.
Speaking in tongues being one of the gifts that come from God, it is important to know how people idolize it so that you avoid it and enjoy the full benefits of the gift.
How People Idolize Speaking in Tongues
1. Speaking in Tongues without Love
It is no secret that love is superior than speaking in tongues. The Bible is very clear that speaking in tongues without love makes you a resounding gong.
The same gift of speaking in tongues that we praise so much can become as useless as the noise of an empty tin when we take love out of the picture.
According to God’s design, the fruit of the Spirit is superior to the gifts. Every believer must prioritize the fruit of the Spirit over the gifts of the spirit.
Forgiving someone who wronged you is more honorable in the eyes of God than speaking ten thousand tongues. Helping a needy person pleases God more than uttering a thousand mysteries in tongues.
Remember Jesus left us with the command to love one another as He had loved us. If speaking in tongues was a greater priority than love I’m sure Jesus would have emphasized the need for us to speak in tongues over loving our neighbors.
The emphasis is on showing love. There are unlimited ways of showing love. At whatever position you are at, there is an opportunity to show love.
Showing love comes naturally when you love Jesus. Don’t stress yourself looking for needy people to help. There are more than enough needy people; God will send them to you when He knows you are in a position to help them.
Showing love is a state of the heart first before it is an action. When God sees that your heart is full of love, He sends your way people who need love. It is stress free.
I do speak in tongues more than I do acts of love but when there is an opportunity to do an act of love, I do my best to prioritize it above speaking in tongues.
If a friend comes to you stressed and needs your help and while you are helping him the time you have set to speak in tongues comes, it is wise for you to prioritize helping the friend than speaking in tongues.
Whatever you would have prayed for in tongues God will automatically give you because you prioritized love over speaking in tongues.
2. Speaking in Tongues instead of taking Responsibility
The Bible tells us that there is a time and a season for every matter under the sun. In the book of James, we are told that faith without action is dead. Speaking in tongues is the faith part that requires the action part for it to complete its work in you.
When you speak in tongues, God gives you ideas that need to be implemented. You have to implement those ideas for your life to improve.
When God revealed to me while I was speaking in tongues to teach others about speaking in tongues, I knew I had to write articles and create videos to reach the people I was instructed to teach.
Writing articles and creating videos are not spiritual activities, are they?
You are benefiting from the revelation God gave me because I took action based on the revelation.
People who speak in tongues but don’t take action when God gives them instructions annoy God. What is the purpose of speaking in tongues if you don’t act on the revelations that God gives you through speaking in tongues?
It gets to a point where God doesn’t reveal anything even if you pray in tongues. Your tongues become a waste of time.
I have witnessed God stop revealing mysteries to people because they took no action on the mysteries God revealed.
Many of the ideas I write about are given to me partly because I have been faithful in sharing previous ideas revealed to me. I hope you remember that famous saying from the Bible “Whoever has, to him more will be added but whoever does not have, the little he has will be taken from him”.
Speaking in tongues is a guaranteed way to get God to speak to you and reveal mysteries to you but if you don’t take the necessary action on the mysteries, God will stop revealing them to you.
To be safe, when God reveals something to you when you are speaking in tongues, write it down and focus on implementing it. You will know God is pleased with how you have implemented it when He reveals something else to you.
3. Speaking in Tongues in Unnecessary Situations
Englishmen say ‘Too much of something is poisonous’. The Bible says ‘When you find honey, eat just enough; too much and you will vomit’.
This principle applies to speaking in tongues as well. People idolize speaking in tongues when they use it in situations that it is not needed.
While it is hard to pinpoint situations in which speaking in tongues is not needed, the Spirit of God will always let you know when speaking in tongues is not needed.
There was a day I went to pray to calm down. I was very angry because one of the leaders in the church I was attending had misunderstood me. When I got to the prayer room, the Spirit of God revealed to me that I didn’t need to pray for that situation.
Sure enough, I couldn’t utter a single word in tongues. I kicked the wall in anger and left. By the end of the day, I was fine. The Spirit of God revealed to me that being misunderstood is part of being a follower of Jesus; He too was misunderstood and got angry but He definitely didn’t kick any walls as I had done.
Just because you can speak in tongues doesn’t mean every situation needs tongues. Don’t be the person that Englishmen refer to when they say ‘When all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail’.
Always strive to speak in tongues when there is a good reason. When you need edification, speak in tongues. When you need direction, speak in tongues. But when the Spirit of God asks you not to speak in tongues, don’t force it. If you do, you will grieve the Spirit of God and the tongues you speak will be an idol rather than a pleasing aroma to God.
When you have sinned against God, repent before speaking in tongues. If you know there is something that is not right between you and God or between you and your neighbor, fix it before you speak in tongues. Speaking in tongues when God has a case against you is a waste of time.
Why you should Avoid Idolizing Speaking in Tongues
1. Waste of Time
Idolizing speaking in tongues will waste your time. You will stagnate in life if you idolize speaking in tongues. God will let you waste your time when He sees you idolizing speaking in tongues.
God always lets people waste their time when they turn to idols. Some people are busy praying in tongues for God to give them a spouse but they have idolized speaking in tongues.
God has already given them instructions of what to do to get a spouse but they are still praying in tongues about it.
Others are speaking in tongues for their finances but they have ignored instructions God has given them to get finances.
If such people never realize they are idolizing speaking in tongues, they will be stuck in their situations for a very long time. God has no problem waiting for them to discover their error; He waited 40 years for the Israelites to gather courage to enter Canaan.
There are people who are better off not having the gift of speaking in tongues.
2. It is Annoying to God
God will not shout at you when He is annoyed. He will speak to you in a still small voice. If you idolize speaking in tongues, God will be annoyed and you never know what He will choose to do.
In some cases, God puts people to shame with their gift of speaking in tongues. They go to cast out a demon with their gift of speaking in tongues and God lets the demon beat them thoroughly.
For others, God holds them in poverty with their gift of speaking in tongues. They suffer for years in poverty while speaking in tongues daily. God promotes those who don’t speak in tongues and leaves those who idolize speaking in tongues in an attempt to make those who idolize speaking in tongues question themselves.
Idolizing speaking in tongues is annoying to God and be assured it attracts pain and suffering.
3. It Strains your Relationship with God
You know that awkward moment when a girl presents herself to a man but the man has no interest in her? That is what idolizing speaking in tongues will do to your relationship with God.
You will be like the girl who throws herself to a man hoping he will embrace and kiss her but instead he pushes her away.
God will want to let you know that you are idolizing speaking in tongues and that it is straining your relationship with Him. He will use many methods to try and pass this message to you beginning with painless methods and increasing pain gradually.
You may feel so dry no matter how long you speak in tongues. God withdraws from you to let you experience emptiness in the hope that you will question why you are experiencing dryness yet you are speaking in tongues.
The moment you question, God will let you know what you have done wrong and how to correct it. God is more interested in helping people stop idolizing speaking in tongues than punishing them for idolizing speaking in tongues.
How People Idolize Speaking in Tongues: Conclusion
Speaking in tongues is a great gift but it comes with a responsibility. The moment you get the gift, you have a responsibility to make sure you practice it but at the same time you don’t idolize it.
Striking that balance can be a challenge but of course the Holy Spirit will always be there to help you. The stupid thing people do is ignore the warnings the Holy Spirit gives them.
The Spirit of God will alert you when you are not exercising the gift as you should and when you are idolizing it. Those alerts are impossible to miss.
I have received those warnings countless times. Rarely does it ever get to the point of God inflicting punishment. Don’t worry about it.