Speaking in tongues has been a great blessing and benefit to my spiritual life in the past.
I have been discouraged at times because of the abuse I have seen from others. and the lack of sound doctrine, and the teachings, among those who speak with tongues.
Even so, this does not disqualify God’s gifts.
Praying in other tongues is not going to straighten out your theology. It didn’t do that for the Corinthians and it won’t for you either. It is not going to make you spiritual. it didn’t do that for the Corinthians, and it won’t for you either.
This is where I think people mistake the purpose for the gift of other tongues.
In scripture, the primary purpose for tongues is for exalting God (praising and glorifying him) in you personal devotion.
If you pray in other tongues, your spirit is edified, but others around you are not, and that is why the gift of the interpretation of tongues is given.
Praying and singing in other tongues in your personal devotion with enrich your praying and singing with your understanding.
Tongues is given primarily as a gift to enhance your personal devotion with God. In the book of 1 Corinthians 14, the apostle Paul says the following:
I thank God that I speak in tongues more than all of you. Nevertheless, in church I would rather speak five words with my mind in order to instruct others, than ten thousand words in a tongue.
Notice that Paul makes a contrast between his much speaking in tongues and speaking in the church. While speaking in tongues in private edifies the individual who speaks in tongues, speaking in tongues publicly does not edify those who do not know what you are saying.
This is why Paul says he’d rather speak five understandable words in the church than 10 thousand which can’t be understood by others. When we are in fellowship with others (in church,) we should be concerned with the edification of others, and not ourselves.
Paul tells the Corinthians to keep silent (from speaking in tongues) in the church if there is no interpreter present.
The sad truth is that many Christians are robbed of the blessing of speaking in other tongues because of the abuse of carnal Christians who think speaking in tongues publicly is a sign of spirituality. It is not!
Speaking in tongues publicly with no interpretation, is a sign of carnality, being able to control yourself and keep silent is a sign of spirituality.
Spiritual people do not need to draw attention to themselves with their gifts. Spiritual people are more concerned with using their gifting with discretion and wisdom so that the name of Christ is glorified and others edified.
The same can be said for the gift of prophecy. There has been much abuse of the gift of prophecy, but the real truth is, you don’t have to announce that you are prophesying or giving a prophetic word to prophesy.
Prophecy can edify people and give them hope without them ever knowing they were prophesied to.
if you have to announce that you are prophesying, ask yourself, why?
Are you being carnal, and needing to draw attention to yourself?
If we will grow in our love towards others, the gifts of God can and will enrich our lives and when used properly, be a tremendous blessing to others.