1 Corinthians 14:20 – Brethren, do not be children in your thinking; yet in evil be babes, but in your thinking be mature.
Paul brought correction to the saints at Corinth over the mishandling of the gifts of the Spirit. As a spiritual father, he wanted the Corinthians to grow up in Christ and not be like children concerning spiritual gifts. He was especially speaking about the use of the gift of tongues. In verses 21-22, Paul quoted Isaiah 28:11 where God declared that He would speak to His people Israel with “stammering lips and another tongue, but they would not hear.”
Paul taught tongues as a sign gift to Israel as well as a sign gift to the unbeliever (verse 22). The passage in Isaiah goes on to say, “Here is rest for the weary.” It is interesting that Paul uses this quote from Isaiah to make His case for tongues as a sign gift. This supernatural ability to speak in an unknown tongue is like the refreshing water that flowed from the rock in the wilderness, when God supplied water to refresh His people. Paul’s teaching in 1 Corinthians 14:4 instructs us that the gift of tongues is meant to edify. The unbelievers hear the Gospel in their own language, while the individual believer is edified as the tongue is interpreted. In one’s personal prayer life speaking in tongues refreshes the saint of God and builds up the inner man.
Again, Paul’s strong encouragement is not to be children in your thinking, but be mature. Paul encourages the use of spiritual gifts, while encouraging a mature perspective. Many respond negatively to tongues as a result of misreading Paul. He is not against the use of tongues, nor does he set tongues against anything else such as love. Paul said, “I thank God I speak in tongues more than you all” (1 Corinthians 14:18). The gift of tongues is healthy, for it is one way the Spirit of God refreshes the believer. Corporately, when a message in tongues is given, an interpretation needs to be given so others can be edified.
Allow the Holy Spirit to release your spirit to speak in a new language. He wants to give you the ability to pray and sing in the Spirit. Allow your worship and prayers to be controlled by the Spirit of God. As the Scriptures declare, it will be refreshing to you just as He has promised. Father, I yield my entire self to You, especially my tongue. As the Palmist David said, “Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips” (Psalm 141:3).