>A "Hott" Girl, the Holy Spirit, and Tongues

randomlychad  —  October 11, 2010 — Leave a comment

>The story of my salvation begins of course with God, but simply because I didn’t know Him at the time, for me it begins, as with all good stories, with a girl. And not just any girl: she was a dark-eyed, olive-complected, cute, sweet, petite, brunette beauty. We met at Osco drug. She trained me in cashiering. (She has since become my wife, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves). I took one look at her and my heart did go pitty-pat. I was smitten! She was “hott” with two Ts (yes, I stole that from John Acuff, sue me: he hasn’t cornered the market on “hott” wives). But she had other ideas. She didn’t want to go out with me, but she did listen to me—and there was just some something that was different about her. She wanted me to go to church with her. If I got to sit next to her, why not? So to church we went: Assemblies of God and Charismatic, mostly. I was like—bring it on! If get to keep going out with you, heck yeah! I didn’t care what they were talking about. Funny thing is: I must’ve been listening, because something penetrated my calloused heart, and one late May night in 1988, I gave in and admitted that God was God. I was driving alone, and prayed “God, if you’re there, please make Yourself real to me. Give me the love I see in Lisa.” There was no opening of the heavens, no voice that I could hear. An altogether typical moment driving, yet I remember it still. I drove to Osco, told Lisa what I’d done—she was joyous almost to the point of tears—and went and promptly got drunk with friends. An auspicious beginning to my life of faith, no?
Thankfully, Jesus wasn’t through with me. I continued going to church—carrying the biggest, whitest, family-sized KJV Bible—with Lisa. But when it came time to ask her out to the senior prom, I feigned laryngitis, and passed her a note. I still don’t know why she said yes, but she did. I was falling hard, but to her I was still a friend, a friend that needed to grow in the Lord.
But I digress. Yes, going to prom was one of the greatest nights of my life—I even “tricked” her into holding my hand—and, no, we didn’t dance: we were too shy, I was too shy. (The story of that night requires a post all to itself). Even greater was getting to know the Lord. I was hungry, I wanted to know everything about Him that I could. I was open to whatever He wanted to do, or what people said He wanted to do. Which is how I found myself one night at our little Charismatic fellowship (interestingly enough, although there were some, they weren’t particularly good looking people), seated in a chair, about ten brothers surrounding me, pleading with the Lord to give me the gift of tongues. I was a new believer, hungry for God, so I was like “Bring it on!” If this is what God wants for me, bring it on! So I sat there, and they prayed. Some were praying for a “manifestation of the initial evidence,” whatever that was. I just wanted more of God, you know? Some were praying in what sounded like foreign languages. And none of it seemed weird to me, because this was where God was. Because I didn’t know any better, I was all for it. Thing is, though, that nothing seemed to be happening, not that I could tell anyway. One brother said to me “Do you feel anything, brother Chad?” “Not sure. What am I supposed to feel?” “Don’t worry ’bout it. You’re young yet. Just start muttering—it’ll come in time.”
That was my auspicious introduction to the Holy Spirit. I didn’t have a clue that He was already inside me, working out the will of God in my life. Leading, guiding, teaching, convicting. That little church was long on fiery teaching, long on the gifts, but in my experience, short on discipleship. What I lacked was a godly man to tell me what’s what. In my innocence, my naivete, I affirmed what I maybe shouldn’t have, but I didn’t know any better. It took awhile—blockhead that I am—for it to dawn on me that my experience with Jesus didn’t jibe with what I was hearing from paragons of theology on “Christian” T.V., or at church. That’s not to say that anyone was out to willfully deceive me—some, I’m sure, were—most, by and large, weren’t. And those Charismatic brothers, bless their hearts, they really believed that tongues is the initial evidence of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. Now hear me: I’m not a cessationist, but neither do I think that’s how the gift of tongues is supposed to operate. Of course, I didn’t know this at the time, but that doesn’t absolve me of due diligence—of “being a Berean.” (Not that I knew what a Berean was back then). After reading the Bible, I’ve come to the conclusion that the purpose of tongues is evangelism. That’s how the that gift was used on the Day of Pentecost. All the people visiting Jerusalem heard the Good News of God spoken in their own native languages, and wanted to know how to be saved. Later in the New Testament, Paul establishes rules of order for how other tongues are to be used: “not more than two or three, and always with an interpreter.” But he was more down with a clear word of prophecy (or truth) being spoken. The idea was edification: what was the most edifying for the people. And that was a clear word of truth.
Based on a recent visit to an Assemblies of God church, I think Paul was right. There was a dear sainted sister seated in the row behind my wife and I, and in between the “amening,” and “hallelujahing,” she was going to town “glossolaling” like there was no tomorrow. Now I’ve no doubt she loves Jesus with all her heart, but the expression of her gift was not edifying to me, to my wife, or I’ll bet to anyone seated around her. I’ve also no doubt that this dear sister has been going on like this for years without anyone saying anything to her. All because nobody wants to hurt her feelings, I’m sure. For myself, I’m just glad I hadn’t invited an unchurched loved one to the service. I can imagine what my mom would think: “These people are nuts!” So let me ask you, what’s more important: brother, or sister, so-and-so exercising their gift, or an unsaved person finding Jesus? Having said that, “I thank my God that I speak in tongues more than all of you.” 😉 Please share your thoughts and experiences in the comments. Thanks, and God bless!

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randomlychad

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Christ-follower, husband, dad, blogger, reader, writer, movie buff, introvert, desert-dweller, omnivore, gym rat. May, or may not, have a burgeoning collection of Darth Vader t-shirts. Can usually be found drinking protein shakes, playing with daughter, working out with his son, or hanging out with his wife. Makes a living playing with computers. Subscribe to RandomlyChad by Email

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