As we get closer to the return of the Lord, and every day we are closer, it is so important that we know how to live Spirit-filled and Spirit-led lives. How many of you would say that you want the most effective, prosperous, and most successful life you can live? If that is your goal and what you want, then you are desirous of a Spirit-led life. Romans 8:14 tells us that if we are led by the Spirit of God, then we are the sons of God. 1 John 4:4 says greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world. If you live a Spirit-led life, then greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world. Mark 11:22-24 tells us to have the God kind of faith, then to pray, believe, and receive.
“One who speaks in a tongue edifies himself, but one who prophesies edifies the church.” 1 Corinthians 14:4 NASB
The word edify here is the Greek word that means build yourself up. When you become born again, accept Christ into your life, and receive salvation, the Holy Spirit is part of it. If you come to my home and stay in my home, you are under my influence. But if you don’t have access to my bank account or my refrigerator, and you can’t use my boat, guns, or hunting equipment, you are there with part of my protection, but you are not getting all of the benefits of being in my home. This is where there is misunderstanding sometimes with the Holy Spirit. I was talking to someone I love dearly and asked them if they believed in the baptism of the Holy Spirit, and they said no, I got the Holy Spirit when I got saved. I asked them why Paul in the book of Acts asked, have you been baptized with the Holy Ghost since you believed? Paul makes it clear that there is a differentiation. In the verse we just looked at, it is clear that when a person speaks in tongues edifies themselves, but when one prophesies, it edifies the church.
“Therefore let one who speaks in a tongue pray that he may interpret. For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but my mind is unfruitful. What is the outcome then? I will pray with the spirit and I will pray with the mind also; I will sing with the spirit and I will sing with the mind also.” 1 Corinthians 14:13-15 NASB
Unfruitful means there is no understanding. What is this saying? It is telling us we want to interpret so our mind can align itself with what we are praying. Often, after I pray in tongues, I will ask God for the interpretation because I want my thinking in line with my spirit. We are a three-part person. We live in a body, we have a mind which is your will and emotions, but we are a spirit. When we die, our spirit is what lives. Our body will decay and rot; it is what we put in the ground.
We should pray to interpret. Some people have mistakenly said that interpretation is only for the church; it isn’t. Romans 12:2 tells us not to be conformed to this world but to be transformed by the renewing of your mind. When you interpret what you pray in tongues, your understanding gets in line with your spirit. When you pray in tongues, you have the right to ask God to give you the interpretation of what you are praying for.
When I began to pray about where to start a church, I told the Lord I wanted to go to the most unreachable people, and I thought I would get the Lord, and I would be able to go to Alaska. I would love that; I love the tv shows about Alaska. I love the snow. I was so excited to go and be able to hunt caribou and moose. One day I was praying in tongues, and I asked God for the interpretation, and right out of my spirit, I began to hear the Holy Spirit begin to change how I was praying. I was thanking God for Alaska, and suddenly my spirit prayed differently. I remember another time I was praying in tongues for my daughter, and when I asked God to give me the interpretation, and He began to speak to me about a situation in her life. My understanding changed and aligned with my spirit. Sometimes we are praying our desires, but our spirit is praying our need. You are a spirit being, and your spirit knows exactly what you need. There are times we pray for stuff because, in our carnal knowledge, we think it is what we want; that is why it is important to pray for interpretation so you can pray what your spirit says.
Look back at 1 Corinthians 14, asking what the outcome is? It says, “I will” four times, Paul is telling them to make a faith confession.
“There are varieties of effects, but the same God who works all things in all persons. But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. For to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, and to another the word of knowledge according to the same Spirit; to another faith by the same Spirit, and to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, and to another the effecting of miracles, and to another prophecy, and to another the distinguishing of spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, and to another the interpretation of tongues.” 1 Corinthians 12:6-10 NASB
These verses here are talking about the manifestation of the Spirit in the church. All of these things should be happening in your church; if they are not being manifested, then you have to ask yourself, what kind of a New Testament church is this? Power and revelation gifts operate in corporate ministry. Now go back to 1 Corinthians 14:13, it is talking about an individual or private manifestation of the Spirit, in 1 Corinthians 12, it is talking about the corporate manifestation for the church. 1 Corinthians 13 is the Love chapter. We know that faith works by love, so amid the manifestation of the Spirit, we have a big oreo cookie with the Love chapter in the center.
“But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually just as He wills. For even as the body is one and yet has many members, and all the members of the body, though they are many, are one body, so also is Christ For by one Spirit we were baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and we were all made to drink of one Spirit. For the body is not one member, but many. 1 Corinthians 12:11-14 NASB
Salvation is a gift; it is available for everyone. God would not give a gift to an individual and not give it to another. That is why the Bible says that He is no respecter of persons. These verses tell us that there are many members of the body, and the Holy Spirit gives these manifestations as He wills or wants to. That is fine because He is dealing with the corporate body. Every church should have these manifestations, but who they manifest through is up to the Holy Spirit. But, when you look at 1 Corinthians 14, it is talking about individuals. That is why Paul said I speak in tongues more than you all and wish that you would do also.