The language of spirit
Christ Jesus says unequivocally (John 4:24), that the true worship of God, Spirit, must be spiritual. Both before His crucifixion and after His resurrection, Jesus promised His disciples that they would receive the influx of the Holy Spirit. Fifty days after Jesus’ ascension, on the day of Pentecost, it is recorded in Acts 2:1, that the disciples experienced this promised activity of the influx of the Holy Spirit. It was accompanied with the disciples speaking in different languages or ‘tongues,’ as the Bible calls it. And those present recognised the languages and understood.
In many churches today, especially in Pentecostal churches, an evidence of being born again and being baptised of the Holy Spirit, is usually ‘speaking in tongues’ or glossolalia. More often than not, the language is not readily identifiable to listeners. Linguists define glossolalia as, ‘the fluid vocalising of speech-like syllables that lack any readily comprehended meaning, in some cases as part of religious practice in which it is believed to be a divine language unknown to the speaker.’ This definition gives a suggestion of mystery, even mysticism, quite contrary to what occurred on the day of Pentecost.
Many born-again Christians, not gifted with speaking in tongues, have been dismayed at their seeming unworthiness to receive this gift of the Holy Ghost. Yet, the Bible tenderly and reassuringly promises in James 1: 17, that every good gift is from God, who is unvarying in His generosity to man. Every Christian yearns to be filled with the Holy Spirit, yearns for the Holy Spirit to give them ‘utterance’ – Acts 2:4.
What then is the language of Spirit? Is it limited only to those selected specially to receive this gift?
In her book, Science and Health with key to the Scriptures, Mary Baker Eddy writes that God communicates to every man, woman and child in the language of Spirit, through spiritual sense – ‘a conscious, constant capacity to understand God.’ She insists that the ‘new tongue’ is interpreted by the translation of the spiritual, original language into a language, which human thought can comprehend. This interpretation and translation is important. It speaks to the heart of listeners, convincing them to repent and draw nearer to God (Acts 2:41).
Christians filled with the Holy Spirit – who speak the language of Spirit – see it manifested, not only in their lives, but also in the lives of those listening to them, in practical ways, such as commitment to God, service to Church and following Christ’s example in doing Jesus’ healing works.
Mojisola George, Christian Science Committee on Publication for Nigeria West
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