Lord, You honor the one who honors You. Help me ever live for You alone.
Read: 1 CORINTHIANS 14:1-25
 Follow the way of love and eagerly desire gifts of the Spirit, especially prophecy. For anyone who speaks in a tongue does not speak to people but to God. Indeed, no one understands them; they utter mysteries by the Spirit.  But the one who prophesies speaks to people for their strengthening, encouraging and comfort. Anyone who speaks in a tongue edifies themselves, but the one who prophesies edifies the church.  I would like every one of you to speak in tongues, but I would rather have you prophesy. The one who prophesies is greater than the one who speaks in tongues, unless someone interprets, so that the church may be edified. Now, brothers and sisters, if I come to you and speak in tongues, what good will I be to you, unless I bring you some revelation or knowledge or prophecy or word of instruction?  Even in the case of lifeless things that make sounds, such as the pipe or harp, how will anyone know what tune is being played unless there is a distinction in the notes?  Again, if the trumpet does not sound a clear call, who will get ready for battle?  So it is with you. Unless you speak intelligible words with your tongue, how will anyone know what you are saying? You will just be speaking into the air. Undoubtedly there are all sorts of languages in the world, yet none of them is without meaning.  If then I do not grasp the meaning of what someone is saying, I am a foreigner to the speaker, and the speaker is a foreigner to me.  So it is with you. Since you are eager for gifts of the Spirit, try to excel in those that build up the church.  For this reason the one who speaks in a tongue should pray that they may interpret what they say.  For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but my mind is unfruitful.  So what shall I do? I will pray with my spirit, but I will also pray with my understanding; I will sing with my spirit, but I will also sing with my understanding.  Otherwise when you are praising God in the Spirit, how can someone else, who is now put in the position of an inquirer, say “Amen” to your thanksgiving, since they do not know what you are saying?  You are giving thanks well enough, but no one else is edified.  I thank God that I speak in tongues more than all of you.  But in the church I would rather speak five intelligible words to instruct others than ten thousand words in a tongue.  Brothers and sisters, stop thinking like children. In regard to evil be infants, but in your thinking be adults. In the Law it is written: “With other tongues and through the lips of foreigners I will speak to this people, but even then they will not listen to me, says the Lord.” Tongues, then, are a sign, not for believers but for unbelievers; prophecy, however, is not for unbelievers but for believers.  So if the whole church comes together and everyone speaks in tongues, and inquirers or unbelievers come in, will they not say that you are out of your mind?  But if an unbeliever or an inquirer comes in while everyone is prophesying, they are convicted of sin and are brought under judgment by all,  as the secrets of their hearts are laid bare. So they will fall down and worship God, exclaiming, “God is really among you!”
Reflect: How are you exercising the gifts God has given?
Paul’s concern is for worship that is intelligible and builds up the faith of everyone. Love undergirds everything (1). He does not dismiss the gift of tongues but sees its use normally for private conversation with God (4). It is more important to speak out God’s Word (prophecy), communicating it clearly. He uses the verb “to speak” 24 times in this chapter!
Three metaphors illustrate how a message from God is delivered: a musical instrument sets distinctive and varied tones (7), the bugle gives clear instructions on the battlefield (8), while, as a warning, foreign languages inevitably exclude non-speakers (10,11). Whatever is proclaimed should be done intelligibly for all, including the outsider (24,25).
Is everyone encouraged to participate actively in your church? Passive entertainment is never an option for a worshipper. In desiring self-fulfillment, does my desire for a worship style that suits me make me intolerant of alternative worship styles that nurture the faith of others? Do those who proclaim God’s prophetic Word speak coherently, using accessible language, having prepared with discerning care?
When you gather with other believers, prepare yourself. Ask God how he would use you to bless others.
Lord, let me speak words of truth and encouragement and to do so with clarity.
Syndicated via Scripture Union