About Jesus - Steve Sweetman
In The Spirit
I have been asked
to write an article on why we don't see singing in the spirit as often as
some of us saw in the 1960's and 1970's Charismatic Movement.
For me, it began in March, 1971, while visiting a Jesus People
outreach centre in Lexington, Kentucky. It was there that I first
heard singing in the spirit and it sounded awesome.
After singing some praise songs a few people began to sing quietly
in tongues. Others joined in
until the volume intensified into one beautifully uplifting spiritual
song. It eventually died down
into a period of reverent silence. As
a teenager I was told that tongues were devilish, but they didn't sound
devilish to me. They sounded
angelic. From then on singing
in tongues became second nature to my friends and I when we gathered to
"singing in the spirit" originates from 1 Corinthians 14:15
where the Apostle Paul equated it with singing in tongues.
"I will sing with my spirit," Paul wrote.
Note that it is "my spirit" that sings, not the Holy
Spirit. 1 Corinthians 14:2
states that when one speaks in tongues he is speaking mysteries to the
Lord. They are mysteries because our intellect does not understand what is being said (1
Corinthians 14:14). Tongues,
whether spoken or sung, are thus words directed to God that declare His
wonderful greatness, as I believe was the case on the Day of Pentecost.
"We hear them declaring the wonders of God" (Acts 2:11).
Why is singing in
the spirit not heard as often as we once heard them?
The answer may depend on where you join others to worship Jesus.
Many congregations still sing these spontaneous spiritual songs to
the Lord. Others, however,
don't. People float from one
church group to another with such frequency these days that in any given
meeting most know nothing about tongues.
Some may not even believe tongues are a valid gift of the Spirit
for today's church. Still
others may have lost the spiritual fervour that once motivated them years
ago in the Charismatic Movement. Nevertheless,
tongues are still a gift of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:9) and there
is no credible Biblical evidence suggesting otherwise.
Even though Paul placed more value on prophecy in the context of a
meeting (1 Corinthians 14:1 and 2) he never discounted the legitimacy of
Not everyone speaks
in tongues according to 1 Corinthians 12:30 but that did not stop Paul
from praying and singing in tongues more than most (1 Corinthians 14:18).
If you have been blessed with this gift of the Spirit, pray and
sing in tongues to the Lord at every opportunity.
It's all about your spirit exalting the God of wonders whom you
worship and serve.