About Jesus  -  Steve Sweetman

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Singing 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 worship Jesus. 


The term "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 tongues.  


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.            



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