But if we are going to manage to make some adjustments in our lives, then we must resist the temptation to do it in our own strength – ‘Not by might, not by power, but by the Holy Spirit says the LORD’.
On the day of Pentecost, the fire of the Holy Spirit came from heaven – and it was seen as tongues of fire. On the day of Pentecost the Holy Spirit operated first in the disciples tongues.
Paul says: ‘Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is’ and the next verse he tells us what the Lord’s will is, ‘Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit’ (Ephesians 5:17-18).
The positive commandment is just as valid as a negative commandment. Do not be drunk with wine, but be filled with the Holy Spirit.
Paul goes on to say, ‘Speak to one another with psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ’ (Ephesians 5:19-20).
Notice that the word ‘speak’ (v.19), comes straight after Paul’s instruction to ‘be filled with the Holy Spirit’ (v.18). There are fifteen places in the New Testament where people are filled with the Holy Spirit and every time it is immediately followed with a response from the person’s mouth – whether it be speaking in tongues, speaking a word of prophecy or singing exuberant praise. When you are filled with the Holy Spirit – the first sign of this infilling will come out through your mouth. Instead of murmuring, complaining, criticizing, and expressing your doubts and fears – you will, like Paul, want to speak, sing and give thanks to God. The whole use of your tongue will move from the negative to the positive.
Some of you might be thinking that you have been filled with the Holy Spirit, but you are still full of negativity, unbelief or criticism- but this is why the Bible says ‘go on being filled with the Holy Spirit’. We have to keep setting the Lord in front of us. We have to keep on drinking in the Holy Spirit and yielding our tongues to praising God, expressing our thankfulness to Him, and to glorifying His holy name.
It is not enough to give up sinning – we must also seek God’s original intention for our tongues. The New Testament pattern is this: ‘Be filled with the Holy Spirit and speak’ – this is the remedy if we find that our tongues need healing!