“Jesus, I love you, praise you, adore you, and appreciate you! I can’t thank you enough for forgiving my sins and sending your spirit into my life.” These words of love for Jesus often flowed from my lips during my late teenage years. Tears trickled down my cheeks as I attempted to express gratitude for the love God lavished upon me.
But I faced an unexplainable, invisible barrier when trying to tell God what I thought of him. To break through this barrier, I imagined myself standing in heaven with innumerable angels praising God. “I…heard the voice of many angels, numbering thousands upon thousands, and ten thousand times ten thousand. In a loud voice they sang, ‘Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise.’” I memorized verses from Psalms and Revelation which increased my praise vocabulary tremendously, but something was missing.
The dictionary and thesaurus provided me with more synonyms to words like “magnificent,” “wonderful,” and “astonishing.” I made a list of praise words and read them aloud during my private times with God. Still, satisfactory praise for God eluded me. Equipped with praise verses from the Bible and praise words from the dictionary, I did my best to tell God how highly I thought of Him. But I could only tell Him what I thought. I found it extremely difficult to tell him how I felt.
I needed a language to move me beyond the limits of my intellect.
A Very Important Discovery
In the second chapter of Acts, the apostles and other believers met together on the day of Pentecost. “All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.” “We hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues!”
I observed that these people spoke languages they had never learned. They stepped out of their limited vocabulary as “the Holy Spirit enabled them.” I wondered, “What were they speaking?” Then I noticed verse 11, “We hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues!” They were praising God! The speaking in tongues unshackled these believers from languages they had learned. The Holy Spirit swept them along in the vocabulary He provided.
I was on the brink of discovering something that was new to me, but the tenth chapter of Acts completed the breakthrough.
The Apostle Peter introduced a house full of Gentiles to the salvation that comes through Jesus. These folks unhesitatingly surrendered themselves to Jesus. During Peter’s sermon, these baby Christians spontaneously erupted into tongues like the believers in Acts 2. But the words recorded in Acts 10:46 sprang off the page, took hold of my thoughts, and introduced me to the language of intimacy with God.
“For they heard them speaking in tongues and praising God.” I realized that these folks had never memorized praise verses. Dictionaries and thesauruses hadn’t been invented. But the Holy Spirit spoke words of praise for God through their human spirits. They spoke in tongues and praised.
I’ll add this language of love to the praise verses and praise words I memorize,” I decided. From out of my spirit welled up expressions of thankfulness that I felt but could not utter. I switched from English to the praise language the Holy Spirit gave me; then I changed back to English and quoted praise verses. My mind could not understand the praise words the Holy Spirit enabled me to speak, but my spirit felt fully satisfied.
Using the Holy Spirit’s unlimited vocabulary, my human spirit expressed my love for Jesus in ways that felt good to both him and me.
Intimacy with Jesus accelerated and my dedication to him deepened.
Experiencing the Language of Intimacy with God
All Christians can enjoy the language of intimacy with God. The Holy Spirit yearns to speak praises for Heavenly Father and Jesus through every believer on earth. We can’t imagine the joy that floods God as his earthly children give themselves to the Holy Spirit’s measurelessness.
Let’s add the language of intimacy with God to our praise verses, our praise songs, and our praise words.
Scriptures referred to: Revelation 5:11-12; Acts 2: 4, 11 & 10:34-46
Be greatly encouraged!
From the archives of Rev. James Fields