I Corinthians 14:13 For this reason the one who speaks in a tongue should pray that they may interpret what they say. 14 For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but my mind is unfruitful. 15 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. 16 Otherwise when you are praising God in the Spirit, how can someone else, who is now put in the position of an inquirer,[d] say “Amen” to your thanksgiving, since they do not know what you are saying? 17 You are giving thanks well enough, but no one else is edified. 18 I thank God that I speak in tongues more than all of you. 19 But in the church I would rather speak five intelligible words to instruct others than ten thousand words in a tongue.
Verse 17 is the verse I want to magnify out of this portion of the passage. When you pray in your spiritual language you may be praying well, you may be giving thanksgiving to Father, but no one else is getting edified because they don’t know what you are saying. In addition they can’t rejoice with you and they can’t agree with you. Church is manifested and completed in a relational context. Church is manifested best in a love context. We are connected with each other in the body. Therefore all of our expressions of prayer and faith are to bring edification to the members around us. This is spiritual maturity. For that reason Paul instructs us to pray and sing with understanding so as to fulfill two objects at the same time…glorify God and edify a body member. This is not meant to be a lecture on tongues… rather the glaring call of edification. I’m seeing that the scope of this text goes beyond tongues and reaches into other expressions that are very vital to me the individual.
One lady insists on singing so loud in an opera voice that it is heard over the top of the band and all others.
A young man wants to clap loudly during all the songs so as to disturb those around him.
A gentleman waves his arms wildly during all the songs as he praises the Lord.
A lady dances back and forth in front of the platform during the worship gathering and draws attention away from Jesus.
A gentleman yells out at odd times during the gatherings.
A lady comes to the front with a word during the sermon.
A person wants to yodel on the microphone during a time of sharing.
If a personal expression builds me up, but does not build up the body, maybe it’s not all that important to practice in the corporate setting. I’m not discussing these things to create rules, but to provoke us unto a maturity and sensitivity toward one another. God will give us wisdom.