A few years ago I was dealing with a challenge that had been going on for a number of years. It had caused me to have chronic insomnia. I was regularly praying in tongues about it. I was standing on the Word, declaring it over the situation. I did have some temporary relief at times, but simply could not get to the point where I was completely free from the insomnia. Then the Lord revealed to me that fear was causing the insomnia. He showed me the day the fear entered my heart. Then He instructed me to forgive the person who had wronged me, which had caused the fear to enter. The day I forgave, the insomnia began dimishing, and within about 2 to 3 weeks it was completely gone. This got me thinking.
I thought about the thing that caused the insomnia – fear. I thought about the thing that caused the fear – unforgiveness. I thought about the thing that caused the unforgiveness ….. what was that? Then I remembered 1 Corinthians 13:5 “… love does not remember a suffered wrong.” The thing that caused the unforgiveness wasn’t a “thing”. It was the absence of a “thing”, and that “thing” was love. In order to break the repeating insomnia cycle, I had to activate the love of God in me so I could forgive. My forgiving then caused the fear to leave me. And the fear leaving, gave me peace which caused me to sleep when I needed to.
I thought about all the times I had prayed in tongues about the problem. I had heard many sermons rightly emphasising the importance of praying in tongues. But my experience through this trial revealed to me that praying in tongues alone does not guarantee a victory. I realised that if all I did was pray in tongues, but never forgave, then I would never have gotten free from insomnia.
What if all I did was forgive, but never prayed in tongues? Further down in 1 Corinthians 13 it says that “love never fails” (vs 8). It doesn’t say that love never fails, but only if you pray in tongues too. It simply says, “Love never fails.”
I began to consider the difference between love and tongues. 1 Corinthians 14:4 says that when we speak in tongues we edify ourselves. So, tongues is something that strengthens us. It has been given freely to us as a tool. That was it! Tongues is a tool! It is such a powerful tool, that we can use it without even thinking! 1 Corinthians 14:14 says that when I pray in tongues my understanding is unfruitful. With this amazing tool, we can also pray God’s perfect will for our lives even if we are unsure of it. Romans 8:27 says (speaking of praying in tongues) we pray God’s will when we pray in tongues. Wow! What more could we need?
What about love? What is love? 1 John 4:16 says that God is love. That’s it! Love is a person! Revelation 19:6 says that God, the omnipotent, reigns. If God is all-powerful and He is love, then love is all-powerful! That’s why love never fails! Colossians 1:27 teaches us that Christ is in us. So, this all-powerful love is in us. We forgive by love, His love in us. We don’t have the capacity to forgive without His love in us, because forgiveness works by love. It’s not I who don’t remember a suffered wrong, but love who doesn’t remember a suffered wrong. The power to forgive is His love in me.
On my journey discovering these truths, I discovered that praying in tongues is important, but walking in love is more important, and greater, and more powerful.
Someone came to Jesus and asked Him which of the commandments was the great one. Jesus’ answer to him was that loving God was the first and great commandment, and that loving your neighbour as yourself was the second commandment. (He didn’t mention any of the Ten Commandments except the first one.) Then He said an important thing. He said, “All the law and the prophets hang on these 2 commandments.” Love is the foundation. When we walk in love, our tools have more power! If you had a power tool, you could say that love is the electricity that gives the power tool it’s power. Without electricity the power tool is powerless!
So, why is love greater than tongues? Tongues is a tool; Love is a person. The Person!