One time my husband, Pastor George Pearsons, preached a series in our church titled God Has a Plan for Your Life. It was wonderful. After a couple of weeks, everybody understood that God has a plan for your life and it’s a good plan. Then he took the series to the next level. He said,
“The plan of God for your life is in the Spirit.” You could just feel about two-thirds of the congregation sink in their seats as if to say “Well, that counts me out.” It seems that many assumed that day it takes some sort of super ability to know something about the spirit, an ability they didn’t have and probably couldn’t get. Nothing could be further from the truth. The realm of the Spirit is not a mystical, far out world that only a few can contract. It is the realm of the Holy Spirit and we should not be strangers to Him. As Christians we are born of the Spirit. He is the One Who bears witness with our spirits that we are sons of God (Romans 8:16). Unfortunately, too often believers have stopped there. We have short changed ourselves of that third person of the Godhead – the One Who is the revealer of God the Father, God the Son, God the Word, and God in you. We can gain understanding of the ways and the operations of the Spirit because He is sent with the specific assignment to teach, guide and reveal.
Dimensions of the Spirit
In the Old Testament, we see the first dimension of the Holy Spirit: the presence of God was among the people. While Israel wandered in the desert He was the cloud by day and the fire by night. Later His presence filled the Holy of Holies in the temple. The only people the Spirit rested upon were the King, the priest and the prophet. Encounters with Him happened mostly during times of worship at the temple.
Now the second dimension is revealed by Jesus when He says that the Holy Spirit “shall be in you” (John 14:16-18). In John 20, after Jesus’ resurrection He walked in the room where the disciples were gathered and He breathed on them. What did He say? “Receive the Holy Ghost.” Why did He breathe on them? The breath of life was given to them the same way it was given to Adam when God breathed life into him. Life was imparted to them and spiritual death was moved out and they were born again. No longer was the Holy Spirit just among them, but now He was the Holy Spirit within them.
So what would this third dimension be? Well, we know that there must be more because even after Jesus said “Receive ye the Holy Ghost,” He charged them to go to Jerusalem and wait for the promise of the Father (Luke 24:49; Acts 1:4-8). What was that? The coming of the Holy Spirit. So there had to be something more if He’s already said “Receive ye the Holy Ghost.”
Acts 2:2-3 says, “When suddenly there came a sound from heaven like the rushing of a violent tempest blast, and it filled the whole house in which they were sitting. And there appeared to them tongues resembling fire, which were separated and distributed and which settled on each one of them” (The Amplified Bible).
When the fullness of the Spirit came among them, this time He came upon them individually. Each and every one of them had the fullness of the Spirit. But then there was also a fullness of the Spirit within them. Well, does that mean that when you’re saved you only have a part of the Holy Spirit? No. You can’t cut Him up in little pieces. But there is a fullness or a beginning of the fullness of His ministry in you and through you and upon you. It is an overflow. Jesus said you don’t put new wine in old skins. Your spirit had to become a new skin so that the new wine could come in. So you were born of the Spirit in order to be filled with the Spirit.
Was that a big deal? Look again at Acts Chapter 2 and find out just how big a deal was that. “And when the day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all assembled together in one place, when suddenly there came a sound from heaven like the rushing of a violent tempest blast, and it filled the whole house in which they were sitting” (Acts 2:1-2 The Amplified Bible). This sound that they heard from heaven came in and filled the room where they were. It surrounded them and came upon them. It was among them but in a fullness and in a way NO ONE had ever seen or experienced. This was an explosive work of the Holy Spirit. What happened after that? It says they were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance.
On that day when the fullness of the Holy Spirit moved into this earth, when heaven and earth were divinely reconnected, the Spirit was not only upon the men but within the men. The whole realm of heaven burst open and the moving of the Spirit began to happen. Throughout Acts we see the other gifts of the Spirit listed in 1 Corinthians 12 begin to flow freely. The gifts of the Spirit weren’t new. We find record of every one of them in the Old Testament – except tongues and interpretation. But there had never been such a free flow of those gifts. When His expression of tongues was unleashed, every other operation and manifestation of the Spirit came to a higher dimension than it had ever been before. Tongues was the key that opened wide the door to the supernatural.
I was teaching on some of these things not too long ago and I was so caught up in it as I was studying. The bigness of it all just kept growing it seemed on the inside of me. I was caught up in the presence of the Lord. I was sitting in my office thinking
“Oh Jesus, this is so wonderful and so big. Lord, just give me words and tell me a way that I can share with our church the bigness of God and the bigness of tongues.”
I was looking for something really wonderful, an eloquent, dynamic answer. Then the Holy Spirit impressed me with these words: “Tongues is God’s Swiss army knife.” I don’t know why but it made me laugh. I was waiting for words I thought were as awesome as what I was sensing on the inside. And He says to me “Tongues is the Swiss army knife of God.”
Tongues is the Swiss Army Knife of God
Why is tongues like a Swiss army knife? Well, first of all, a Swiss Army knife is a pocket knife with multiple blades and tools stowed inside its handle. Like that handle holds many tools, all the operations of the Holy Spirit are inside of tongues and He pulls out the appropriate tool as it pleases Him. Remember it is “As the Spirit wills” (I Corinthians 12:11). He said to me that the gifts of the Spirit are all encased in tongues. Every one of them can be touched through praying in tongues. Every one of them can be activated as the Spirit leads. You identify where He’s leading you.
Praying in tongues allows you to develop and increase in your ability to follow His leading. Praying in other tongues is the doorway to the supernatural. According to 1 Corinthians 14 through praying in other tongues 1) we turn from human, limited communication and speak directly to God (verse 2) 2) we bring out mysteries and hidden truths (verse 2) 3) Our spirits become stronger (verse 4) 4) the limitations of our minds are set aside (verse 14) 5) new depths of praise are opened (verse 17) and 6) a sign is given to unbelievers (verse 22). And that’s just the beginning! These things just don’t drop on you. This is a co-laboring with God by the work of the Holy Spirit.
No other work of the Holy Spirit is so exhaustive, so vital and so available! There is such a connection between the release of the power of the Holy Spirit and praying in other tongues. Every single thing that happens to you from God and of God is by the Spirit. You can’t be born again, you can’t be healed, you can’t even think straight apart from the Holy Spirit. It all happens because of the Word, because of Jesus, but by the Holy Spirit.
Our being filled with the Spirit and speaking with other tongues was not so that we could have a new label. It was not so that we could just form a new group. We know that in Luke 11 Jesus said, “It is the Father’s good pleasure to give you the Holy Spirit.” Luke 12:32 says, “It is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.” And we know that It’s His heart’s desire. And when He gives you the Spirit, He has given you the Kingdom.