Off the Script

Prayer in the Spirit and the Gift of Tongues

by Joseph Castleberry

EDITOR’S NOTE: The following essay may be used to supplement sermon material when teaching and preaching on the baptism in the Holy Spirit.

Nobody lives in the real world.

“You’ll never amount to anything,” his father yelled. “You don’t sing as well as your sister does,” her mother insulted. “You’re dumber than dirt.” “You’re just like your father.” “You’ll never be able to pay for college.” “If you don’t do it the way we always have, it can’t be done.” “People [of your race, ethnicity, personality type] can’t make it.” “Christians are weird.” “Only weak people believe in God.” Lies, lies, lies.

The Bible says, “Let God be true, and every human being a liar” (Romans 3:4, TNIV).1 So how do we get past human lies to find God’s truth? The answer: It is a lifelong quest. While God designed us to be learners, many people, as the Bible says, are “always learning but never able to come to a knowledge of the truth” (2 Timothy 3:7, TNIV). Because no one has perfect knowledge of God’s truth, nobody lives completely in the real world.

Of course, there is a sense in which we all live in the real world, in as much as our bodies inhabit the real physical world. But while we exist inside our bodies — we live inside our heads — we filter everything we experience through the basic beliefs we have about the world. Our “programming” determines how we understand the world, and once we get certain ideas fixed in our heads, it can make living on God’s beautiful earth seem like a trek through hell. While some people see the world as an awe-inspiring place full of opportunity, others live as if it were a prison with no door.

Undoubtedly, some people see the world more clearly than others. But all of us live inside a mental world that other people pass on to us. Our parents, teachers, friends and enemies, the media, government, the religion we grew up in — are constantly telling us what the world is, what life is, who we are, and what we can do. All of them interpret the world within the constant human struggle for power.

Read the rest of this article by obtaining a downloadable PDF of the Spring 2011 issue of Enrichment journal.