At the very beginning, the overflow of the Holy Spirit in the body of Christ caused Paul to set the manifestations in order, that all things might be to edification. Notice the order Paul gives by the Spirit for the manifestation of tongues and prophecy: "If any man speak in an unknown tongue, let it be by two, or at the most by three, and that by course; and let one interpret. But if there be no interpreter, let him keep silence in the church; and let him speak to himself, and to God. Let the prophets speak two or three, and let the other judge" (I Cor. 14:27-29). When this instruction is followed, needs will be met, brothers and sisters will be edified, and words of comfort will be spoken which man cannot reproduce or even hope to imitate. Many have tried to prophesy in their own strength, out of their own minds, but a true manifestation of the Spirit is discerned by those that have the anointing of the Spirit. As I John 2:20 says, "Ye have an unction from the Holy One, and ye know all things."
Paul goes on to say, "For ye may all prophesy one by one, that all may learn, and all may be comforted" (I Cor. 14:31). Prophecy is not preaching. Many have defined it as such, doing away with the supernatural aspect of prophecy. Many have done away with tongues and interpretation of tongues, because they cannot control it. It doesn't fit into their "program." It was never intended to. All the gifts are under the control of the Holy Spirit. He moves "severally as He will," not as man wills. If there were ever a time when we needed the presence of God and His working, it is now. The Lord has not done away with any of the manifestations of His Spirit, or with the purpose for which they are given. We need Him more today than we ever did. We need words of comfort. We need to be edified, built up and nourished.
God's presence will not be in our midst just because we want it, but there are steps we can take to open the way for Him. The first step is a desire to know God and to meet with Him. We must desire God to manifest Himself to us in the order He has set forth, not in the traditions of man. There are no substitutes. We must have God--all that He is and all that He wants to do. We need every manifestation He will give us.
This is a time when we need to encourage each other, and this can only be done as the love of God fills our hearts. John speaks about this love: "But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him" (I John 2:5). Love will be brought to full maturity as we come together and function with other believers. The love of God "suffereth long, and is kind; envieth not; vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. Love never faileth..." (I Cor. 13:4-8). But even if we have love, it will not substitute for the presence of God in our midst manifesting Himself, bringing true fellowship, enabling us to move in union with Him, knowing the communion that He brings.
It takes a big step of faith to move past the traditions of man and man's way of thinking, to wait upon God, renew our strength in Him, and know the work that He wants to do in this hour. May God speak to us; may we see the urgency of the hour we live in; may He give us the ability to move; and may we take the time to wait upon Him and be renewed in our inner man, in our relationship with the Lord.