Filled with the Spirit: Understanding God's Power in Your Life (4 page)

BOOK: Filled with the Spirit: Understanding God's Power in Your Life
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Everyone’s Experience Is Different

But to each one is given the manifestation of the [Holy] Spirit [the evidence, the spiritual illumination of the Spirit] for good and profit.

1 Corinthians 12:7

I thought it was important to share my whole experience with you because many people speak in tongues as soon as they are baptized in the Holy Spirit, but others speak in tongues later, as I did.

The main thing is to realize that not everyone’s experience is the same. None of us are going to have exactly the same experience the disciples had at Pentecost when there was such a mighty outpouring of the Holy Spirit. God is still doing mighty things today, though not necessarily the same way He did back then in that manifestation.

Just remember that you are an individual, and God has an individual plan for you that will be manifested if you will continue to seek Him for it.

5

S
EEKING THE
B
APTISM OF THE
H
OLY
S
PIRIT

5

S
EEKING THE
B
APTISM OF THE
H
OLY
S
PIRIT

… whoever would come near to God must [necessarily] believe that God exists and that He is the rewarder of those who earnestly and diligently seek Him [out].

Hebrews 11:6

I believe the baptism of the Holy Spirit is for sincere seekers.

So often people just want to
try
spiritual things without being serious about seeking after them. For example, they will get into a prayer line and let someone pray for them to receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit with a half-hearted attitude of, “I’ll try that and see if it works.”

God knows when a person is serious about seeking Him, and I must emphasize the word
serious.

As I mentioned earlier, I was baptized in the Holy Spirit without even knowing there was such a thing. All I knew was that there had to be more to the Christian life than what I was experiencing, and I wanted to have it, so I cried out to God for it. I believe I received the baptism of the Holy Spirit because I was serious about wanting more of God so I could live a holy, victorious life.

If you want to receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit, I think one of the questions you need to ask yourself is,
“Why
do I want to be baptized in the Holy Spirit?”

The baptism of the Holy Spirit is not just for goose bumps. It should not be sought just for the gifts of the Holy Spirit that go with it, such as speaking in tongues.

I believe the baptism of the Holy Spirit is for those believers who really want to live holy lives, those who want the fullness of God within them because they truly want the power and ability to do God’s will.

Timing

To everything there is a season, and a time for every matter or purpose under heaven.

Ecclesiastes 3:1

Can you receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit anytime you are ready?

The answer is yes and no. I don’t mean for that to be a confusing answer, but it depends upon your motives. Are you ready to allow Him to lead and guide you and be the controlling influence in your life?

If so, then you may be ready to receive, but you must be aware that the Holy Spirit is given for a purpose — to get fully involved in your life and work in it to lead you down the good path God has planned for you.

About three weeks after I was baptized in the Holy Spirit, I was called into ministry. I did not know that was going to happen when I sought the fullness of the Lord. I only knew I needed more of God to be able to do whatever it was He had for me to accomplish in my life.

The same is true for you. You may not know yet what God is calling and preparing you for, but you must remember that whatever His plan is for you, the baptism of the Holy Spirit is an equipping for it. It may not be full-time ministry, but we are all called to do something wonderful for God.

Jesus told His disciples that they would be baptized in the Holy Spirit in order to be His witnesses. God wants to give you the power to be something. Are you ready to receive that gift and become what He wants you to be?

The Baptism of Fire

John answered them all by saying, I baptize you with water; but He Who is mightier than I is coming, the strap of Whose sandals I am not fit to unfasten. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.

Luke 3:16

Many people want the baptism of the Holy Spirit, but they don’t want the baptism of fire.

What is the baptism of fire? Condensed to its simplest form, it is allowing the Holy Spirit to work in our life to bring us out of carnality and into new levels of holiness all the time.

In other words, it is the crucifixion of the flesh; it is spiritual maturity.

In Galatians 2:20, the apostle Paul described this crucifixion of the flesh when he wrote,
I have been crucified with Christ [in Him I have shared His crucifixion]; it is no longer I who live, but Christ (the Messiah) lives in me; and the life I now live in the body I live by faith in (by adherence to and reliance on and complete trust in) the Son of God, Who loved me and gave Himself up for me.

As He floods your life, the Holy Spirit wants to move in and permeate every area. He wants to live in every room of your heart. Before He can do that, you must be willing to move out.

This is all part of the process of sanctification that we mentioned earlier, which is one of the ministries of the Holy Spirit in the life of the believer. The Bible speaks of it as being transformed into the image of God from glory to glory:
But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.
1

There is a work to be done in the life of each one of us. We are in the process of a progressive change and growth brought about within us by the Holy Spirit, Who wants to fill us totally with His marvelous Presence and power.

If you are ready to receive the fullness of the Holy Spirit in your life, what should you do? The answer is really very simple.

Ask and Continue to Ask

If you then, evil as you are, know how to give good gifts [gifts that are to their advantage] to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask and continue to ask Him!

Luke 11:13

In my meetings, I use this verse simply as a catalyst to say to people, “If you want to receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit, then ask God for it.”

According to this passage, God has promised to give the Holy Spirit to all those who ask.

When you ask, how will He lead you to receive? He may lead you sovereignly, as He did with me and also my husband.

Dave was baptized in the Holy Spirit at the age of eighteen while he was in the bathroom. Dave was just thoroughly disgusted with his behavior and knew he did not have the power to change himself. So in desperation he prayed to the Lord, “God, I am not leaving this bathroom until You do something in my life. I don’t know what it is that You need to do, but I am not leaving here until You do it.”

Not only was Dave baptized in the Holy Spirit, but he also received a physical healing in his eyes.

So God may move upon you in an unusual way — in a car or in a room of your house or while you are out taking a walk. He may pour out His Spirit upon you when someone else lays hands on you in prayer. That may be in a meeting in which someone is ministering the baptism of the Holy Spirit, or it may be at your church or in your pastor’s study or even in the home of a friend.

Whatever the circumstances, just open your heart to the Lord in faith and allow Him to give you all that He has available for you. This wonderful Gift of God called the Holy Spirit is the One Who brings to you and me every other good gift. He has been given to us to bring forth into our life everything that we need.

6

T
HE
G
IFTS OF THE
H
OLY
S
PIRIT

6

T
HE
G
IFTS OF THE
H
OLY
S
PIRIT

Now about the spiritual gifts (the special endowments of supernatural energy), brethren, I do not want you to be misinformed.

1 Corinthians 12:1

I attended church for many years and never heard one sermon or lesson of any kind on the gifts of the Spirit. I did not know what they were, let alone that they were available to me.

Many people are afraid of receiving the Holy Spirit because they don’t understand either the Holy Spirit or the gifts of the Spirit. For that reason, I would like to share with you some important Scriptures on this subject.

In 1 Corinthians the apostle Paul wrote to the church that he had established in the city of Corinth to explain to those new believers something about the nature, operation and purpose of the gifts that the Holy Spirit bestows upon people.

In 1 Corinthians 12 he begins by telling the Corinthian believers that he does not want them to be ignorant of these things. Then he goes on to explain the gifts to them.

A Variety of Spiritual Gifts

Now there are distinctive varieties and distributions of endowments (gifts, extraordinary powers distinguishing certain Christians, due to the power of divine grace operating in their souls by the Holy Spirit) and they vary, but the [Holy] Spirit remains the same.

And there are distinctive varieties of service and ministration, but it is the same Lord [Who is served].

And there are distinctive varieties of operation [of working to accomplish things], but it is the same God Who inspires and energizes them all in all.

1 Corinthians 12:4-6

Paul tells the Corinthians that there is a variety of spiritual gifts and that they are distributed to different people in the church according to the will and purpose of God.

Although the spiritual gifts are distinct one from the other and operate differently to accomplish different purposes, they are all under the direction of God, Who gives them life and energy.

The Gifts Defined

But to each one is given the manifestation of the [Holy] Spirit [the evidence, the spiritual illumination of the Spirit] for good and profit.

To one is given in and through the [Holy] Spirit [the power to speak] a message of wisdom, and to another [the power to express] a word of knowledge and understanding according to the same [Holy] Spirit;

To another [wonder-working] faith by the same [Holy] Spirit, to another the extraordinary powers of healing by the one Spirit;

To another the working of miracles, to another prophetic insight (the gift of interpreting the divine will and purpose); to another the ability to discern and distinguish between [the utterances of true] spirits [and false ones], to another various kinds of [unknown] tongues, to another the ability to interpret [such] tongues.

All these [gifts, achievements, abilities] are inspired and brought to pass by one and the same [Holy] Spirit, Who apportions to each person individually [exactly] as He chooses.

1 Corinthians 12:7-11

So we see that when God gives the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him, the Holy Spirit distributes among them different spiritual gifts to be used for different purposes.

Generally, these gifts are known by the description of them found in the
King James Version
of this passage: word of wisdom, word of knowledge, faith, healing, working of miracles, prophecy, discerning of spirits, tongues and interpretation of tongues.

Remember, the gifts vary, but they are all from the same Holy Spirit.

The
word of wisdom
is a form of spiritual guidance that lets an individual know supernaturally by the Holy Spirit how to handle a certain issue in a way that is beyond their natural learning or experience and lines up with God’s purpose.
1

The
word of knowledge
operates much the same way as the word of wisdom. There are a number of different interpretations of the word of knowledge, but the one believers generally follow is this: We find it valuable because suddenly an individual knows something that God reveals to them about their life or about what He is doing in another person’s life that there is no natural way for them to know.
2

I belive there are certain individuals to whom God gives the
gift of faith
for specific occasions such as a dangerous missionary trip or a very challenging situation. When this gift is operating in people, they are able to comfortably believe God in or for something that other people would see as impossible.
3

The
gifts of healing
work with the gift of faith. Although every believer is encouraged to lay hands on the sick, pray and see them recover,
4
God may choose to use certain individuals in a special healing ministry.
5
In other words, as believers, we can always pray for the sick, but the gifts of healing may not always be present, just as the gift of faith may not always be present. We can always pray in faith, using the measure of faith that the Bible tells us God has given to every person,
6
but the supernatural endowment of faith is given as the Spirit wills.

Miracles are things that cannot be explained, things that do not occur through ordinary means. We all can and should believe God for miracles in our lives, but God will choose certain individuals to have the gift of the
working of miracles
flow through them. It is up to the wisdom of the Holy Spirit whether it occurs once or a few times or on a regular basis.

Prophecy
concerns the will of God, and while it is instructive or edifying, sometimes it may bring correction. One may prophesy to another individual or to an entire congregation of people. Sometimes the prophecy is more general; at other times it is very specific. It may come through a prepared message or sermon, or it may come by divine revelation.
7

BOOK: Filled with the Spirit: Understanding God's Power in Your Life
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