When most of us think of the Holy Spirit, we refer to Acts 1:8, which states , “And when the day of Pentecost had come, the disciples were all in one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the house where they were sitting and it appeared that there were tougues of fire that sat upon each one of them. They were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues (languages).”
Can this happen again? I’m sure it has. Do the manifestations like speaking in tongues , seeing flames of fire , and hearing a mighty wind always accompany the infilling of the Spirit? I believe that this is possible but it doesn’t always happen like this. We need to understand why the Spirit is given to believers in the first place in order to answer these questions:
Jesus said to his disciples, ” It is necessary that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Spirit will not come……… The Spirit will reprove the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment………when He, the Spirit of truth has come, He will guide you into all truth……” (John 16:6-13)
However, we have to remember that God is God and if He wants to send fire down from heaven He will, in order to accomplish His divine purposes. Does He always send the Spirit in this way? I think not, and it burdens me when I think of many solid Christians who have been told that they are not “saved”, because they haven’t spoken in tongues. The Bible never makes that distinction, but instead it says, “If you confess with your mouth the Lord jesus, and shall believe in your heart that God has raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”
Having hopefully cleared up any misconceptions, we can now talk about how the Spirit can enpower our lives. The function of the Holy Spirit or third person of the triune God, is to make a way for Jesus to be here with His people. In the old testament, the Spirit came to certain people for certain reasons, but now He is available to anyone who believes and trusts in Jesus. Every Christian has the Holy Spirit, but not every Christian is filled with the Spirit at all times.
God desires that we be filled so that grace and love will flow out to others. The anointing from the Spirit flows “like rivers of living water”. (John 7:38) that penetrates every part of our being. F.E. Marsh in his book, The Discipler’s Manual” states that this river “flows freer than any fountain, and neither fails, nor empties, nor stagnates.”
The more Christ-like we become, the more of His Spirit we realize. The Holy Spirit helps us pray and understand the Bible. As we spend more time with God we will be able to produce fruits of the Spirit, which are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, and self control. The Spirit helps us witness to others and beginning with our own family, the whole world becomes our mission field.
On the contrary, the more we harbor unconfessed sin and false idols, the more we block the channel of outpouriing. When sin and idols have been removed, wait on God in prayer, read His Word, and by faith believe that God will do what He says He will do. “As we do the trusting, He will do the keeping; as we do the yielding, He will do the filling; as we do the obeying, He will do the enpowering; as we do the submitting, He will give the victories, and this He will do by the indwelling, inflowing, and outflowing of the Holy Spirit.” (F.E. Marsh)
Being filled with the Spirit is not a one-time experience but a continuous spiritual dimension in a believer’s life. All we have to do is obey God’s Word and “…….how much more will your heavenly Father give the holy spirit to those who ask him?” so if you want to receive the Holy Spirit, all you have to do is ask! (Judy Whittaker)