I first met him when I was young.
I’d heard a bit about him from my parents. They told me I could ask Jesus and he might give me a spiritual gift.
I knew Jesus loved me tons, so I knew that anything coming from Jesus would be really good.
I was walking outside my house. I felt like singing a song to God. So I did.
I asked Jesus for some spiritual gifts.
Suddenly, I was filled with an overwhelming sense of his love.
I started praying in the Spirit. Overwhelmed with joy and praise to God.
I thought I’d died and gone to heaven. Really.
I never forgot how the Holy Spirit encountered me that day. Even later, when I drifted from a closeness with God, I sometimes sensed the Holy Spirit’s nudge to come and connect with Him. Though I ran, God pursued. God is wonderful that way.
Being filled with the Holy Spirit is not just a one time experience. The scriptures tell us, “Be (continually) filled with the Holy Spirit.”
When the New Testament was being written, the stories they told show how Jesus followers would often make space to pray for new believers to be filled with the Holy Spirit. I think it’s a good idea to do the same thing today.
See my article Six Mistaken Beliefs About the Holy Spirit for more on this.
For some people, being filled with the Holy Spirit is dramatic the first-time they experience Him. For others, it’s more gradual.
The Holy Spirit is creative and rarely does things exactly the same way twice.
You can get to know Jesus more.
You can get to know God the Father more.
You can get to know the Holy Spirit more.
One God. Three wonderful expressions of Him.
As I’ve traveled the country, I’ve seen two extremes I’m convinced limit many people’s experience with the Holy Spirit:
1) Praying for people to be filled with the Holy Spirit is practiced within a Pentecostal cultural form that leaves many people feeling uncomfortable. (Shake them, blow on them, Say, “Repeat after me: Shanda, bada la…”. ) Yes, many of you know what I’m talking about.) The amazing thing is the Holy Spirit still works with God’s people at this extreme.
2) Praying for people to be filled with the Holy Spirit is largely ignored as a practice due to a narrow theology of the baptism of the Holy Spirit. This theology (pneumatology?) largely ignores post-salvation encounters with receiving gifts of the Holy Spirit. The amazing thing is the Holy Spirit still works with God’s people at this extreme.
The Holy Spirit brings us spiritual gifts. (Who in their right mind wouldn’t want gifts from God?)
The Holy Spirit produces some great character qualities that enrich our lives and bless those around us. The Bible calls these “fruits.”
The Holy Spirit is not an impersonal “force.” He’s a person – part of the triune nature of God.
The scripture says we can “grieve” the Holy Spirit. (Ephesians 4:30)
Another scripture says not to “quench” the Holy Spirit. (I Thessalonians 5:19)
Another says not to forbid people to practice spiritual gifts, like tongues. (I Corinthians 14:39)
Hmmm. Ponder those a second.
We can actually encourage or hinder the Holy Spirit’s activity and expression in our lives and in our churches.
It reminds me of two people dancing, He moves with us.
“Fire” is experience #3 of [pocket] Disciple.
I dream of disciple making movements that grow virally everywhere. Knowing the Holy Spirit is vital.
Go make disciples, baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit!