Power for what?
The baptism of the Holy Spirit is a baptism of love. God is the very Spirit of love, (John 4:24; 1 John 4:8) so when He baptizes you with His Holy Spirit, He pours on His love till it fills you from top to bottom, and He keeps pouring it on until your heart bursts with His love and overflows on others. You want to share the love and happiness God’s given you, so others can know Him and experience His love also.
You don’t have to have the baptism of the Holy Spirit in order to pray and be heard, but the Spirit empowers and directs your prayers, amplifying them, if you will, so that they reach their destination loud and clear.
Your prayers will also have more effect, because even when you don’t know what you should pray for or how you should pray, the Holy Spirit does. The Holy Spirit knows exactly what God would like to accomplish in any given situation—the ultimate good. When you pray, the Holy Spirit can actually pray through you, to achieve the best results. “Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us. … Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because [the Spirit] makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God.” (Romans 8:26-27)
Power to get more closely connected
Shortly before His crucifixion and resurrection, Jesus promised His disciples that He would send them a Comforter, the Holy Spirit, to strengthen, empower, lead, and guide them in their spiritual lives and relationships with Him. “The Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.” (John 14:26) And in another passage Jesus referred to the Holy Spirit as the Spirit of truth: “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; … and He will tell you things to come.” (John 16:12-13)
Power to make positive changes in your life
Self-help books, resolutions, and will power aren’t enough! What you really need to make positive changes in your life is God’s help. You may be able to make some surface changes, but for real and lasting deep changes, you need the renewing power of the Holy Spirit. “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit.” (Titus 3:5) Some changes are instantaneous; others take awhile. But sooner or later, with your cooperation and through His Spirit, God will do what you can’t do—change you!
Power to share the good news with others
Last, and possibly most important, the Holy Spirit will empower you to be a witness—to share God’s love and to tell others about Jesus. For 40 days after His resurrection on earth, Jesus returned to teach His followers “things pertaining to the kingdom of God,” (Acts 1:3; 13:29-32; 1 Corinthians 15:3-8) and in His final com- mission to them He promised, “You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me … to the end of the earth.” (Acts 1:8) He gives the same commission to His followers today, and promises the same Holy Spirit power to complete it.
If you feel shy when it comes to sharing your faith with others, you’ll be happy to know that one of the main purposes of the Holy Spirit is to give you the boldness and the courage to tell others about the Lord and His love. You may not become a notable evangelist who wows big crowds—few Christians do—but He can help you accomplish just as much or more for Him by talking with others one-on-one. The transforming power of the Spirit of God will help you overcome shyness and worries about what others might think of you, so you can more freely reach out to them and share the message of God’s love and salvation.
Like the flame of a candle, your body must continually be burning oxygen in order to stay alive. That is a fact of this natural life which also illustrates an important spiritual truth: if you want to keep burning brightly for the Lord, (Matthew 5:16) you need to have a constant supply of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is like your spiritual oxygen supply, the very air that you breathe that keeps you alive spiritually.
The Hebrew word used throughout the Old Testament for “spirit” is ruwach, which also means “air” or “breath”; and the Greek word pneuma, translated as “spirit” in the New Testament, means the same thing. You need to be breathing that breath of the Spirit constantly or you’ll die spiritually, you’ll go out spiritually, you’ll suffocate spiritually.
Just eating is not enough to keep you alive; you have to have air to burn that food, to give you energy. Just so, the spiritual food of God’s Word is not enough by itself; you have to have air, the oxygen of the Spirit to make it burn to give you power and energy spiritually. One or the other is not enough. You have to have both!—D.B.B.
The apostle Peter had been so afraid when Jesus was under arrest that he denied Him three times. But right after being filled with the Holy Spirit Peter was suddenly a very courageous and bold man who preached fearlessly to the multi- tudes. (Acts 2) Peter’s transformation showed that what- ever got accomplished wasn’t due to any greatness of his own, but because the power of Christ was in him. “We have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us.” (2 Corinthians 4:7) —D.B.B.
Power to do a better job
Whatever job the Lord gives you to do for Him— whatever your calling or ministry may be—the Holy Spirit will help you do it better. Even if you never had a natural aptitude for that sort of work or you lack experience in that field, if the Lord wants you to do a certain thing, the Holy Spirit will empower and work through you to get it done. This power is sometimes referred to as God’s anointing, after the Old Testament references to God’s prophets anointing kings, priests, and others with oil to signify that they had been divinely chosen.
The Holy Spirit will even help you do a better job of your secular work, your interactions with your coworkers and friends, and all that goes into everyday living, as you learn to “walk in the Spirit.” (Galatians 5:25)
If you have received Jesus as your Savior, the baptism of the Holy Sprit is yours for the asking!
Before the time of Christ, God gave His Spirit only to certain prophets, kings, and other leaders of His who needed it to help them fulfill their special callings, but now His Holy Spirit is for all believers. “And it shall come to pass [after Jesus comes] that I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh.” (Joel 2:28)
Ever since the day of Pentecost, when His first followers were filled with the Holy Spirit, the Lord has opened the doors for every Christian to have an individual link and personal relationship with the Holy Spirit. Now all Christians can receive an extra measure of God’s help and care simultaneously through the communication and power of the Holy Spirit.
How do I know I have it?
How will you know when you’ve been filled with the Holy Spirit? Simple! You have it if you’ve asked for it. Jesus said, “Everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. If you … know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!” (Luke 11:10,13)
Sometimes when people pray to receive the Spirit, they don’t experience anything different with their natural senses or get any evidence by way of some supernatural manifestation right then and there, and they’re disappointed. But it doesn’t matter whether you feel the presence and power of the Holy Spirit or not. You have it because Jesus promised it to you.
It’s just like salvation. How do you know that you are saved? It’s not because of the way you feel at the time that you pray the prayer; it’s not because of faith in feelings or experiences, it’s because of faith in God’s Word, His promise to you!
Is it “once filled, always filled”?
The baptism, or infilling, of the Holy Spirit is a one-time experience, like salvation. Once you’ve been baptized with the Spirit, you’ve been baptized; you’ve had that particular experience. But after that, how full of the Holy Spirit you are at any given time depends largely on your yieldedness and obedience to God. Are you sincerely trying to find and follow the Lord’s will, to be and do all that He wants you to do and be? If so, you’ll have plenty of the Holy Spirit and its power. But if you’re determined to go your own way, or if you’re simply content to try to get by without God’s help, you’ll find that the Spirit will be in short supply indeed! The Lord can’t fill you up when you haven’t left any space for the Spirit because you’re too full of yourself. He also can’t fill you up when you don’t hold still at least long enough for Him to pour it into you. You need to spend time with Him in prayer or reading His Word.
You can and should be refilled with the Holy Spirit every day. You can fill up on His Spirit any time. Simply tap into it by following what you believe the Lord wants you to do, by drawing close to Him in prayer, by praising Him, by reading His Word, or by asking Him for another dose of the Holy Ghost. If you’ve done all you can to stay close to Him, then He’ll keep you filled with His Spirit.
Better than being there
As long as Jesus was with His disciples bodily, they knew that He loved them and they loved Him. They enjoyed being in His presence and hearing the comforting sound of His voice, yet they didn’t really know Him as they were to later know Him in the Spirit. But when the promise of the Holy Spirit was fulfilled on the day of Pentecost, the disciples found out that though His body was gone from them, His Spirit was with them in greater power than ever before—and not just with them, but in them!
Like those first disciples, if you’ve been filled with His Spirit, you can be closer to Jesus and understand His truth even better than they did when they were with Him physically and watched Him perform miracles, because you have His power and His Spirit within you.—D.B.B.
Holy Spirit oil
Hardly anything mechanical in this whole world can function well without some kind of lubrication. Where moving parts rub together, they create friction. Friction creates heat and heat creates fire and fire causes parts of the machine to burn up. But oil that’s poured on parts of a mechanism that are squeaking and groaning makes those parts run quietly and smoothly, without complaint.
Our spirits, like machinery, need cleaning and oiling. If we didn’t have the oil of the Holy Spirit, we would get rusty and break down, or we would overheat from the friction. Without proper maintenance and lubrication, there would soon be no useful motion and we’d be fit only for God’s junk pile.
But thank God, His Holy Spirit oils everything: our heads, our hearts, our spirits, our tongues, and even our feet, so we’ll go and preach the gospel. He just pours in the Holy Spirit, fills us from top to bottom, and covers every part.—D.B.B.
The Holy Spirit is a comforter
God’s Spirit of love comforts us. Like a mother, tender and gentle with a little baby, the Holy Spirit hovers over each child of God, waiting, comforting, nursing, and nurturing. The Spirit loves us and soothes our distresses, calms our fears, wipes away our tears, caresses our worried brows, and loves us to rest!—D.B.B.