Many of us grew up not knowing much about the Holy Spirit. We had seen the odd movies and heard the even odder stories about people rolling in laughter on floors of churches, and gold glitter appearing in peoples hair, snakes being handled and the likes, and it made us wonder if the Holy Spirit was like a great circus act, causing people, who were normally serious, to become inflated with helium and filled with antics.
Here is what I have learned about the Holy Spirit since those days of watching the circus from afar. I did go and visit many of these spaces, and met, for instance John Arnold, Rick Joyner, and many other ring masters in the Spirit who have held spaces where the Holy Spirit has taken up camp so to speak. My own uncle was a traveling revivalist preacher, and his tents were often suspiciously Holy Ghostly! As a child, I would go hear him preach, and his audiences often had fainting, and some seriously strange utterances going on. It all felt so other worldly, and at the same time secretly exciting to some part of my young spirit.
My first experience with the Holy Spirit was on a mountain near where I grew up. Pilot mountain. I was seeking the gifts of the Spirit at that time. Now, I should have been seeking The Spirit Himself, but I was seeking the gifts. Anyways, this woman pastor-Reverend Bryd I recall-and her assistant, laid hands on me, asked for the baptism of the Holy Spirit, and it happened, and I immediately began speaking in tongues. Ok, simple enough. Or was it.
Many of us have been frightened to enter what the old timers called “the abundant life” because of the flashy manifestations people did when first baptized in the Spirit. But this is outer appearance, the outward expression of something far more interesting than even the strange manifestations which often accompany this spiritual experience. And it is true in the early stages of the charismatic church for instance, some of the experiential aspects were overemphasized. Yet, let us not throw out the baby with the bath water, or vice versa in this case. Let’s not miss this essential part of knowing God because people have been funny about it over the years!
Later, God started teaching me about this part of who He is. Water, Wind, Fire-the ways in which The Holy Spirit moves. I also came to understand that it was possible to be sort of re-filled at various points for ministry and other purposes. Once, in California I was filled for three days and had to stay lying on a reclining chair for most of that time. Thankfully, my friends already knew I was weird!
At this time, i was just starting to move in my primary spiritual gift-prophecy; and I started to sense the need for The Holy Spirit not just to give the gifts, but to activate them as well, in a very practical way.
“John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with The Holy Spirit.”
Here are some practical things, i think the Holy Spirit brings into our lives with more vividness and vivacity:
The Holy Spirit makes Jesus real to us. That’s essential. Just as Jesus made The Father real, tangible, overt; so the Holy Spirit makes Jesus real tangible, felt, overtly touchable. So it is not a question of: is the Holy Spirit too weird for me. It is rather the fact that The Holy Spirit was given by Jesus in order to know Him more intimately. That is our motivation for a life in His Spirit.
The Holy Spirit also opens our eyes to understand the Word. I do not think i really knew any of the Bible before being filled with The Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit also shows us our role and relationship in and with The Body of Christ, enabling our spiritual gifts to flourish to equip and build up the Body of Christ into His Fullness (Ephesians). The Holy Spirit actually activates these gifts and then matures their use. You see this when Peter stood up and preached. He had spoken before, but not in that power which moved 3000 to enter the Kingdom of God immediately.
Basically, the Holy Spirit empowers whatever ministry gifts we have, so we are effective when offering the aspects of His Life we were meant to carry and make manifest to others. You see many, who still do not move in their own “ministry” and wait for other’s activated gifts, to feed them, when they themselves could be feeding others. We do need each other’s gifts, but my point here, is we all need to also be moving and active in our own, so they can edify and assist others. The Holy Spirit unwraps these gifts!
In addition, The Holy Spirit leads us into spiritual maturity in this way, compelling us to grow up into spiritual adults and no longer be drinking baby food, allowing us to move onto the higher truths of the Kingdom. Basically, the Holy Spirit grows up our spirit, so that we may become heirs and not just slaves (Gal.4)
But, how can we know, we can fully receive the Holy Spirit? The Holy Spirit’s availability is based on Jesus promise. When He ascended, He promised them that He would send This Spirit, and This Holy Spirit would be with them as He had been. In many ways, Pentecost was proof that Jesus was where He said He would be, and doing what He had promised to do–sending His Spirit to dwell with and in and on His people. So, the Holy Spirit’s indwelling in us, is proof of Jesus ascension.
But later in the scriptures, Paul elaborates. The Holy Spirit is also the deposit guaranteeing the rest of Christ’s promises about our future (Ephesians 1:13,14;2Cor 5:5). And as many who do not have the spirit are not of Christ (Rom8:9). So it is a given, that we have the Spirit.
You remember that early on, there were many cases in which people had been baptized into Jesus Name, but did not yet have the gift of the Spirit (Acts 8 is one example, where Peter and John go pray for those in Samaria). So, the apostles would teach them and often lay on hands, and it came on them as it had on the disciples. It’s clear from these examples that the baptism of The Holy Spirit is a distinct experience from baptism into His Name, or salvation. There was here a distinction between baptisms. One into Jesus Name; one baptism in the Holy Spirit. It appears that people could get them at the same time, as in the case of Cornelius and his household, and other examples. But others, had this gap between the two, seemingly from lack of knowledge. Anyways, clearly we were all meant to have both baptisms in order to grow up into His Fullness.
Lastly, this verse: “God sent the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, the Spirit who calls out, Abba Father.” (Gal 4:6) So here we see that the Holy Spirit is that which leads us into an intimate relationship with The Father. Intimacy with His Father, seems to have been one of Jesus highest teachings and modelings, and it is by this Spirit that we enter that intimacy. We need the Holy Spirit to become intimate with the Father. We began this little meditation, with The Spirit’s power to make us intimate with The Son. We end it, with The Holy Spirit’s ability to make us intimate with The Father. Everything in between is covered by those two truths about the role of the Holy Spirit in our lives.
Hope this is helpful as you seek the fullness of your own spirituality in Christ, and greater intimacy with Our Father through a living and vibrant relationship with The Holy Spirit!