Being filled with the Holy Spirit isn't complicated or spooky. Let these simple steps be your guide.
Some people have suggested that the baptism in the Holy Spirit was only for the early disciples who needed an extra “charge” or a unique gift to get Christianity started. Well, we need it too! God's power is for today. You can have your own personal experience with the Spirit by following these guidelines:
1. Remember that the Holy Spirit is holy. He will not enter an unclean vessel. Only Christians receive this experience. It belongs to no other religion and cannot occur unless a person accepts Jesus as his or her personal Lord and Savior.
2. Understand that this gift is for you. Some are afraid of the experience because they grew up in a denomination that was critical of the baptism in the Holy Spirit. But you have nothing to fear from any of the gifts He has for you. Jesus said, “Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” (Luke 11:11-13, NIV). The promise is for anyone who asks!
3. Hunger for all God has for you. There must be a holy ambition, a desire for more of Jesus and a pure devotion in our hearts when we seek anything from God. There can be no impure motivations or any desire to have the gift so that we can use it for our own benefit.
4. Ask God to baptize you in the Holy Spirit. Some people receive the baptism in the Holy Spirit at the time of their salvation. Others come into this experience decades after their conversions. For whatever reason, they did not ask for it. If you want to receive it, schedule a time to be alone with God or to attend a Bible study or church where this experience is common. Then ask Him to baptize you in the Spirit.
5. Believe that God will give you the promise by faith. When my wife and I give birthday gifts to our grandchildren, they reach out their hands and take the gifts. We are eager to give, and they are happy to receive. They do not need to beg us. So it is with the infilling of the Spirit. It brings God great pleasure to give you this gift.
6. By faith, worship God in the new language He gives you. When you begin praying in tongues, remember that your spirit is praying. The devil has no idea what you are saying, but God understands the language of your spirit. You may not know what you are saying to God (1 Cor. 14:2), but you can sense that you are communicating with Him from your heart.
7. Live by the Spirit. Every day you can choose to live a holy life, be sensitive to God's will and serve God with all your heart. When people live by the Spirit, they have a tender heart toward the things of God and are sensitive to the needs of others. Their lifestyle will include repentance, forgiveness, holiness, boldness, courage and power. As you walk in the Spirit, you will discover a spiritual power that is greater than human strength. Now is the time to plug in!
Wayde I. Goodall is the former senior pastor of First Assembly of God in Winston-Salem, N.C., with his wife, Rosalyn. His books include The Blessing (Creation House), from which this article was adapted.