Thursday, February 23, 2006

The Baptism of the Spirit--My Dilemma

I don't technically believe in a "baptism in the Spirit" that is subsequent to salvation, believing from Scripture that " one Spirit we were all baptized into one body...and all were made to drink of one Spirit." (1 Corinthians 12:13) I suspect it's mostly the terminology that I disagree with, but also, the idea that we are not filled with the Spirit at conversion. However, here is my dilemma: I want it. I have been saved for 24 years, since I was 5 years old and have had many experiences with God over this time. I certainly have had differing degrees of power from the Holy Spirit at different times, but it seems to me that I am utterly powerless to minister to people compared to what I read in Acts and in the lives of various men and women of God over the course of church history. I have never had anyone fall at my feet under conviction of sin begging "what must I do to be saved". I have the distinct impression that my prayers, prophecies, and words of counsel lack true life-transforming power. Maybe not completely, but there is something lacking.

I have asked God many times for this kind of filling--something more akin to the Pentecost experience. Obviously I am not yet satisfied. But more and more I think my motive is changing by his grace. I am starting to love people more, and I see the need for God's power and grace to share with others. Lately, I've been understanding fellowship more. I'm starting to view it as more like imparting what we've been given in the Spirit to each other. Some relationships will be receiving more than we're giving, some equally giving and receiving, and others giving more than receiving. We are in need of better things to share with others.

I just can't get this quote out of my head (posted on a blog I read "Life on Wings-A Tribute to Ern Baxter" )

"We have sipped where we might have drank. We have drunk where we might have bathed. We have bathed upto the ankles where we might have found rivers to swim in. Alas of many Christians it must be affirmed that they have been naked and poor and miserable when they might in the power of the Holy Spirit, have been clad in golden garments and have been rich and increased in goods". - C H Spurgeon

Ultimately, I believe what Jesus told us. Ask and receive. So I will keep on asking until I receive. Isn't that what our work is? To ask and believe? I am certain that He will answer.


Don said...

Keep asking, Jul. And you might want to consider getting yourself to a place where you can have hands laid on you for the filling of the Holy Spirit. You're in Delaware; contact Rich Campbell at the University of Delaware (lionroar [at], tell him Don sent you (I'll email him directly), and ask him his suggestion for the best church/ministry in your area to go to, for a filling. Rich is a trustworthy brother who has long experience with the Spirit.

You're so right to want MORE from the Lord. In 1978 I received the infilling of the Spirit without even specifically asking for it -- I was interceding in prayer for friends, and whoosh! He fell upon me with groans (Rom 8:26) and tears, and transformed my spiritual life -- I had joy, desire to read the word, etc.

In 1994-1996 God went deeper than I thought possible, with a number of experiences that either gave me new gifts, or activated ones that had been dormant. My regret is that from 1978 to 1994, I didn't know I could ask the Lord for "MORE," so I never did. Now I know He wants to keep filling us, for intimacy with Him and to share Him with others.

jul said...

Thanks. That's very encouraging. I'm even thinking about possibly visiting TACF as my sister lives in Toronto and I've never been there (and I'm a Canadian!) Part of the reason I'm so excited to move back to N.B. is that I really believe it's God's next step for us in our own spiritual experience. I know he has some good things for us in the near future. Let me know more about your friend too. Feel free to e-mail me with more info.