In the beginning of our Christian walk most of us are like lawnmowers. We have some "horsepower", but not a lot of it. We can get the job done, but we may need some "push" behind us. Most of us as new Christians are learning about our relationship with God. Sometimes we need a few rules to give us some guidelines. Time and discipleship result in growth, and a closer walk with God.
But hopefully there will come a time in our life and relationship with the Lord when we find the need for more of Him in our life. We know we cannot get everything accomplished by ourselves. We desire a more full commitment to God and we want more of Him. We want to walk in more power as we allow the Holy Spirit to lead and guide us. A bulldozer is more what we have in mind. More "horsepower" for bigger jobs.
but you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth."
Acts 2:1-41. And when the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. 2. And suddenly there came from heaven a noise like a violent, rushing wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3. And there appeared to them tongues as of fire distributing themselves, and they rested on each one of them. 4. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit was giving them utterance.
I have heard these two scripture passages explained that this was just for the 1st Century Christians: that it was a one time event, to initiate the Holy Spirit and to empower those Christians for spreading the gospel. These are scripture that are "God breathed" and they are just as needed for today as in the early New Testament times.
There are two schools of thought in this area of being "filled with the Holy Spirit". Some feel that at salvation we are given the fullness of the Holy Spirit and it is with maturity that we grow in Him and let the Holy Spirit develop us.
The other belief is that Salvation and the Baptism of the Holy Spirit are two separate experiences. Whichever your belief, it is clear that we need to walk in the "fullness of the Holy Spirit" however it is that we get there.
I'll just take a minute and give you my experience. I had always been taught the former way of thinking. The problem was I just wasn't getting anywhere with my spiritual growth. I was learning about the Lord and my knowledge was increasing but there was no power for victory in my daily life. I was still a "lawnmower" no matter how I looked at it. I had a desire for a closer walk with Jesus, but I still knew I was lacking because no matter how hard "I" tried I just couldn't make much progress. I began down a road seeking the Lord for His fullness. I didn't know what it was called. I wasn't seeking doctrine, or theology, or denomination. I was just seeking God and needed Him in a way that was life changing and powerful. I was on a quest for this for about a year. I was going through a time of family issues that were causing me to seek God in a new and more intense way. Prayer and Bible reading became a huge focus in my life. I didn't know how to "get" this dimension, but I knew I had to have it. At one point after a major crisis, I got to a place of deep brokenness and surrender. I totally gave my life up to the Lord. I let Him have it all. It was in the middle of the night on my bathroom floor that I prayed and sobbed and gave it all over to Him. I was already a born-again believer, so this was not "salvation". I was not a backslider, so this was not "rededication". I experienced the Holy Spirit in a new and powerful way.
I will never forget that experience, because when I got up, my spirit was changed, I felt the power of the Holy Spirit move through me with a force and power like I had never imagined. It was completely different from anything I had experienced in the past. I was filled up to overflowing with His peace, love, power, joy, and enthusiasm. I was changed. And my life changed. I could "hear" God's voice in a new way, my focus was clear and strong, and He began to give me the "gifts of the Spirit".
Now, this was my experience. I heard Pat Robertson explain the Baptism of the Holy Spirit in this way and this comes closest to how I feel and the experience I had. Take a bottle and fill it up with water over time. That is our salvation experience and process of being filled with the Holy Spirit. And yes, it is a process. Now take that full bottle and throw it into the ocean. That is the Baptism of the Holy Spirit. Immersed in His great love and Presence accompanied with empowerment, by the Holy Spirit.
Do you long for a deeper walk with Jesus? Do you want a deeper prayer life and more intimacy with the Holy Spirit? Do you need to change, but don't know how? Have you tried over and over to walk in love for others but cannot get there? Being filled to overflowing with the Holy Spirit is the only way. Seek God for Him in His fullness, be relentless in your pursuit of Him. He will lead you in receiving Him in power. Ask God to give you whatever He has for you, nothing held back. He will do it.
love, in Jesus,