“When the Feast of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Without warning there was a sound like a strong wind, gale force—no one could tell where it came from. It filled the whole building. Then, like a wildfire, the Holy Spirit spread through their ranks, and they started speaking in a number of different languages as the Spirit prompted them” (Acts 2:1-4, The Message).
Like a mighty rushing wind, the Holy Spirit arrived at Pentecost. The Word supplies a scriptural basis for what the disciples received in Matthew 3:11, Mark 1:8, Luke 3:16, and John 1:33. In these parallel Gospel passages, John the Baptist reveals a baptism that follows Christ’s forgiveness of sin. “I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me will come one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not fit to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire” (Matthew 3:11, NIV). Jesus told his disciples what to do following His ascension. “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit” (Acts 1: 4-5, NIV).
What is this gift—this baptism of the Holy Spirit—the “fire” foretold by John the Baptist and promised by Jesus? It was without question the Holy Spirit which came on the day of Pentecost. Especially poignant is Jesus’ promise! “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 11:13, NIV). “If you believe,” Jesus promises, “you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer" (Matthew 21:22, NIV).
The Holy Spirit fills a believer who is spiritually starved for the very character of Jesus—who continually yearns for that overwhelming hunger to be filled—who cries out for His very nature to live within. The Holy Spirit fills a believer that yearns for His presence more than His next breath—who believes that without Him there is no purpose to life. “Be filled with the Holy Spirit,” Paul wrote (Ephesians 5:18). This command reveals a crucial urgency and need for each believer to have His indwelling presence. “Be filled” is present progressive which means it is something that is on-going. Receiving the Holy Spirit does not just happen one time. It is continual—pouring into you and out of you like rivers of living water. At the same time “be filled” is in the passive voice. This shows that the subject of the verb (the believer) is not being filled by his own means, but is being filled by the means of another. Only God fills a life that cries out in its weakness—only He fills a life that lies powerless without the Holy Spirit’s guidance. Only He fills that emptiness where joy is fleeting. Only He brings instant peace in the midst of sudden pain. Only He lives in you fully—in body, mind, and spirit—in depths that you never thought possible.
Fall in love with your Creator, your Holy Father who wants the best for you, and sees the best in you—the one who loves you continually. He is the one who died for you—the one who rose from the dead so that you might walk in newness of life—the one who redeems the pain of the past and brings direction to your present—the one who imparts supernatural peace and joy—the one who baptizes with Holy fire. Place upon His altar every preconceived notion. Don’t fear His presence or whatever He wishes to impart. Neither inform Him of what you think you need. Become nothing so He can become all.
"No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him, but God has revealed it to us by his Spirit” (1 Corinthians 2: 9-10, NIV). Do you want to know His power—His direction—His purpose? He rewards those who seek Him (Hebrews 11:6). Live a sold-out life for Him. Do as He directs. Obedience to God is necessary to continually receive the Holy Spirit. Be absolutely surrendered for anything He asks (Acts 5:32). Praise Him for what you are going to receive (Hebrews 11:15). Praise Him for the gift of the Holy Spirit He has promised. The Word says that we have not because we don’t ask (James 4:2b). Ask in faith—believing. He commands you to be filled. Your part of being filled is absolute surrender of self—body, mind, and spirit. His part is to act upon the gift of your life. And He will.
Lynn Hampton Lacher