Receive the Holy Spirit (Testimony and Beliefs)
I know I talk a lot about the Spirit-filled life, so I thought I would share with you my beliefs and what I have been through.
I believe the first thing I need to tell you is that I believe that the Holy Spirit is the third person of the trinity...God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit. All three are wrapped up into one deity, but they are separate in identity according to the scriptures.
On the night I had my spiritual rebirth on September 28, 1982 at the age of 18, I remember crying out to Jesus to save my soul. I was seeing scenes of different periods of my life flash before my eyes. I was convicted of my sins and asked Jesus to come into my heart and to forgive me of my sins. I was raised in the baptist church my whole life, and did not know anything about the Holy Spirit. I believed there was a God and that there was Jesus.
Several days later I was telling someone I went to school with of my experience and she told me we needed to go see her pastor. She was a member of the Assembly of God church. I don't remember exactly what was said during our conversation. I know something pretty powerful had just happened to me that Sunday night, so my heart was open to the idea of getting more of God.
What I did know at that point, is that I had a intense hunger and thirst within my heart for more of what I had experienced several nights earlier. I felt a cleansing had come upon mind and a peace within my heart. In other words I had a clear mind...something I had never experienced in my entire life. Up until I had my experience, I know that I was tormented and harrassed by demons in my mind. I don't know how else to describe it.
I remember that the three of us, my friend and her pastor and I, talked about my experience, and he opened up the scriptures to me about the Holy Spirit. We started praying, and they were encouraging me to pray out loud in my new language. All I can remember was that a few words stammered out of my mouth. They were encouraging me to keep on, and I did. The words kept flowing from my lips, I had received my new heavenly language.
When we were leaving the pastor told me to keep praying that way, and I did. I started going to the assembly of God church after that. and I had that intense hunger for the scriptures. My eyes were opened to the scriptures in a whole realm. It was almost like a veil was lifted. I read the bible all the time and memorized scriptures.
I believe that that time of prayer stirred up the gifts of God within me. I don't doubt that the gift of tongues was given to me. I don't diminish or doubt that gift, and it has developed over time and I often use it when I privately pray to God. However, I do not believe that speaking in tongues is a prerequisite of being baptized in the Holy Spirit. I have prayed and meditated over the years on that belief. May God forgive me if I am wrong but I don't believe you have to speak in tongues to be baptized in the Holy Spirit.
In the Gospel of Matthew, John the baptist said that Jesus would baptize us with the Holy Spirit and with fire. That is the only reference to a baptism of "fire" I see in the Gospels. He shall baptize us with the Holy Spirit is in the other gospels as well. In Acts 1 Jesus Himself said in verse said we shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit.
In the second chapter of Acts on the day of Pentecost it is recorded that cloven tongues of fire like as of fire set upon them. It goes on to say they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and began to speak in other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.
I believe Jesus did save my soul that night, and I believe that I was baptized in the Holy Spirit that night. The gift of tongues was given to me by the Holy Spirit. When I spoke in tongues that night it was not as dramatic as the Sunday night I gave my heart to Jesus.
I believe the Holy Spirit is our counselor, teacher, and comforter, and I believe we can be daily filled, and display the fruits of the Spirit. I believe we can be released to operate in our giftings. I believe we can be lead to walk in the Spirit, and lay down our fleshly life by being filled and abiding in His Presence.
For some may disagree with me,we will just have to agree to disagree, and that is fine. One day all these things will be known and made clear to us. That is when we shall see Jesus coming in the clouds in all His splendor and glory with His angels, all will be revealed!!