(Cheryl continues her thoughts and experiences on baptism of the Holy Spirit. See the first part here.)
What happened when my experience started to change? I had to re-evaluate my theology on this topic.
I began to start being open to the gifts of the Spirit. It’s funny how I thought I could pick and choose my spiritual gifts. Holy Spirit I want the gift of knowledge, but I’m not really interested in healing or speaking in tongues. It doesn’t really work that way. The spirit acts on our behalf and gives gifts when we need them.
When we are filled with the Holy Spirit, he will exercise spiritual gifts through us as we yield our will to His. So here are the spiritual gifts listed in 1 Cor 12. Wisdom, Knowledge, Faith, Healing, Miraculous powers, Prophesy, Distinguishing between spirits, Speaking in tongues and Interpretation of tongues.
When you are filled with the Holy Spirit, you will exercise one, two or all of these gifts at some point. I don’t believe you get just one.
Do I believe the Spirit can exercise all those gifts in His people today? Absolutely. Why? Because it’s easy to argue doctrine. It’s much harder to argue with an experience.
About 2 months after I had invited Jesus to fill me with the Holy Spirit, my younger daughter was very sick one night. She spiked a fever over 103 and was holding her ear and screaming. We had been through this once before. About 2 years ago, she got a staph infection in her ear and her eardrum burst and really gross stuff came out of her ear. When she was holding her ear this time, I thought we might be in trouble. I laid down by her in bed and she calmed down but she was burning up. I thought, “in 30 minutes we will go the ER if she’s not better.” I got up and laid down on the couch.
Then I heard these words: “I want you to get up, go to her room and heal her.”
Who me? I don’t know how to heal people. And there is was again -
“I want you to get up, go to her room and heal her.”
I decided at that moment I would trust and I went to her room.
So I went to her room and knelt by her bed. I put my hand on her ear and I began to pray. I really hadn’t spoken in tongues up to that point. I only had one phrase. But I prayed that phrase – out loud for the first time, and then something happened.
Power. Real power. I could feel it moving through me to her. And then something amazing happened. Her fever was immediately gone. Her pain was gone. I asked her “does your ear hurt” and she said “no.”
The next morning I went into her room and she was jumping on her bed singing at the top of her lungs, absolutely no sign of being sick.
She had been healed that night. (I have more stories like this!)
It took several months to really understand speaking in tongues. Speaking in tongues is a beautiful exchange between you and God in a heavenly language or unknown tongue. This is a whole topic in itself, but my perceptions and doctrine were holding me back on this. Holding onto false perceptions and other people’s opinion will squash speaking in tongues. This is truly about surrender and choosing to release all your preconceived ideas and perceptions and yield to the Spirit. And when I did that the Holy Spirit came in power and I spoke in a whole new language. If you will read scripture, speaking in tongues is for you as the believer. (I Cor 14:4-5 – these verses are often seen as a prohibition from Paul to not speak in tongues. What he’s actually saying here is tongues should be used privately. It may be used in group settings if someone interprets. I think the use of tongues in public settings without interpretation may be an invalid use of tongues, but obviously it depends on the context – Rich)
It’s not really a gift for the masses or congregation like the gift of prophecy. The use of spiritual language in prayer builds you up. It edifies, encourages the believer. This gift is for me and you in our prayer life with the Father. And it’s amazing.
I believe God still empowers His people today. Don’t let your past experience or your religious doctrine get in the way of you having an encounter with the Holy Spirit.
He will empower you to heal the sick, cast out demons, speak with wisdom, to know spiritual truths, to prophesy, to do miracles, to speak to Him in a whole new way.
Being baptized or filled with the Holy Spirit means allowing the Spirit of God to breathe new life in us. To empower us to do things we could never do on our own. To speak to us, through us, heal us, comfort us. To be our friend and companion through life. To have direct one-on-one connection to the God of the Universe.
And all you have to do is ask. (Luke 11:5-13 – Jesus tells the Parable of the Persistent Friend – the point of the story is, if we want something, we need to ask God until we receive. You’ll notice in vs 13 that Jesus is talking about receiving the Holy Spirit! It’s funny how we can focus on one part of that passage and never see the rest of it – Rich)