Paul passed through the inland country and came to Ephesus. There he found some disciples.
And he said to them, "Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?" And they said, "No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit."...And when Paul had laid his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they began speaking in tongues and prophesying. (Acts 19:1-2, 6 ESV)
Many people find salvation without hearing about their need for the Holy Spirit. They go through their entire Christian life without having any relationship with Him. This is a shame.
We do not realize the many things that the Holy Spirit does in us. Conviction, ability to understand the Bible, power to live right are all examples of what He does without us recognizing Him. [For background, read this GCC article about the doctrine of the Holy Spirit.]
Up to a point, this is not a problem. The Holy Spirit draws attention to Jesus, not Himself (John 16:13-14). But there are so many things that the Holy Spirit will do for us if we will ask.
Philip the evangelist preached in Samaria and a lot of people were saved (Acts 8:5-8). Later, the apostles Peter and John came and prayed for them to be filled with the Holy Spirit (Acts 8:14-17). At Ephesus (Acts 19:1-7), there were believers who had not heard of the Holy Spirit. Paul prayed for them and they received.
The Holy Spirit's power will make you bold enough to tell others about Jesus. He will use you in the Gifts of the Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:3-12) to minister to others. He will give you supernatural direction.
How do you receive the Holy Spirit? If you are part of a church that believes in the ministry of the Holy Spirit, ask the pastor or elders to pray for you. If your church doesn't, you might want to find one that does.
But if these options are not available to you, you can receive the Holy Spirit on your own. When you pray, do these things:
- Commit your life to God. The Baptism in the Holy Spirit is not primarily for us. It is to do what God leads you to do. What God wants needs to be more important than what we want.
- Ask God to give you the Holy Spirit (Luke 11:5-13). It's that easy. No special ceremony. Just ask.
- Keep asking. Often we need to ask several times. Don't let this bother you. Keep asking until you have received the Holy Spirit.
- Listen to God. Perhaps he needs to make some changes in your life. Listen to him and take action.
- Have faith. Believe that he will answer your prayer.
As the Holy Spirit comes into your life, you will find new power to live. Power to minister. Power to tell others about Jesus. Receive this power today.
Bob Caldwell is Theologian-in-Residence at Network 211.