baptism of the Spirit

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RStephenB
Posts: 7
Joined: Wed Jan 29, 2014 6:06 pm

baptism of the Spirit

Post by RStephenB » Wed Feb 26, 2014 1:57 am

I'm really new to forum, and am not a forum "guy". I've been wonderfully blessed by Steve's verse by verse teaching for the last couple of years. The scriptures are really opened to me in a marvelous way. I've been a believer for 25 years, I've even done some fill-in preaching. I'm a very moral person, don't drink or watch R rated movies, have only been with my wife and only after marriage.

The Lord disciplined me about 2 years ago and really got my attention. I've changed, been given tangible victory over entrenched sin, and am "feeling" the Spirit in me and convicting me daily. My prayer life is better, I read with enthusiasm the word- and the only thing I listen to in the car is bible teaching, with great joy. I haven't been able to get enough. I'm more humble, understanding, sympathetic, kind. I recognize my old ways as superficial and prideful.

But I want more. I want to know the Spirit is in me and I in Him. I plead with the Lord for it. I want some confirmation- speaking in tongues, something. I feel like I was stupid for so long, and now I'm waking up- but am I still foolish and miles from the Lord? I want eyes to see and ears to hear. I want real power, not the empty performances and processes of the modern American evangelical local church. I yearn for more, and know that if the Lord's power isn't there, then something is wrong.

On a mission trip I went on I saw true faith in so many. They were immediately closer to me than my family or Christian friends I've had for decades. We were one in Christ, and that fellowship and truth were so clearly of the Lord. But here I don't see it, and I don't know where to get authentic Spirit and encouragement.

I was baptized when I was about 12, and always went to church. I've felt a burning in my heart a couple of times, and I think I've even seen a demon- but didn't confront it. In the bible I see how others knew they were baptized in the Spirit. Speaking in tongues, flames over their heads, miracles- it always seemed to be confirmed with power. I don't seem to have an event/experience like that.

I've seen people speak in tongues when I visited a different church- and frankly the whole thing seemed odd and weird. Now I find myself wishing I would- just so I would know the Lord is working in me. I don't want to publicly- but in my prayers or something.

Just thought I would put this all out there. I praise, worship and serve the Lord.

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steve
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Joined: Thu Aug 21, 2008 9:45 pm

Re: baptism of the Spirit

Post by steve » Wed Feb 26, 2014 11:06 am

Hi RStephenB,

I think it may simply be necessary for you to learn to rest in the Lord. You have asked Him to fill you with His Spirit. You have knocked and knocked. You have been obedient and single-minded. You have meditated on the Word of God. All that seems left for you to do is to trust.

Trust that God either has already filled you with His Spirit (a very good possibility, it seems to me), or that He will do so as He sees fit, in the proper time, as you continue as a disciple, trusting Him. When you have done all that you know to do, you must assume that God knows what He must do. Perhaps, what He must do is reveal some obstacle (if there is one), or simply to wait for you to calm down and to rest in Him. It sounds like the ball is in His court.

When I was in your position, having prayed to be filled with the Spirit, but having been given no outward phenomenal evidence (like tongues), I simply said to God, "You promised to give your Spirit to those who ask you. I have desired and asked. I believe that you are faithful and have kept your promise. Thank you for filling me with your Spirit." Months later, I actually did speak with tongues, but prior to doing so, I simply trusted God's promise, and came into a deeper intimacy with God. What did that look like? Well, it looked a lot like your own condition described in this paragraph:
I've changed, been given tangible victory over entrenched sin, and am "feeling" the Spirit in me and convicting me daily. My prayer life is better, I read with enthusiasm the word- and the only thing I listen to in the car is bible teaching, with great joy. I haven't been able to get enough. I'm more humble, understanding, sympathetic, kind. I recognize my old ways as superficial and prideful.
I have no reason to doubt that you have been baptized in the Spirit, based upon your testimony. You are looking for miracles to follow. Perhaps they will, if God so desires that they should. However, it is a mistake to think that those who see miracles are more full of the Spirit than one who does not have those gifts, but who simply is overflowing with the love of Christ (1 Cor.13:1-3).

What you experienced on your mission trip was that phenomenon of fellowship with like-minded brethren (see Psalm 133), which was so common in the early church, but much harder to find these days. Where do you live? Maybe some of our participants here live near enough to get together with you sometime.

RStephenB
Posts: 7
Joined: Wed Jan 29, 2014 6:06 pm

Re: baptism of the Spirit

Post by RStephenB » Thu Feb 27, 2014 12:01 am

Thanks so much! I live near Seattle...

Which leads me to something else- I really struggle with our church home. It has really grown, and the amount of money and effort spent on production values is just stomach turning. To top it off, the Senior Pastor even refused my request to redirect my giving to a mission group (the one we served with in Greece) and said that I would be going against the bible if I quit giving at our church and sending it to missionaries.

We have good friends at this church, and we meet as a group every other week and have great fellowship. But it still all seems superficial. Obsessing over performance and only looking at obvious surface sins. I desire more and deeper.

You've been a great blessing, and I hope to continue learning at your feet.

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Jepne
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Joined: Fri Jul 24, 2009 8:08 pm

Re: baptism of the Spirit

Post by Jepne » Thu Feb 27, 2014 12:00 pm

I was really touched by your post, RStephen, and your reply, Steve, with which I wholeheartedly concur.

A couple things stuck with me:

We go to two churches, one is Anabaptist, and the other, low-key charismatic. Neither of the leaders of these two fellowships ever tell the people where to give or how much etc. In the first, the leader will say, "The giving this week is for outreach" or ". . . for the building fund".

I'm sure that in time, you will meet people of like mind and heart, maybe even in the church where you are. Should you be led to leave for another group, I pray you can leave with relationships intact, though for some, it does not work that way.

Then, when I met Jesus, I prayed in tongues a little bit the first day, spontaneously. Some months later, in church during the singing worship, my hands raised spontaneously and and I prayed in tongues - not loud, but out loud. To pray in tongues at will, I got in a deserted place and cultivated it, as was instructed in many books in that time - the mid-late 70s.

I pray in tongues when I don't know what to pray, or even about what to pray, and after doing it for a time, a prayer will come to mind and the English words flow freely. After the last US election, over which I was practically in tears for weeks, I awoke the next morning, sobbing. After a while I just began to pray in tongues, not knowing what else to do, and as I prayed I felt an almost physical feeling of all my care moving out of my brain, and the Kingdom of God moving in. Since then, I can hardly stand to hear about anything political in nature, though I can get homeland-teary-eyed when crossing the border into the US.
"Anything you think you know about God that you can't find in the person of Jesus, you have reason to question.” - anonymous

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