Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call” – Acts 2:38-39 (NIV).
Having not grown up in a Pentecostal/Charismatic environment, I can empathize with those who have a certain level of anxiety whenever the subject of speaking in tongues comes up. Let’s face it, even within the Pentecostal/Charismatic church-world there are those who have a certain level of hesitancy in engaging this aspect of the “Spirit-filled life.” The question we must honestly ask ourselves then is “Why?”
Why do so many good Christians choose not to embrace this awesome experience? I mean, having experienced, and continuing to experience this wonderful in-filling, I kick myself for not embracing the Spirit’s fullness sooner in my own life. I can honestly say, apart from salvation, the baptism in the Holy Spirit has been the greatest spiritual experience of my life!
So again I ask, “Why do so many tip-toe around the riverbanks of the Spirit-filled life” without ever diving in completely? Could it be that we, in the Pentecostal ranks, have not been the best stewards of this precious truth that we probably could/should have been? Is it possible that the TV evangelist scandals along with the “name it and claim it” prosperity message of the 80s (usually associated with Pentecostals/Charismatics) left a lot of would-be seekers thinking to themselves, “Is this it? Is this all there is to it?” Or to compound the problem, could it be that some of the Charismaniacs of the 90s and early 21st century, with their wild antics, bizarre behavior, lavish lifestyles, and yes even winking at the sin of some of our more public figures has caused a general lack of interest? Make no mistake, the Pentecostal Movement has had its share of critics and skeptics, and rightfully so in many instances.
However, for me, this isn’t the real issue. Most people will recognize an abuse of power when they see one, and will hopefully chalk it up to “one bad apple doesn’t spoil the whole bunch!” I believe the real issue falls on me, and everyone else who associates themselves with the Spirit-filled life. You see, a spiritually dry and thirsty culture is waiting for the real deal. They are eagerly anticipating the authentic, Spirit-filled community of God to awaken from their slumber and effectively demonstrate the heart of God!
I guess what it all boils down to is that I believe there is MORE to the Spirit-filled life than we have witnessed as of yet. I believe that there is more than I have demonstrated in my own life! I somehow get the feeling that we’ve only scratched the surface in this journey. Don’t get me wrong, I thank God for the past 110 years of the modern-day Pentecostal Movement which has literally changed untold millions of lives… but I want more! I want an authentic, up-to-date, life transforming experience with Holy Spirit that enables me to embrace the mission of Jesus, Who came to “seek and to save that which was lost.” After all, isn’t that what the baptism in the Spirit is all about? To give us more power to share our faith! (see Acts 1:8)
How about you? Are you satisfied with where you’re at on your spiritual journey? Or do you also desire MORE? If so, then join me in going back to the beginning, which Peter correctly identified as “repentance” (see Acts 2:38 again).
May we collectively repent, come clean with God, be authentically Spirit-filled… and properly steward this precious truth!