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How to Receive the Baptism in the Holy Spirit

Waiting is a virtue seldom appreciated in today’s society. While some, like Erlie Reyes and Tess Himenez, receive the Baptism with little or no waiting period (interview, September 12 and 14, 1999, respectively), waiting has great merit in the Kingdom and most people find themselves seeking for a period of time. Concerning the disciples period of waiting, Spence says:

The waiting period enabled the disciples to comprehend their needs more fully to examine their own hearts. It provided a better time for getting a better comprehension of their own motives. Attitudes and relationships could be reviewed. It was an opportunity to see their failures with different perspective.

The waiting period was a transition time in their lives. The nature and [sic] their utter dependence on the Lord Jesus and to recall again what He had said in one of his teaching sessions with them, ‘without me you can do nothing’ (John 15:5). Coming to the place where more than mental assent was given to those words was significant preparation. The extent of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit is affected far more than we realize by the preparations of the recipients.

(Spence, “The Holy Spirit Outpouring in Acts,” p. 77).

If you have not received the Baptism in the Holy Spirit, you should begin to seek it immediately. However, there may be a time of waiting. As Spence mentions above, this is an excellent time to take a spiritual inventory, and perhaps put some things in order in your life or gain some new perspective on spiritual matters. For me, I needed a theological orientation to the things of the Spirit. I was raised in a church where the Holy Spirit was pretty much ignored. While I had read what had happened to the apostles in Acts 2, I saw little reason to think that it would be relevant to my life today. I was wrong, but God was merciful, and gave me the time I needed to sit under some Spirit-filled teaching and gain some understanding.

How you wait and prepare, as Spence mentioned above, is also very important. Erlie Reyes reports that she was hungry for the touch of God, for the moving of the Holy Spirit in her life, after seeking the work of the Holy Spirit in the lives of some missionaries (interview, September 12, 1999). Acts 2:1 gives some insight as to how the disciples waited. They waited in expectation of the Holy Spirit’s arrival. They didn’t know how He would come or what the evidence would be, but they believed the words of Jesus that he would send the Spirit. Waiting in anticipation is an attitude that suggests that you are open for the Baptism. Spence adds:

The variable factor in divine visitation is not God; it is man. A time of preparation, regardless of time or culture, enhances confidence and expectation. When the believers in Acts met certain conditions in order to experience an outpouring of the Spirit, the probability became an actuality.

(Spence, p. 77).

So while we do not always understand God’s timetable, the Bible suggests that we do have a part to play. Tanya Jo Shipley, an American lay missionary, and Dr. Arun Sarkar, the dean of the Buntain Theological College in Calcutta, India, reported that they actively sought the Baptism before receiving it (Interviews with Tanya Jo Shipley, September 12, 1999, and Dr. Arun Sarkar, September 14, 1999). I received the Baptism after about two months of studying and seeking. However, there are exceptions. Tess Himenez, who runs a missionary boarding house at her home in Manila, received the Baptism at a conference when someone laid hands on her even though she had only been seeking for a couple of days (interview, September 14, 1999).

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Category: Spirit, Winter 2000

About the Author: Dave Johnson, M.Div., D.Miss. (Asia Graduate School of Theology, Philippines), is an Assemblies of God missionary to the Philippines. Dave and his wife Debbie have been involved in evangelism, church planting, and Bible school and mission leadership. Dave is the Managing Editor of Asian Journal of Pentecostal Studies, the director of APTS Press in Baguio City, Philippines and coordinator for the Asian Pentecostal Theological Seminary's Master of Theology Program. Facebook Twitter

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