Before I share who the Holy Spirit is to me I want to share this story. There was a 5 year old little boy whose father gave him a shiny new red bicycle. It was the most amazing thing he had ever received from his dad. When he rode it his face would glow and he would always have a big smile. It was not so much about the bicycle, it was because it reminded him of how much his father loved him.
Then one day he went to the playground with his new bike. He told the other kids that all he did was asked his father for the bicycle. He understood that his father loved him and really delighted to give him the bicycle. The boy told the other kids that if they asked their father for a bike like his they would get one too. He could not even imagine any parent withholding any good gift like that from a child.
But instead of asking their father for a bicycle one kid began to mock him saying that the bicycle was not really a good gift and he didn’t want one. Another kid told him that his bicycle was evil. Another kid told him that not all children need a bicycle. They did not want him to have his red bicycle around them and they stopped playing with him whenever he had his bike with him. If he was even to mention anything about his bicycle they would stop playing with him and start ignoring him.
How many of us realize that a normal kid would not react that way. I believe a normal kid would be running to their mommy and daddy asking when they are going to get their bicycle. They probably would not give up until they got one. They would ask in full expectation that they are to receive it. Do you think any parents would be able to convince a child that bicycles are not real or that they are evil or that not all the kids need one? It should be pretty apparent to all of us that those kids who treated the boy like that were dysfunctional to some degree or another. They were ostracizing the young boy because he had something that they did not have. Maybe it was jealousy, maybe it was because they didn’t believe their fathers would give them one. Maybe they felt like their parents didn’t love them enough to do so. Maybe they didn’t think they deserved a bicycle because of their behavior. I just can’t imagine a normal kid not wanting one. The bottom line is that even though the red bicycle was a reality and a blessing to the first boy it became a point of contention for the other kids there.
Now I want to share what happened to me. I had just come to know the Lord through a friend who had been walking with him for some time. I remember one evening I came to the realization that I needed to be baptized. I told my friend this. He responded by telling me that my roommate was getting baptized at church a few days from then in a heated pool and that I could just do it then. I told him that I needed to get baptized now and I persuaded him to call a minister. The minister knew of a private lake close by and agreed to baptize me there. So I was baptized in a cold lake at about 10 pm in Southern Georgia. I was really experiencing a neat presence of God with much peach and joy.
When we got back to where I was staying the minister left, and my roommates and I where praying and worshiping God. I could hear my friend praying in tongues and it caught my attention. I had heard him pray in tongues a few times before. He didn’t do it much because he knew that myself and our other roommate would not understand it. I boldly said, “Hey, do I get that too?”
Per my request, my friend took action and helped me to receive the Holy Spirit. I remember he told me that since faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God that he wanted to share some scriptures about the promised gift of the Holy Spirit and the gift of tongues. I remember specifically he showed me the verse in Acts 2:38 “Then Peter said to them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” He let me know that God will be faithful to that promise and that I had done my part by turning from my sins and getting baptized. It was now up to God to fulfill His end of the promise. My friend did not seem to have any doubt whatsoever that God would be faithful and do so, since I had satisfied my part. I didn’t have any intention of giving up until I received what God had promised to me.
Next my friend took me to a passage of scripture in Luke 11:11-13 that says, “Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him?”
He explained to me how that there is no way God will give me anything different from what I ask him for. He is not going to give me something evil. He is not going to give me anything that is going to harm me and that He is very pleased to give me the gift of the Holy Spirit. He showed me all the instances in the book of Acts where it clearly made the connection of speaking in tongues with the gift of the Spirit. I got down on my knees and my friend placed his hands on me. I told God that I obeyed him in repentance and baptism and then I asked him for the Gift of the Holy Spirit and the gift of tongues. I started thanking Him for it and praising Him for it. It was during this that I received the gift of the Holy Spirit and tongues. I stayed up most of that night praying in tongues and worshiping God.
My roommate worked nights and when he got home in the morning I told him what happened. He noticed that something remarkable had happened with me. He had mentioned how I even looked like a light bulb, because of the joy that was all over me. I told him that all he had to do was ask for it. There was so much energy that he received an immediate baptism of the Holy Spirit and likewise started speaking in tongues.
I said all this to dispel the many notions that I have encountered over the years about this. I have already addressed some of the issues in the story of the red bicycle. I need to tell you that the enemy has done everything he can to disarm Christians from their most powerful resources and this is one of them. I challenge you to hear the rest of this just in case you are one of those people that he has robbed of something God wants to gift you with.
First of all, for someone to tell me that the gift of tongues is not real or is not used today is just like telling a carpenter that his hammer is not real or used today. I have met so many well-meaning people who have a heart to want to serve God but for some reason or another think they do not need this baptism of power. Jesus himself told the desciples to wait for the the gift of the Holy Spirit in Jerusalem. It just does not make any logical sense for us to not want the fullness of any gift that our heavenly Father has promised to give us. Especially when it has to do with the gift that will empower us to be witnesses for the Lord Jesus Christ. Remember the Parable of the 10 Virgins in Mathew 25? It was only the wise virgins who took oil with them that ended up going into the wedding banquet. The oil represents the Holy Spirit in scripture.
Let’s get to the rest of the reasonings that are used. I have heard it said that tongues was only for that day so they could share the gospel to people of different languages. Now that did actually happen. What I am saying is that if that was the only way tongues were used then how come Paul said, “He that speaks in an unknown tongue edifies and improves himself” in 1Cor 14:4? If it was only for the foreigner to hear the word in his language then how can Paul be edifying himself with it? So don’t fall for that lie. Lies like that are designed by the devil to rob you of something that is a good gift from God.
I have also heard people quote the scripture where Paul says that he would rather people prophesy than speak in tongues so that newcomers can understand what is being said. Yes, he did say that and I agree with him totally. However he was not forbidding speaking in tongues by any means. Another thing is when I speak in tongues I do edify and improve myself. If I edify myself by speaking in tongues does not that make it easier to build others up at a later time? It kind of goes along with the principal of getting our own house in order so God can use us to help others. Why would you not want to use a gift from God like tongues to build yourself up in your faith? Paul even says in verse 18 that he thanks God he speaks in tongues more than all of you.
Now there was a reason he didn’t want them doing it in church without an interpreter. That was because people who didn’t know about tongues would think they were crazy and they would not be able to learn anything. Paul knows tongues are real and for today. He just knew that an unlearned person could walk into a meeting with everyone speaking in tongues and he would not get anything out of it. So instead he wanted them to be doing things that would be edifying about God and his kingdom through prophesy or teaching while in the church. Nowadays, some people do much crazier things than that in church that are not even in scripture that others think are insane, but that is another topic altogether. Paul also did say to not forbid speaking in tongues, he just wanted us to use common sense and consider non believers when we did things that they would not understand.
The story about the red bike is a true to life analogy about how many Christians react when they hear of another brother or sister getting baptized with the Holy Spirit. They tend to respond with a few things similar to those in the story. They will say that tongues is not for them, or that its not really the best gift, or they say its evil. I know this is a misunderstanding on their part and I also know that the devil has blinded them of the true nature of what the gift is and could be to them. The bottom line is that a healthy child is going to want any good gift he or she can get from the father. I believe for Christians to have those types of attitudes they are allowing themselves to be robbed. They are also hurting the rest of the body of Christ and not obeying the command to love one another. Some people quote the verse where Paul says: “Do all speak in tongues?” The only thing I would like you to consider about that is that in the book of Acts every place it says they get baptized in the Holy Spirit they speak in tongues. It does not say anywhere that when they got baptized only some spoke in tongues. I refuse to argue and go dit for tat about the issue. However if any of these points that have been made uncover the reason that you have believed the certain way about this topic than I have something to say to you now. I urge you to examine yourself and the things that you have been taught. Judge the things only by the word of God and do not allow the teachings and traditions of man to supersede that. Jesus himself confronted the religious leaders of His day because their traditions and teachings made the word of God of none effect. Think about this. If we are really in a war wouldn’t the enemy try to neutralize the things that were most threatening to him?
I just think it stands to reason that we should desire the genuine baptism of the Holy Spirit as described in scripture that came with the power and boldness to be witnesses for Jesus.