When you first receive the Baptism of the Holy Spirit, one of three things may happen:
1. The Gift of Tongues
Some of you may receive the gift of tongues right off the bat. If you do, that is great. You have just been given a powerful prayer gift from God and you can now start to use this powerful gift in your prayer life with Him.
However, I want to state one thing about the gift of tongues in reference to the gift of the baptism of the Holy Spirit. There are many charismatic churches that teach that the gift of tongues is the only evidence of having received this gift. In other words, if you have not received the gift of tongues, then you have not received the Baptism of the Holy Spirit.
I personally believe that this teaching is really wrong. The Bible specifically says that the gift of tongues is one of the 9 gifts of the Holy Spirit and that each of these gifts – including the gift of tongues – are manifestations as God wills, not as we will. In other words, some people will get the gift of tongues and others will not.
Here is what the Bible says about the 9 gifts of the Holy Spirit, which includes the gift of tongues. 1 Corinthians 12:4 goes into each of the nine gifts. At the end of this verse, it then reads as follows:
“But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills.”
This verse tells us that God gives each one of these gifts to who He wills – not as we will. We can seek after these gifts and ask God for them, but God will be the One to decide who gets which gift. Some people have a mental block or fear about receiving the gift of tongues. God is not going to hold someone back from receiving the Baptism of the Holy Spirit just because someone is not really ready to receive the gift of tongues.
I know plenty of Spirit-filled people who do not have the gift of tongues. Charismatics like to draw this conclusion from the story of Pentecost. When the apostles first received the Holy Spirit in the upper room, they came out speaking in other tongues. But just because they came out speaking in tongues the first time they received the Holy Spirit does not mean that God was setting a specific pattern that the gift of tongues was the initial evidence of having received the Holy Spirit.
Scripture has to be interpreted in light of other Scripture. If their conclusion is correct, then it does not line up with the above verse on the nine gifts of the Holy Spirit – where each of the 9 gifts are given as to how God wills, not as we will – which will include the gift of tongues. The gift of tongues is not listed as an exception to this statement.
I have read many stories of how some people thought that they had not received the Baptism of the Holy Spirit, all because they had not received the gift of tongues – when in fact they had already received it. This kind of false teaching can really mess with your mind if you are seeking after the Baptism of the Holy Spirit expecting to receive the gift of tongues as the initial evidence of having received this gift.
2. Some Kind of Manifestation
Some may receive an actual inner manifestation from the Lord when first receiving this gift. Some will actually feel the presence of the Holy Spirit on the inside of them. He will actually manifest His presence on the inside of their souls when He first comes up.
If this should happen to you, what you will literally feel is God’s love for you. Depending on how strong the Holy Spirit wants to manifest Himself to you, you may actually start to cry when this manifestation starts to occur.
If this should happen to you, do not be afraid of it. This is an incredible experience to be able to feel the manifest presence of God on the inside of you. The Holy Spirit will control the manifestation so as not to scare or overwhelm you. You may literally feel His presence manifest all the way up into your chest and face area.
3. Absolutely Nothing
If the gift of tongues does not manifest in you, or you do not receive any type of inner manifestation from the Holy Spirit when He first enters into your soul – then the next thing that may happen is absolutely nothing! And this is actually what happens most of the time. There are no manifestations, either of His presence or with the gift of tongues.
However, just because nothing has happened does not mean that He has not entered into your soul. So how do you know that you have really received this gift?
This will now lead us into the last section – the benefits of having received the Baptism of the Holy Spirit. You should start to receive and experience some of these benefits over the course of time. It may not happen overnight. However, just be patient with Him. Over the course of time the Holy Spirit will start to miraculously show Himself to you in a wide variety of ways.
Here is a list of some of the things that you can look forward to receiving after you have received this gift from the Lord.
This is part 3 of our series on the Baptism of the Holy Spirit