I baptized you with water; but [Jesus] will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.
How and when do we receive the Holy Spirit in our lives? As a Christian, do I need to pray to receive the Holy Spirit, or is the Holy Spirit already a part of my life? Philip Yancey wrote, “To search for the Spirit is like hunting for your eyeglasses while wearing them.” The fact is, if you are truly a believer in Jesus Christ, then you have already received the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in your life.
Now, you might say, “If every Christian possesses the Holy Spirit, then why doesn’t every Christian have joy in his life? Why are most Christians bound up in sin? Why do so few Christians exhibit the fruit of the Spirit?” After studying what God’s Word says about the Holy Spirit, the conclusion I have come to is this: while every Christian is indwelt by the Holy Spirit, not every Christian is empowered by the Holy Spirit. We have the spiritual horsepower in us. But very few Christians are accessing the power He has made available to us.
Think about a shiny new Cadillac. Would you go to the car dealership and pay full price for a brand-new Cadillac without an engine? No! In the same way, the Holy Spirit of God is not optional equipment; the Holy Spirit is the basic package. He indwells every believer.
How does that happen? In 1 Corinthians 12:13, Paul explained the process by which the Holy Spirit sets up residence in every believer’s life: “By one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and we were all made to drink of one Spirit.” It is important to understand the first word of that verse. This word is best translated as “with”: “With one Spirit we were all baptized.” When you use the word “by,” it appears that the Holy Spirit is the one who is baptizing us. And because of that, there are a lot of Christians who mistakenly pray to the Holy Spirit, “Holy Spirit, come upon me. Come into my life.”
But the Holy Spirit never baptizes anyone. Have you ever seen somebody standing in the water waiting to be baptized, and suddenly the water comes up and immerses him? That does not happen, does it? No, instead there is always a baptizer. That person is a stand-in for Jesus Christ, and the water represents the Holy Spirit of God. It is a picture of what Jesus does for us. When we trust in Him for salvation, He is the one who baptizes us, and He baptizes us with the Holy Spirit. In Mark 1:8, John the Baptist said, “I baptized you with water; but [Jesus] will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.” Our baptism with the Holy Spirit is accomplished by Jesus.
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “You’re Richer Than You Think” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2011.
Philip Yancey, “Reaching for the Invisible God” (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2000), 149.
Scripture quotations taken from the (NASB®) New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved. www.lockman.org.