In the last two posts, we laid some foundations about what the baptism in the Spirit is. Now let’s look at a few common questions people have about receiving that we haven’t yet talked about:
What are the prerequisites to being baptized in the Spirit? There is only one: you must be born again (a Christian; a person who is putting your trust in Jesus for your salvation).
The baptism in the Spirit is a gift from God, not something we attain to by works, just as salvation does not come through works. There are traditions within some Pentecostal/Charismatic circles about things we supposedly have to do to work ourselves up to receiving this gift, but there really is no biblical backup for these notions, and if you have to earn it, it is not really a gift anymore.
Is it possible to be baptized in the Spirit and not speak in tongues? Pentecostals often argue that since speaking in tongues is evidence of having received the baptism, then not speaking in tongues means one has not been baptized in the Spirit. At the risk of getting a few folks upset, I don’t think that is quite right.
Tongues is evidence of the baptism, but the absence of tongues does not automatically mean that the infilling of the Spirit did not take place. If a person sincerely asks the Lord to fill him or her with the Spirit, he or she can receive in faith at that very instant, just as when we ask Jesus to be our Lord, we are saved in that very instant. The question, then, is whether we will allow the Spirit to operate through us in tongues or not. I will talk about this more in my next post, where I will explain how to receive the baptism in the Spirit with your prayer language.
There are people who are obviously filled with the Spirit, who move in all of the gifts of the Spirit mentioned in 1 Corinthians 12:8-10 except tongues and the interpretation of tongues. Why? Because the church fellowship they are part of gets hung up on tongues but not always the other gifts. It is not that they cannot pray in tongues, but that they have been taught that they should not, and therefore are not open to it. It is not that tongues has been withheld from them, but that they do not want it.
The real issue is not whether we can be filled with the Spirit and get away with not speaking in tongues. The real issue is, why would we not desire a gift that the Lord so freely wants to give — a phenomenon that the New Testament speaks of as being important? Why would we choose to resist receiving tongues?
Reasons for resisting tongues include:
1.) Intellectualism (the “If I can’t figure it out, I don’t want it” syndrome).
2.) Fear of looking and sounding foolish (pride).
3.) Fear of losing control. (This is our soul, not wanting to yield to the Spirit. You don’t lose control, by the way. You have complete control over when to begin and end speaking in tongues, once you have received the baptism in the Spirit.)
4.) Unbiblical teaching that has ingrained limiting mindsets into our thinking.
Why should I desire to pray in tongues? Because it is a gift from God, and His gifts should not be spurned. Every gift from God is perfect, pure, lovely, and to be desired. Please see my series, The Power of Your Prayer Language for an in-depth discussion of more reasons.
Next time, I will explain how to easily receive the baptism in the Spirit and your prayer language (the personal gift of tongues).