I want to turn to a related theme. Not only should our understanding of the baptism with the Holy Spirit be a definite experience, we have also seen that the most important aspect of it is to introduce us to Christ. He is the One who baptizes with the Holy Spirit. A sad result of men and women seeking to be baptised with the Holy Spirit is that they can seek the experience rather than the Person behind the experience. This can be quite a subtle shift, often without the person being aware of such a shift. It is not wrong to seek to have an experience of the Holy Spirit. Indeed, without an experience of Him we will not be able to fully know all that God has got for us to enjoy and live in.
At this point perhaps it is worth us going back to the beginning of each of the four gospels and to see what is associated with the baptism with the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Both Matthew and Mark make a clear connection with the winnowing fan and with fire. There is a picture here of the Lord purifying His people. Fire burns up dross. The fan sweeps the threshing floor clean. In chapter one of John’s gospel the Lord is first declared as being the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world, and only afterwards that He is the One who baptises with the Holy Spirit. The coming of the Holy Spirit into a life is a powerful work of grace, bringing purity and holiness. Examination of our intentions and motives is part of God’s way with us. He will not fill us with His Spirit if our hearts are not right. That is not to say we have to be holy before we can experience the baptism with the Holy Spirit. We need the baptism with the Holy Spirit to make us holy! However, our hearts have to be desiring God for His sake as well as for our sakes. We must be consumed with desire to be all that He wants us to be and all that is able to make us to be.
So, let’s, be careful not to chase and follow experiences, but rather to give all that we have to follow Christ until our souls are deeply satisfied in Him.