My Personal Experience with the Baptism in the Holy Spirit

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Someone emailed me recently, asking what I meant on the “About Me” page when I mentioned I was baptized in the Holy Spirit. I really can’t believe I haven’t blogged about this already, since there is so much to say on the topic. I’m going to post a few entries about this, trying to keep each one concise enough to be comprehensible; I’ll begin with my personal experience and move on shortly to the more important theological and biblical contexts.

I was first introduced to the idea of the baptism in the Holy Spirit in college. I had joined a campus ministry that happened to be under the Assemblies of God denomination, which is somewhat charismatic. Although I was incapable at that point of comprehending much of anything theological (because of my deep involvement in the occult and inhabiting demonic spirits), I do remember some of my Christian friends engaging in a long argument about the baptism in the Holy Spirit and, as they put it, the “initial evidence of speaking in tongues”. Not everyone in the campus fellowship came from an AG background (most, probably, did not); and it quickly became a big discussion, with both sides using scripture to defend their positions. I did not know what was going on, but I knew I wanted more of God, so I started praying that I, too, would speak in tongues. It didn’t happen, and eventually other prayers–for survival and basic needs–took priority.

Some years later, I had reached my “bottom”. It was our first year of marriage, and I was so troubled that my problems were affecting both of us. I was seeing a psychologist and psychiatrist and taking tons of medication for my various psychological diagnoses, with little positive effect. Through God’s divine providence, I was given the opportunity to meet with a deliverance minister. (Deliverance ministers are like specialized counselors: they do everything from “normal” God-centered counseling and reconciliation, to helping people connect with and hear God personally, helping people understand and renounce the lies that they have believed, to the more extreme cases of casting out demons.) My first meeting with the deliverance minister, he asked if I had been baptized in water and received Jesus as my savior. I affirmed that I had. Then he asked if I had been baptized in the Holy Spirit. I didn’t understand his question.

The minister explained to me on real simple terms the basics about the Holy Spirit, the importance of building a relationship with Him, and the “baptism in the Holy Spirit” that John the Baptist indicates as a separate experience from water baptism (Mark 1:7-8, Luke 3:16, John 1:31-34), and which is extended on in other places in the New Testament (especially: Acts 8:12-17, Acts 10:44-48, Acts 19:1-7) . Something like that… Honestly, I don’t remember much of what he said.

I decided to welcome the Holy Spirit into my life. But, as soon as I began to ask Him, I was overcome with fear, and wasn’t sure I wanted my life to change. I was still inhabited by multiple demons at this point, so it was a really intense moment and decision. My vision became completely red for a moment, and I was paralyzed with a fear that prevented me from calling on God. The pastor could see that something was going on and asked me what I was feeling. He told me I needed to be absolutely sure that I wanted more of God, because I would have to give up everything.

After a moment of thought, I was sure of my decision. I asked the Holy Spirit very simply and sincerely to come into my life, and He answered my prayer. I immediately fell over. It felt like slow motion–not that anyone was pushing me over (no one was touching me)–but that I could not stand up in the presence of such a mighty God. I felt His presence fall on my head, and travel through my body. I saw a translucent gold water rush through my insides; it stayed in my vision for some time. (Later, as I read the gospel of John, I read that the Holy Spirit is living water, and recalled my experience–I can’t think of a better way to describe this except that living water had rushed into me.) I also felt pure joy, and began to laugh uncontrollably as the joy continued to surround me. It was the first time I had felt freedom.

I did not begin to speak in tongues that day. (I do now, and will share that experience upon request.) It also took three months for the inhabiting demons to be cast out–not that it couldn’t have happened instantly, but that by dealing with it slowly, I was able to close the spiritual doors that should never have been opened, and to gain more understanding of the spiritual realm.

Here is what did happen right away:

  • I received the fruit of the Spirit: most notably, peace and joy
  • For the first time, I became absolutely confident of my salvation
  • I became free from the bondage of sin (if and when I sin now, it is completely my own decision and rebellion)
  • I was given a desire to read the Bible, especially the gospels and New Testament, which had never interested me in the past
  • I became able to understand the scriptures (not completely, of course, but in a way that had not been possible before)
  • I became able to hear from God and recognize His voice (not that He hadn’t already been speaking to me, but that my relationship with Him quickly developed into a two-way friendship)
  • The Holy Spirit became my helper, my teacher, my comforter, and my friend–I could not have made it through the rest of my deliverance (or life thus far) without Him

There are so many ways that the baptism in the Holy Spirit comes about–sometimes in monumental experiences, and sometimes much more subtly. The initial evidences of this experience are also varied. I have been involved with a variety of churches, and have noticed that some Christians do not believe in a separate baptism of the Holy Spirit, and yet have experienced it unintentionally by sincerely pursuing God. Stay tuned: next time I’ll address the biblical context of the baptism in the Holy Spirit.

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10 thoughts on “My Personal Experience with the Baptism in the Holy Spirit

  1. Cristina

    Theresa-your blog is so timely for me… First I came to this because of the miracle cavity filling… I am speaking healing to my teeth that they be restored to perfect health…in Jesus’ name!!! Further the Holy Spirit is coming upon me and I want to experience this most perfect indwelling but feel hampered in some indescribable way…I am only a few months into my study of the workings of the Spirit but feel impatient to “get on with it”…Any suggestions would be welcome…thank you for your ministry…Praise God!!!

    • Thanks for your encouragement Cristina. I am glad you have enjoyed my blog. May your teeth be healed in Jesus’ name!

      It’s so exciting to be at the beginning of the Holy Spirit’s blessings in your life! Holy Spirit, come powerfully among Cristina; speak to her, give her wisdom, and teach her how to use the gifts you are giving her. I can emphasize with you in being impatient to see the full manifestations of the Spirit immediately, but I have been learning myself that the process of getting to know the Spirit in new ways and deeper ways is part of the joy of the relationship with Him. It may seem at times that there is a hindrance, but He is training you for what is to come. Enjoy this moment of not knowing where and how everything will come together. I pray He will give you the patience to develop in His timing. Remember that the Spirit is like a wind that blows wherever it pleases (John 3:8), so the best thing we can do is to rest in Him completely and allow the Breath of God to blow us here and there. This is something I am also practicing, as it is easy to jump ahead of the Lord’s leading in the excitement of more of Him.

      Another important thing is to eagerly read the Bible and dialog with Jesus, the living Word. There is a unity between the Spirit and the Word, which cannot (or should not) be separated. A friend recently shared a statement with me that he’d heard from another believer regarding the division of Spirit-filled churches (Pentecostals/Charismatics), and Word based churches: (summarizing) “It is a terrible thing that God’s children would have to pick between two parents, when there should never have been a divorce between the two.” The point being that we need both the Word and the Spirit, and that even from Genesis God created the world with His words–and His words came with His breath (His Spirit: the word “ruach” meaning breath/wind/spirit). When we want more of the Spirit, we can study the Word, and when we need the Word, we can ask the Spirit.

      Blessings to you wherever He leads you! 🙂

  2. Troy

    Hi,
    I have been looking for others that have had similar experiences as me, probably seven years ago I was determined to be healed of a heart issue I have had so I waited to be alone in my home one day and lay on my bed and completely give myself over to the Lord, being baptized in the Holy Spirit was not my intention but man did it surprise me. During prayer as I lay there demanding to my nature that I would praise and honor God with everything I had, I suddenly had a warm feeling of like oil being poured over my head and at first it scared me, I thought I may be having a stroke ! As that feeling poured over my body from top to bottom I felt a indescribable feeling of joy and happiness, it cannot be put into words, clearly not of this world, I felt like I was in the presence of God it felt like electricity it was building and I didn’t want to let go but was afraid that I could take any more current. I have only recently shared this with some people but until you experience it, you cannot fully understand, it took years before I realized that this was the Baptism of the Holy Spirit, I have in the last year started speaking in tongues and since the Baptism have been on fire for the Lord. I pray that this will help anyone that has doubts about how much our God loves us and wants us to be in a relation ship with him. God bless

  3. Susan

    Hi theresa i just stumbeld on ur blog nd i luv it.though i have not experiencd baptism in d Holyghost,so i ll like to understand better what yielding to God means.Thanks

    • Thank you, Susan. The baptism of the Holy Spirit is one of the best experiences for helping us connect to God. Ask for His Spirit to come upon you, and you will experience more of Him in this way. We can never have too much of Him! Blessings on you and your life!

  4. Erin

    I too just experienced the baptism of the Holy Spirit. I have been very spiritual for a long time and I have a deep love for everyone. I forgive very easily because of this. I was doing hot yoga last night and at the end when we lay still I felt as though beams of light were pouring out of my wrists (palms facing up) and it opened a hole in the sky with tons of pure white light coming down to me. I immediately thought and felt that my gift is love. I felt thousands of loved ones peering down at me and letting me know that they are with me to help me on my journey of sending my love out into the world. It was an amazing moment but I had no idea what had happened. That night I was in bed with my mother who had come to watch my daughters for me and when I told her she said she had just seen a video in her Alpha group which is Catholics who get together to understand the writings of the Bible…so she was able to tell me that I had been baptized by the Holy Spirit. It was not coincidental that she knew how to identify it for me immediately on the same night. I’m anxious to see what else happens for me from here…thanks for sharing your experience because I am looking to read other’s experiences for a further understanding of it.

    Erin

  5. Mary

    Hello, I got saved 15 years ago and had a wonderful experience of feeling God’s presence for 5 days after that. After salvation I started seeking and praying for the Baptism of the Holy Spirit. About 2 or 3 years after salvation I was praying in my bed room for the Baptism when I felt the Spirit come upon me. I wanted to share my experience with a family memeber and have them pray with me so I called to ask if I could come to their house to pray and be filled with the Spirit. But the family member was getting ready to go somewhere and said they would not be home. So I waited around for a few days and did not ask for it then the presence of the Spirit left me.
    I have beat myself up since that day for not just praying for and receiving it myself. It has been 12 or 13 years since that day and I have asked for the Baptism many times but have not received it. I am very discouraged and have just about given up that I will receive it now.
    I have had many church members lay hands on me and pray to receive it but I havent.
    I wonder if something is wrong with me. Or if God just doesn’t care.
    I have become discouraged.and i hate to say this but bitter. Maybe I’m not good enough to receive it. I don’t know.
    I do need this power of the HS to help me live for God. Maybe I’m not committed to God as I though I was He knows my heart.
    Very discouraged.

    • Hi Mary,

      I want to encourage you that the Lord loves you so much. There isn’t anything wrong with you. You haven’t missed Him. God is a Good Father, who desires to give you so much more–as much as you want, need, and can handle. Keep pressing into Him.

      I invite you to release your expectations of what the baptism in the Spirit looks like, and when/how it will happen. It’s possible you have been baptized (immersed) in His Spirit already, but did not feel or experience it the way you expected. (It is not just a one time event–although the first time is extra special; we get to experience Him again and again.) As you shift your focus toward enjoying His presence, the rest will come. Begin to notice how He is speaking to you. Practice the discipline of resting in His presence. If there is a way you often feel connected to Him, start there (it may be reading the Word, enjoying a quiet walk through nature, or singing or dancing in praise). If you are not sure where to start, turn on worship music and “soak” in it–that is, sit or lay in a comfortable position for enjoying the music, and listening to how He may speak or move your heart. Some of the songs I enjoy are: “Good Good Father” (Chris Tomlin), “No Longer Slaves” (Jonathan David & Melissa Helser), and “Holy Spirit” (Bryan & Katie Torwalt).

      Father God, I thank you for Mary’s perseverance and hunger in pursuing your presence. Please pour out your Holy Spirit upon her, and bless her with a tangible encounter of your presence. Open up her spiritual eyes, ears, and heart, to your voice, Lord Jesus. Show her how much you love her, Father, and teach her through your Spirit to hear when you are speaking. I also ask, Lord, for Mary to receive the gift of tongues as she is praying and worshipping you. Bring her a fresh joy and wonder, Lord, at the beauty of your presence.

      Mary, I wanted to mention regarding the gift of tongues, that you will not be “overcome” with this gift, so much as you choose to partner with Him through it. As I’ve lead people to receive this gift, I find it helps not to overthink it, and to begin speaking the sounds, letters, or words that come to mind as you are praying. It may be slow at first; but you can trust that if your heart is focused on Him, your words will be likewise.

      • Mary

        Thanks Theresa for your reply! I will keep pressing in to receive the HS.
        I know that day I felt the Presence that I had been praying for it and the presence stayed with me for a few days. I will keep seeking. Thanks

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