“I baptize you with water for repentance, but the One who is coming after me is more powerful than I. I am not worthy to remove His sandals. He Himself will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.”
When water comes in, it goes to the low places first. I know this because of some massive flooding events in my home in Houston in 2014, 2015, and 2016. On all three occasions, the drainage system in our backyard couldn’t keep up and our pool overflowed. Our house sits a little lower than our backyard, and that water had to go somewhere. Despite doors and walls, it came in and covered the downstairs of our house. We fixed the problem, finally, the third time the water came in. The solution, as it turned out, was simple. And the timing couldn’t have been better because just as my older girls and I were praying for God to help us, my husband was walking around the house to drill three holes in the bottom of our fence. All the water drained out of the backyard and stopped coming into our house. We haven’t had water in the house since, even during Hurricane Harvey. Miracles come in all shapes and sizes, including six-foot engineers with power tools.
When I think of baptism, I picture this flooding. I picture the living water rushing in, unstoppable and going to the lowest parts first. We are literally immersed in the grace of God at the moment of salvation. The baptism of the Holy Spirit, which can be a separate experience, allows the power of His presence to rush into our souls and bodies. It can result in unique expressions of joy as we let the Holy Spirit bubble in and up through our beings.
At Aldersgate, John Wesley met His Savior and was baptized in the waters of grace. At Fetter’s Lane, he had an experience where his heart was infused with the very presence of God Himself and was launched into his history-changing ministry, which birthed a new movement and multiple denominations. The nineteenth-century evangelist Charles Finney described his experience as “waves of liquid love.” Now that’s some flooding!
I’ve been saved since I was fourteen years old. Even having been saved for thirty years now, I’ve known the power of the Holy Spirit in my life for just a few of those years. I felt the Lord before my own encounter with the Holy Spirit, but since then I feel more solid, more peaceful, and more assured God loves me and is for me than I did before. There are still times I need to be reminded of the power that raised Christ from the dead that lives in me. I need the confirmation and purification to do the things He calls me to do (which is most everything in my life).
Asking for the Holy Spirit baptism is at once an act of obedience and surrender. It is putting down our ways and understanding to choose God’s way. And that refreshing water rushes into the lowest places first. Maybe there is a dry quality to your heart. If your spirit feels restless or if it’s taking a long nap, it’s time to ask. If your heart is hard or you are weary of the trials of this life, it’s time to ask. If you just came off a mountaintop, it’s time to ask.
As the people of God, it is time to ask for more. Don’t just settle for water on the first floor; ask Him to fill you up to the rafters and overflow out the chimney.
He won’t hold back Himself from you when you ask for Him. Whether you feel anything or not isn’t the point. The point is to ask Him to come in and fill you with His presence so your life can be filled with His. Trust that when you ask, He will rush in to those low places with all the blessing you need.
Come, Holy Spirit, and fill me with Yourself. Fill my low places, but don’t stop there. Fill me all the way up with Your presence, Lord. In Jesus’ name, amen.
What would your life be like if you experienced the power of God working in and through you every day?
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