With the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost, divided flames of fire appeared over the heads of the 120 disciples gathered in the upper room. The appearance of the flames announced that the presence of the Holy Spirit was there. With the Baptism in the Holy Spirit, came purifying fire, energizing zeal, and the infusion of power for life and ministry.
Oftentimes, we focus on the event of the Baptism in the Holy Spirit, and yet fail to consider what comes next. What happens next is a whole new way of living the Christian life. With Pentecost, is born the heightened component of mission with the passion and power to reach the lost.
There comes the new pursuit of the things of the Spirit. Paul told the Corinthians, “Pursue love,” the crown jewel of the Fruit of the Spirit, “and desire spiritual gifts” (1 Cor. 14:1). When it comes to being used in the Spiritual Gifts, Paul said, “seek to excel” (1 Cor. 14:12).
Herein lies the dilemma for some. Upon entering the realm of the Spirit through Pentecostal experience, some get a little nervous about what they have just gotten themselves into. Some even experience a sense of spiritual buyers remorse. They hear people talk disparagingly about Pentecostals as non-intellectual, emotionally-imbalanced fanatics with a possible mental problem. Others even consider Pentecostals as members of a wacky cult who handle venomous snakes. They hear the negative talk about Pentecostals, and now they are one!
That’s when the devil begins whispering in the ear of a new Pentecostal believer, telling them they better turn down the pilot light of the Spirit. I mean, you don’t want people thinking you’re some kind of flake, do you? Just turn it down, stop the pursuit, and go back to being — normal.
Remember Paul’s warning to the Thessalonians, “Quench not the Spirit,” or as the NIV puts it, ”Do not put out the Spirit’s fire” (1 Thess. 5:19). Do not grieve the Holy Spirit by doubting His work and seeking to suppress Pentecostal fire. Don’t douse the flame in an effort to keep it in check. Part of not being ashamed of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is not being ashamed of the experience of Pentecost given to live it out and share it with others.
When it comes to the fire of the Holy Spirit, don’t try to subdue it. Don’t attempt to rein it into your personal comfort zone. Rather than turning it down, turn it up!
Pastor Todd Weston