Getting your feet wet…
This past Sunday morning Pastor Andrew spoke to us on Christ’s baptism… Matthew records,
Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptized by John. But John tried to deter him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?” Jesus replied, “Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness.” Then John consented. 1
As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.” (Matt. 13-17)
On one level the sinless Christ was being water baptized simply as our example, “to fulfill all righteousness.” i.e. to do all those things which a righteous man might do. (Consider how awkward it would be if Christ were not baptized! Every believer thereafter could protest that he or she need not be baptized either for after all even Christ was not baptized.) But He was, and though sinless He did it “to fulfill all righteousness.”
But on quite another level the God-man Christ was being filled with the God-only Holy Spirit. And why? For empowerment in ministry and, as He would next experience, for fortitude in temptations. These reasons must motivate us also.
“The Baptism with the Holy Spirit is not intended to make us happy but to make us effective. We should not look and long for ecstatic experiences, but for power and efficiency from God.” – R.A. Torrey, The Baptism with the Holy Spirit.*
Long ago the prophet Jeremiah bluntly warned, “Should you then seek great things for yourself? Do not seek them.” (Jer. 45:5) Check yourself. Are you seeking the Holy Spirit with any hint of becoming a great holy person, or out of a desire for happiness or “ecstatic experience?” If you are, you will get nowhere.
The sort of seeking God honors is that secret seeking… that empowering courage for the moment, whether or not any other person learns of it. The best seeking is often born from personal suffering, bewilderment or urgency.
Jesus taught us, “Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.” (John 7:38) Other translations have it “out of his belly,” “from his heart,” or “innermost being.”
The Holy Spirit resides within each believer from the moment of repentance and turning to Christ. He is there as our “deposit,” a guarantee of what is yet to come. He is there within the believer at all times, regardless of one’s emotion or even as we bring Him grief by sinful actions.
We may sense His infilling more directly by freeing Him to flow fully out from us than by awaiting some manifestation to land on us from above. But this requires our feet to step out where we see no soil, our mouth to open and our lungs to supply breath even as we know not what to say.
“I am the Lord your God… Open wide your mouth and I will fill it.” proclaims Asaph (Ps. 81:10).
“Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might,” urges Solomon (Eccl. 9:10)
Surrender yourself to Christ seeking only that “power and efficiency from God” and to bring glory and honor to Him. Then move forward in faith to go and do and speak and pray in ways you may never have done before. Go ahead… get your feet wet.
You may be the most astonished of all.
*You can download at no cost a .pdf of The Baptism with the Holy Spirit by R.A. Torrey HERE