Evidence of Receiving the Holy Spirit
When a person receives the Holy
Spirit, God gives a sign to show that the Holy Spirit is in him. The sign is
the speaking of tongues, or the ability to speak in an unknown language that
only God can understand.
"For one who speaks in a
tongue speaks not to men but to God; for no one understands him, but he utters
mysteries in the Spirit" (1 Corinthians 14:2). The speaking of tongues is
a profound communion with God, for prayer and for praising God.
When God poured out his promised
Holy Spirit for the first time on the day of Pentecost (Acts chapter 2), the
believers began to speak in tongues. Since then, whenever the Holy Spirit came
upon the believers, it was evidenced by the speaking of tongues. Anyone who has
not had this experience has not yet received the Holy Spirit, because speaking
in tongues is the necessary evidence of receiving the Holy Spirit (see Acts
Receiving the Holy Spirit is an
experience that is audible and very often visible. It is audible because of the
sign of speaking in tongues. It is often visible by the movement of the body,
although this is not a necessary sign. The disciples of the Lord Jesus said
that they as well as the observers could "see and hear" the pouring
out of the Holy Spirit (see Acts ).
The speaking of tongues is not a
one-time experience only. Because the Holy Spirit dwells in us, we can speak in
tongues whenever we pray. Through praying in tongues, "the
Spirit himself intercedes for us with sighs too deep for words" (Romans ). Speaking in tongues is beyond
human expression, and makes our prayers more effective because it is a direct,
spiritual language with God.
As human beings, we all have the
desire to express ourselves; but the expression is often not verbal. In moments
of joy, for example, we laugh. In times of fear, we scream. In times of
sadness, we sob.
Sometimes we ache so deeply that
mere words cannot convey our pain. Sometimes "thank you" hardly
expresses our heartfelt appreciation to God. We may have the drive to say
something, but to say it clearly and concisely is often beyond our oral
abilities. But when the Holy Spirit prays for us, he replaces our earthly words
with a spiritual language. Our hearts become satisfied.