The Bible speaks of being baptized with the Holy Spirit. The Greek word from which we get baptize is baptizo, which means to be fully covered or completely immersed. To be baptized with the Holy Spirit means to be completely covered, immersed, and filled to overflowing with the Spirit of God.
Here’s an interesting account by Merlin Carothers from his book, Prison to Praise. Merlin tells us what happened to him when he received the Holy Spirit:
The services [at Camp Farthest Out, a retreat at Morehead City] were unlike anything [I had] ever attended. People sang with uninhibited joy, clapped their hands, and actually raised their arms while they were singing.
I felt very much out of place, but agreed there was a joy from which I could learn something. Some [folks] urged me to have a private talk with a certain lady who they said had unusual power.
“The Holy Spirit is still doing the same thing in many people’s lives today,” she said. “Jesus still baptizes those who believe in Him. I’d like to pray for you, that you might receive the Baptism in the Holy Spirit.”
Without hesitating I said, “Yes.”
She placed her hands on my head and began to pray. I waited for “it” to hit me. Nothing happened. I didn’t feel a thing.
I’m going to pray for you in a language you will not understand. As I pray you will receive a new language of your own.”
Again she placed her hands on my head. I felt nothing, saw nothing, heard nothing. When she was through praying, she asked if I could hear or sense any words within me that I didn’t understand. I thought for a minute and realized that there were in my mind words that didn’t mean anything to me. I felt certain that these strange words were strictly a product of my own imagination, and I told her so.
“If you said them out loud, would you feel [like a] fool?” she asked.
“I certainly would.”
“Would you be willing to be a fool for Christ’s sake?” This put the situation in a different perspective. I’d do anything for Jesus. Haltingly I began to speak out loud the words that were forming in my mind.
Still I felt nothing different.
“Your experience is based on faith in a fact, not on feeling,” said the lady.
I sat in deep thought. I didn’t feel any different, but was I different? I looked up; an amazing realization had just hit me.
“I once again know that Jesus Christ is alive!” I said. “I don’t just believe, I KNOW!”
Why, of course! The Holy Spirit brings witness of Jesus Christ, says the Bible. Now I knew that to be a fact. That was the source of the new authority of the disciples after Pentecost. They didn’t remember a man who had lived and died and risen again. They knew Him in the present tense because He had filled them with His Holy Spirit, whose primary purpose is to witness about Jesus!
What a marvelous truth: Jesus living in us; His power operating through us.
“Thank You, Jesus!” I stood up, and something hit me! I was suddenly filled and overflowing with love for everybody in the room.
I marveled. I had been a pastor for many years and worked hard at it, yet I had never seen so much happen in the lives of so many in the short time since Jesus invaded my being in the fullness of His Spirit.
Excerpted: Prison to Praise, by Merlin Carothers (Carothers, 1970)