I remember being filled with the baptism of the Holy Ghost on Wednesday, December 17th, 2008. I was 18 years old and a freshman in college, living on campus. I visited a dormmate’s church for the second time, after having been water baptized the very first time I visited that Sunday prior, which was completely unplanned! I’ve been told that I needed to get baptized earlier in my adolescence but never did because I felt like baptism was a scary cultic ritual that I wanted nothing to be a part of. Also I knew it was a sign of profession and commitment to the Christian faith, which I was not ready to fully commit to at that time.
However, I was taught the full gospel that Sunday during service and the importance of water baptism by submersion. Once I fully understood the concept of the gospel and of repentance, I accepted it and went through with the water baptism. That Wednesday night, after visiting my friend’s church again for bible study, I accepted the invitation for altar call, not really knowing why I was going to the altar but feeling a need to do so. A few ministers from the church surrounded me. They asked me if I had ever received the gift of the Holy Spirit before. I have heard of the Holy Spirit growing up and believe I had prior encounters with him moving on my heart, but wasn’t sure if I was necessarily “filled” with him. The ministers told me the Spirit baptism was a free gift that God gives out to his people — to as many as he calls. They told me if I wanted to be filled, to raise my hands in a symbol of surrender, and ask God to fill me. I did as they advised, lifted my hands, and began to pray, asking to be filled. It felt very awkward and quite frankly, silly, because I wasn’t sure what I was actually asking for or how I would know once I received it. The ministers began to tarry with me, by laying hands, interceding in their heavenly tongues and petitioning God to fill me.
In the midst of them praying and speaking in tongues in my ear, patting me on my back almost as if trying to burp me, and pressing down on my stomach, commanding “rivers of living water to flow”, I had a personal encounter with God. It’s as if all the distractions went silent and blurry around me, and I had a one on one with Him. I heard God speak to me. One of the rare encounters during that time of my life, where I actually heard God’s voice. Infiltrating my thoughts, it’s as if He was speaking directly to my mind.
He said, “I desire to fill you with my Spirit, but I will not fill you until you forgive your ex girlfriend for cheating on you.”
Immediately, I had a flashback from maybe a year or two prior when my girlfriend called me to confess that she had cheated on me. Upon hearing her confession, the spirit of offense, bitterness, unforgiviness and hated immediately filled my heart.
God said, “I will not fill you until you forgive her.” The spirits that were within me, including pride, began to manifest. I felt myself getting angry at even the thought of forgiveness. I told God, “I’ll forgive her. But I will NEVER forget.” God responded, “Until you forget, you have not truly forgiven. True forgiveness holds no record of wrong.”
The moment I heard that, my eyes were spiritually opened and I came to the revelation that my unforgiviness was keeping both my ex in bondage to guilt and myself in bondage to offense and sin. I then humbled myself and told God, “Ok. I forgive her. I forgive AND forget.” Love and compassion was then poured into my heart.
Immediately, I felt what seemed like fire fall upon me; my entire body felt consumed and tingly. I started crying, praising God and speaking in a heavenly tongue. I started jumping up and down, then took off running through the church as if I were on fire and trying to extinguish it. I remember falling on the floor in exhaustion, and screaming at the top of my lungs, as all the evil spirits attached to unforgiviness began to come out of me. I don’t know how long I was on that floor crying and screaming and getting delivered, but the moment I got up, I felt empty, but also filled. I knew I was a new creature and had been born again.
Do you remember the day that you were filled with the Holy Spirit? If so, share your experience in the comments section below.