Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Submit to one another out of reverence for our Lord Jesus Christ. — Ephesians 5:18-20
In the introduction to his book, Twelve Lies You Hear About the Holy Spirit, author Tim Riter asks this question:
“Why do some Christians seem to have no gusto in their faith? They attend church services, they serve the Lord and others, they give of their time and their material possessions, but they never seem to burn with passion for God. They don’t dig deep into Him. They have a genuine faith, and they love God, but they clearly miss something in their spiritual lives. Other Christians are different. They have no more talent or intelligence, but their lives have a spiritual zest. Passion motivates their actions. They would never claim to be sinless, yet sin seems to become less and less frequent among them. What’s the difference? The key to the dynamic Christian life is being filled with the Spirit . . .”
I still remember the day I became a Christian—everybody does. I was so filled with joy knowing that I was forgiven and embarking on a new life in Christ, that I could hardly control myself. I wanted to tell everybody! God was very real to me and I just believed Him for everything—every promise of Scripture was mine and I was fearless about the future. I was saved. Hallelujah!
Yet less than a year and a half later when I was going to college to prepare for the ministry, I found myself puffed up with new knowledge about Christ but I had lost my passion and zeal for Him. My spiritual tank was almost on empty and I desperately needed some high octane Holy Spirit fuel. I had become lukewarm like those in the church at Laodicea to whom Christ said, “I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one of the other!” I didn’t like the feeling and I didn’t want to be “spit out of His mouth” (Revelation 3:15-16).
Then a series of events happened that changed my Christian life forever. I want to tell you about it by way of personal testimony because it’s my story of how God responded to my cry. Like King David, I asked Him to “renew a right spirit within me” (Psalm 51:10). That was the springboard to the truth from Paul’s letter the church at Ephesus.
Because I was a student in the School of Religion at Eastern New Mexico University in Portales, the local Christian church we attended assumed I was a capable teacher, so they asked me to lead an adult Sunday School class on the Book of Acts. It fit well with my studies because I was taking a class on the Book of Acts in school.
One Sunday, while teaching about the day of Pentecost from the second chapter of Acts—when the Holy Spirit came down from heaven and all of the disciples who had gathered in the upper room “were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues” (Acts 2:4)—I quickly added that speaking in tongues along with miracles, prophetic utterances and healing ceased being practiced early in Christian church history. With all due respect, that was the standard understanding and tradition of the church I belonged to at the time. Oy vey. We were loyal cessationists! Maranatha!