How do we know that we have experienced the Holy Spirit whom we have received at the time of baptism?
Is speaking in tongues the only evidence of the experience of the Holy Spirit? Does it follow that if one does not speak in tongues, one has not experienced the Holy Spirit?
Nowhere in the New Testament is it indicated that Jesus, or for that matter, Mary, spoke in tongues, and yet it is an undeniable fact that they were certainly filled with the Holy Spirit.
It can be concluded, therefore, that speaking in tongues is only one such evidence of experiencing the Holy Spirit.
So, what other evidence is there that we are truly having a living relationship to the Holy Spirit?
God himself, in the Holy Scripture, has provided seven proofs to highlight our living relationship to the Holy Spirit, emphasized by our turning to the “Paraclete” to satisfy particular needs in our Christian life.
1. We know that we have a living relationship to the Holy Spirit if the Holy Spirit is truly a “Paraclete” for us and we turn to the Holy Spirit first when we are in distress. Jesus loved us so much that he gave us the most precious person he knew to assist us in times of our difficulty, darkness and despair ( Jn 14 : 16 ).
2. We know that we have a living relationship to the Holy Spirit when we turn to the Holy Spirit to grow in our commitment to Jesus Christ. The beginning of our relationship to Jesus is also the work of the Holy Spirit, for it is only through the Holy Spirit that we are able to profess our faith in Jesus as our personal Lord and Saviour ( 1Cor 12 : 3 ).
3. We know that we have a living relationship to the Holy Spirit when we turn to the Holy Spirit to know the Truth, not only the truth in Jesus but also the truth in the world. Spirit-led persons do not condemn as false everything that is not according to their way of thinking, acting and believing, but seek the assistance of the Holy Spirit to test everything and to hold fast to that which is true ( 1Thes 5 : 19 – 22 ).
4.We know that we have a living relationship to the Holy Spirit when we turn to the Holy Spirit to learn how to pray in Jesus’ name. By ourselves, we do not know how to pray in Jesus’ name; mostly we pray in our own name, that is, according to what we think is important. We need to be taught what we must pray for, and the one who teaches us is the Holy Spirit ( Rom 8 : 26 ).
5. We know that we have a living relationship to the Holy Spirit when we turn to the Holy Spirit to guide us in all the decisions of our life. The New Testament contains many references to people who were guided by the Holy Spirit in the practical decisions they had to take in their lives.
6. We know that we have a living relationship to the Holy Spirit when we turn to the Holy Spirit for boldness in witnessing to Jesus in our society. And how much do we need this boldness today! In the face of growing religious and political forces in our society that is hostile to the Christians, we need the boldness of Peter, Stephen and Paul to witness to Jesus – fearlessly, unashamedly and uncompromisingly! Without the Holy Spirit we shall be crushed by the oppressive forces in society!
7. And finally, we know that we have a living relationship to the Holy Spirit when we consciously turn to the Holy Spirit for the charisms that we need for service. Our services will not be fruitful, in any Christian endeavor, unless we are empowered with the necessary charisms of the Holy Spirit. Spirit-led Christians, will therefore, continually ask the Holy Spirit for the necessary charisms for service.
Writer:Â Charles Hopkins