Imagine I took a trip to the eastern seaboard of the United States, and I spent much of my time there walking along the shore in awe of the majesty of the Atlantic Ocean. When it came time for me to head home, I wanted to find something that would be a lasting memento of my time at the beach, so I took a glass bottle out into the surf and filled it with salty Atlantic Ocean water.
I now have the ocean in a bottle.
But showing my small bottle to a friend who had never seen the Atlantic Ocean for himself and trying to convey to him the majesty and splendor of this powerful ocean would be a pitiful experience.
Yes, my bottle contains some of the Atlantic Ocean. But it is limited, while the ocean is nearly limitless. The water in my bottle is tame, compared to the wild strength of the pounding Atlantic surf. The water in my bottle is stagnant, while the Atlantic is constantly moving and churning.
My bottle contains the ocean. But what if the ocean contained my bottle?
This is an good example of someone who is merely filled with the Holy Spirit (the Spirit in their bottle) versus someone who is baptized with the Holy Spirit (their life immersed in the ocean of the Spirit).
At the moment of salvation, the Holy Spirit enters the bottle of our lives as a deposit of our assurance of salvation and eternal life. But it is limited and tame, and can become stagnant if we’re not careful. But when someone is baptized in the Holy Spirit—when the bottle of their life is plunged into the limitless resources of the Spirit—a new power and effectiveness is released.
After His resurrection Jesus breathed on His disciples and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit.” But before His ascension, Jesus instructed them to wait in Jerusalem for the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Jesus wanted more for them … and He wants more for you too!
The baptism in the Holy Spirit is not a luxury; it is a necessity. Christ intended for it to be the normal state of a healthy Christian! Are you baptized in the Spirit, or are you content with merely being filled with the Spirit? I pray that you will allow your bottle to be plunged deep!