I'm going to share briefly what occurred when I received Christ.
Having been raised in the Lutheran church I'd always heard about the Holy Ghost, as it was called then, and still today by some. I had no clue about the responsibility of this Holy Ghost. I remember it was part of the Trinity, whatever that was...as I thought then...and I remember seeing pictures and hearing how the disciples and others were filled with this Spirit and tongues like flames of fire came upon them. Pictures depicted the little cloven flames above their heads.
So one day, April 18, 1999 I was in a church. The pastor spoke some words that felt as though they were meant only for me. I know now they probably were not but they so touched deep within me I couldn't ignore them.
The pastor asked if we wanted what this Man, Jesus, had to offer. And without a moment of hesitation I wanted it! What seemed like several minutes was probably only seconds. Like slow motion in my mind even today I see it all.
As I was determined to receive what the pastor said Jesus was offering, and he asked those who wanted to receive to raise their hands, mine went up very fast. It actually felt like someone had grabbed it and yanked it up. I couldn't make this up if I tried. Remember, I had no clue about anything that was happening.
When my hand was raised, when it was as high as it would go, I literally felt something I could only then call a force, entered through my fingertips, run down my arm and fill my body. How could I make something like this up when I had no clue? About two weeks later in a Bible study I was beginning I had a chance to explain that Sunday morning's occurrences. When I explained about "the force," it was explained to me it was the Holy Spirit!
Okayyyy, I still didn't really understand. I didn't know that the Holy Spirit is God's power that He gives to new believers, like He did in the upper room on the day of Pentecost when a small group of disciples and followers were filled with the power of the Holy Spirit...and Paul preached the Gospel and three thousand more people were converted.
That's what the Holy Spirit does. His job is to empower believers. Simply put, He makes understanding the Bible easier. He opens hearts and minds to receive the things of God. He gives a desire to know more about God. When we learn who Jesus is, what He commands us to do, what He loves and abhors, He will give us the power to share.
Let me just add, because this came up in a discussion one morning...just because I felt that at that moment doesn't mean it is always an experiential thing. It can be a thought that comes to mind or discernment about something, or even a word you feel led to speak to someone; it's not always a "force," but might be a gentle prompting. I believe this initial sensation was God's way of letting me know He had me! I was now His. It was for that moment.
He gives the power, however, when we ask to receive, strength for the day, in the time of trouble, even greater understanding. It is the power of God. But it's just what one needs, the strength, the understanding, the discernment. While it's not always felt in what we would call powerful ways, it is there. In the New Testament the word power in Greek is translated dunamis. One meaning is: inherent power, power residing in a thing by virtue of its nature, or which a person or thing exerts and puts forth. An inherent power given by God, by virtue of His nature, something He puts forth. Dunamis is where the word dynamite comes from.
Imagine...His power can reside in us. It happens when we choose to receive Him, follow Him, trust Him, obey Him. His power...in us. Receive Christ, receive His power.
I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them.
But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His.
Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”
(Ezekiel 36:26-27, Romans 8:9, Acts 2:38)