Note: This topic has been written on a sixth-grade level in order to provide understanding to both adults and children.
Let’s look up the definitions of a few words that describe the Holy Ghost.
HOLY: Belonging to, derived from, or associated to a divine power; Divine: Godlike: perfect. GHOST: The animus: soul [animus is Latin for soul: mind] Spirit: The vital principle or animating force traditionally believed to be within living beings; the Holy Ghost.
Why did God decide to give us the Holy Ghost?
- God came to earth because He wanted to be with us. He had created man, and wanted to be able to spend time with Him. After Jesus rose from the grave, He knew that He would not be able to stay on earth, so God sent down His Spirit. (John 14:16) God was giving another Comforter so that He could abide with us forever. (John 14:26) This Comforter was the Holy Ghost.
How can we receive the Holy Ghost?
- First, we must repent (to feel such regret for previous behavior as to change one’s mind about it). Once we’ve done this, He can move in (God’s Spirit can’t live in a “dirty” heart). Next, we need to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ so that our sins will be removed (Acts 19:5). Then, “Ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost!” (Acts 2:38) (Note: There isn’t a rule about the order of these two actions; you can receive the Holy Ghost before you’re baptized. God isn’t going to tell you that you have to wait!)
What happens when you are asking God for the Holy Ghost and He starts to move in your heart?
- You may begin to feel warm all over. You will most likely have “stammering lips.” (Isaiah 28:11) If you pay attention while you’re praying, you will hear words in your mind that are brand-new to you. This happens because everything begins in the mind, as it is the source of all decisions that we make. Listen, and He will tell you what to say.
- Your tongue will start to form words that you’ve never before spoken. (Acts 2:4) (Acts 2:38) This happens because that’s the evidence, or proof, that God is moving into your heart through the Holy Ghost [Evidence: something that indicates (or proves)] (Acts 19:6)
- When you begin to receive the Holy Ghost, it is important not to stop yourself and try to talk in English (or another language you have learned), saying words with which you are comfortable. Many people do this because the “prayer language” that God gives us sounds strange, or not “normal.” If we don’t surrender our tongue by letting it form the words He’s trying to give us, He can’t fill us with His Spirit.
- Once you have received the Holy Ghost, you will feel many different emotions. (Isaiah 12:3) (Habakkuk 3:18) (Acts 13:52) (Romans 14:17) (Romans 15:13) (Galatians 5:22-23)
Do We Need the Holy Ghost?
- There are so many people that are saying, “To be saved, you just need to do is accept Jesus as your personal savior.” They may tell you to follow John 3:16 and just “believe” in Him, or even mention something called the “Sinner’s Prayer.” God’s salvation requires more of us than just accepting Him into our heart, or saying a certain prayer, and it is important that we understand the difference.
- Let’s look at Peter’s response to the question, “Men and brethren, what shall we do?” (Acts 2:38). In John 3:1-5, Jesus told Nicodemus, “Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” Jesus was talking about a spiritual birth, which happens when we receive the Holy Ghost. When Paul met John’s disciples, the first question he asked them was, “Have you received the Holy Ghost since you believed?” (Acts 19:1-6) Jesus, Peter, and Paul all taught that being filled with the Holy Ghost is necessary for salvation.
- How do I know if I’ve received the Holy Ghost? Let’s look at the Bible – what evidence occurred when someone received the Holy Ghost? Acts 2:4 says that on the day of Pentecost, the disciples spoke with other tongues as the Spirit gave utterance. In Acts 10:44-48, Peter and those with him were astonished to hear the Gentiles were speaking in other tongues. Prior to this time, only the Jews and Samaritans had received the Holy Ghost. The Gentiles worshiped idols and did not follow any of the Jewish laws or practices. Acts 1:8 also talks about the power that will come to us when we receive the Holy Ghost. This is the power that God gives us to overcome sin!
When we have repented (changed our hearts and direction), been baptized in the name of Jesus, and receive the Holy Ghost (God living in us), we have the ability to build a relationship with Him. Through that relationship, we have the privilege to expect that when we pray, He will hear, and He will answer! When Jesus lives in our heart, life is so much better.
Copyright © 2003 Growing with God by Mark and Glenda Alphin
Definitions derived from Noah Webster’s 1828 Dictionary of American English