The most commonly known forms of baptism are by water and of the Holy Spirit. Both forms of baptism play an important role in the spiritual development of a born-again believer (Christian) in Christ Jesus. The following is my experience and understanding thereof.
My Experience and Understanding
When I was young (elementary school age), I would witness people be baptized in water at a local church where my family and I would congregate. At that age, I never understood the meaning of being a born-again believer. Sadly enough, I don't recall anyone from that local church make a heartfelt or spirit-led effort to explain or help me understand water baptism or spirit baptism truly were. I do recall that at some point in my older youth (middle school age), someone from my family attempted to encourage me to get baptized in water because I was striving to live a righteous life. Yet I persistently refused because that logic did not give me inner peace as a right reason or motive to be baptized in water.
In my early twenties, I began to truly enter a path of striving to live as a born-again believer; receiving salvation through Christ Jesus at the mid-age of twenty-one. At that time I continued to study the sacred scriptures, pray (converse with God), seek Godly-counsel from more mature born-again believers in the faith, and increase in a desire to draw closer to God through Christ Jesus. God took me through a process where He escorted me out of the "old" local church congregation and into a different one as He brought me into further maturity in the faith. God used a missionary family to help me work through a discipleship course and learn to apply the principles into true-life practicum.
My Water Baptism
A little over a year past my day of becoming a born-again believer, I was baptized in water; it was a transforming day in my life. Prior to being baptized in water, I recall having discussed the matter with the missionary family / discipleship mentors; who helped me understand the significance it held for a born-again believer in Christ Jesus. In addition, the church required people to go through a mini-course on water baptism in order to verify their understanding of what they would be putting into practice as well as a step towards becoming a member of a local church.
At this time in my life, it was impressed upon me that water baptism was a public proclamation of the already existing transforming work of Christ Jesus deep within my heart. I had repented of my sins and Jesus had forgiven me of them, yet water baptism was still a public proclamation that needed to be done before a person could become a member of a local church. In essence, I needed to affirm to more mature born-again believers that my decision to accept Christ Jesus as my Savior and Lord was true and genuine; along with the emergence of the first fruit of the spirit.
On the day that I was baptized in water, I was anxious because I knew within my heart that there was something more beyond this moment in time. After the water baptism took place, I changed into dry clothes and re-joined the praise and worship group for the remainder of the service. Something was different about my playing, at first I thought it was a sense of euphoria from the water baptism, but there was something more. When I played the trumpet, it was at another level, a level of capacity that was not possible to increase spontaneously. It was something that made an impression upon me and I had to speak to mature born-again believers about it. In essence, what I was told was that on rare occasions, God pours out a greater portion of His Spirit on a person so they can increase in their effectiveness of the spiritual work God has already called them to do. This I witnessed to be true through other ministry work in which I worked in. It was amazing.
My Spiritual Baptism ... in the Holy Spirit
Not long after being baptized in water, I longed for something more. I conversed with mature born-again believers about desiring to learn from them in order to develop in the maturity of my faith and into increasing effectiveness in the ministry work in which I worked in already as well as in the future. Hence, when the news was presented at a church service that there would be a special series on the topic of the Baptism in the Holy Spirit, I was excited for the days to come. I worked hard at preparing for it and asked other born-again believers to keep me in prayer for the series and possibility of experiencing the Baptism in the Holy Spirit, in accordance to the sacred scriptures, with evidence of speaking in tongues (an unknown language). In essence, I assisted all the nights of the presentation / service and on the last night of the presentation, I received the authentic Baptism in the Holy Spirit.
I remember that on that last day, my heart was desperate to receive the Baptism, but it also had doubt within in. I thought to myself, "What will I do if I do not receive the Baptism tonight, its the last night?" So in desperation, I was calling and crying out to God as my cheeks were moist from rolling tears from my eyes. My discipleship mentors were praying for me from the pew behind me, as well as for their son, who was also seeking the Baptism. We both received the Baptism in the Holy Spirit that last night and rejoiced. Our lives were never the same whenever we played with the praise and worship group and worked in other ministry work together.
The Impact on My Life
After that day, I began to change in my view of life through a set of lenses that helped me see the spiritual aspects as a facet to my whole being. My personal development was also brought into a higher level of maturity, but also the effectiveness of some of the ministry work I did by it. I want to also add that my own faith was enhanced as well. My time of prayer became more intense as I learned to hear God speak to and through me by means of the Holy Spirit. God would also allow me to speak to others a word of knowledge or encouragement that came from Him and affirmed by the sacred scriptures. For me, the most important thing has been that God found me worthy of extending the gift of speaking in tongues along with the gift of interpretation of tongues into my spiritual development. I have had some gifts come and go in accordance with God's will for my life and correction from Him as well. Yet, I humbly continue to ask God to not take these present gifts away, for they assure me of His continual presence in and through my life when they manifest themselves through me.
In closing, it is my hope that this testimony of the effect of water baptism and spiritual baptism in my life will bless you and encourage your faith in Christ Jesus. If you have decided to pursue one or both of these baptisms please study them further, and a with a receptive heart. Right now I pray ... God, you who are great and grand I ask You to help the faith of my brethren in Christ Jesus as they seek something more that comes through the Baptism in the Holy Spirit. I ask You to help, encourage, and comfort them as they seek that which you promised to be available to all. I pray that those who receive the Baptism in the Holy Spirit may be preserved as they use its power to be more effective in the service that You have called them to do. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.
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R. A. Gómez