Lambano [to take a hold of] is an interesting Greek word used in connection with receiving the baptism of the Spirit. The word is used in many contexts: Jesus took bread then broke it, the people took palm branches in their hands, etc.
This is first and foremost an action word; you reach out to grab something. It is the opposite of passive waiting. My struggle for the baptism of the Holy Spirit was over when I recognized that what I was looking for was already mine. I could reach out and receive what Jesus had declared to be mine.
On the day of Pentecost the first sign that the believers had received the baptism of the Holy Spirit was that they spoke in other tongues. Sometimes, speaking in tongues has been ridiculed and minimized, and believers have failed to benefit from this gift, which is designed to strengthen us inwardly. Others drive the car into the opposite ditch and make speaking in tongues the main thing.
Speaking in tongues is the first sign of the baptism of the Holy Spirit, but the greatest sign is power to take the gospel of Jesus Christ to the world. Paul wrote, “the love of God shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit”, [Romans 5:5]. When the first Christians were baptized in the Spirit, this empowered them to credibly declare that Jesus Christ is the Saviour of the world.
When you travel to the city, you often see a sign on the highway, indicating that you have reached the city limit. You can of course stop and have your photograph taken beside that sign and then claim that you’ve actually been to that city. While you may be technically correct, it would be a hollow claim, because to really say that you had been to the city you will need to go downtown. You must feel the pulse of humanity, the busy marketplaces and the culture of the city.
Similarly, some have had the initial experience of speaking in tongues and thought that was all there was to it when there’s a whole downtown of the Holy Spirit with the gifts of the spirit, the love of God for the world and the power to share the gospel.
If you have never received the baptism of the Holy Spirit, it is yours for the taking now. If at one time you experienced this mighty baptism, ask Jesus Christ – the giver of the spirit – to refresh you, just like he did to the believers in the book of Acts.
Suggested Scripture readings:
John 14:16 – 18; 26, John 16:13 – 14, John 7:37 – 39, Acts 2:1 – 4