“Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” is the question that Paul asked twelve men who he thought to be disciples of the Lord Jesus. Eventually he discovered they were simply disciples, or students, of John the Baptist. So he preached Christ to them and baptized them. Then the Bible records in Acts 19:6, “And when Paul had laid hands on them, the Holy Spirit came upon them, and they spoke with tongues and prophesied.”
There is a lot to glean from this encounter between Paul and these men. But the main thing I would like you to see is the priority Paul placed on the necessity of receiving the Holy Spirit. Perhaps first, there was some small talk between them on that day. But once that was over, the first thing of significance out of Paul’s mouth to these new acquaintances was, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?”
This testimony is similar to Paul’s experience. After his life was gloriously interrupted by the Lord Jesus on the road to Damascus, the first believer he came in contact with, Ananias, approached him and laid his hands on him saying, “…the Lord Jesus…has sent me that you may…be filled with the Holy Spirit” (Acts 9:17).
The priority of Heaven, the will of God, is for every believer to be filled with the Holy Spirit soon after they have accepted Christ Jesus as their Lord and Savior. He was given to empower us to witness, guide us, teach us, show us things to come, and reveal Christ to and through us. He is the One who makes spiritual realities more tangible to us.
It is the plan of God for you to receive, be continually filled and led by the Holy Spirit. So with Paul, I ask, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” If not, you can receive right now. Jesus said, “if you…know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!” (Lk. 11:13). Ask! And if you have difficulty receiving, find someone who’s anointed and have them lay hands on you to receive just like the twelve men and Paul himself received. May God’s richest and best be yours!