The Obstacles to Receiving the Holy Spirit.
Certain things can hinder a person from being filled with the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking in tongues, such as a lack of faith or submission. Remember that the Holy Spirit gives the utterance, but it is the person who must speak. This means that the individual must open their mouth and use their own voice to begin speaking.
After asking Jesus to baptize them with the Holy Spirit, the believer must quiet their mind and see if they sense the Holy Spirit giving them syllables or words inside. If they feel nothing, the issue may be a lack of faith. Why? Because a person must first receive the gift of the Holy Spirit they asked for by opening their heart to the Spirit and drinking it in.
When receiving the Holy Spirit, it gives the utterance. In this case, it would be good for the believer to go back and study the five instances reported in the book of Acts where people were filled with the Holy Spirit (see Acts chapters 2, 8, 9, 10, 19). They should read these chapters very carefully because faith comes by hearing, and hearing comes by the Word of God (Romans 10:17).
On the other hand, if the believer speaks in tongues even if only a few syllables, they must hold on to that speech and refuse to let it go. But they should also expect more! The issue, in this case, is lack of openness. Therefore, when alone and without distraction, the believer should pray in other tongues. They should start with the words they have already received, but they should also expect other things and strive to submit more and more to the Holy Spirit.
Once, while I was at a program in a certain church, a young businessman stepped forward one evening to receive the Holy Spirit. When I laid hands on him, the Holy Spirit came upon him, but I only heard him speak two words in tongues.
The next evening, when the pastor asked for testimonies from people who had been saved, healed, or filled with the Holy Spirit during the meetings, this young man stood up and said, “I want to praise God for filling me with the Holy Spirit last night.” Then he sat down.
The following evening, the pastor asked for testimonies again. Once more, this young man stood up and testified, “I want to thank God because two nights ago, when Brother Hagin laid hands on me, I received the Holy Spirit and spoke in other tongues.”
On the next evening’s service, the pastor again asked for testimonies, and the young man stood up once more to testify. But this time, when he stood up, I thought he was going to go through the ceiling! He said, “Friends, three nights ago, the Lord baptized me with the Holy Spirit, but I only spoke two words. Since my family stays up late every night after attending various services, I came home from work at lunchtime to take a 30-minute nap every day at noon. But these last two days, I haven’t been able to take my nap.”
The young man then explained why he couldn’t take his noon nap. The day after I laid hands on him, he was trying to sleep when the devil began constantly whispering to him, “You didn’t get anything last night when you asked to be filled with the Holy Spirit.” The man replied out loud, “Yes, I did.” The enemy said, “But you didn’t speak in tongues.” The young man got up, took his Bible, and opened it to Acts 2:4. Then he said, “Mr. Devil, in case you can’t read, I’ll do it for you. It says here: They were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. Last night, I started speaking in other tongues, so I received the Holy Spirit. I spoke two words, and that’s a start!”
The next day, this businessman went home at noon and had lunch. Then he went to his room to lie down and take a nap. But once again, he couldn’t sleep because the devil kept telling him, “Now that you testified that you were filled with the Holy Spirit, but you are not filled! Speak in tongues now.” The man couldn’t speak more than those two words in tongues. So the devil said to his mind, “See, you got nothing!” But once again, the young man got up and opened his Bible. He said, “Mr. Devil, in case you can’t read, I’ll read it to you!” After reading Acts 2:4 to the devil, the man said, “I know I only spoke two words, but it’s a start. I began speaking in other tongues, so I am filled with the Holy Spirit!”
Then the young man told us, “This noon, I tried to take a nap again, and the devil started telling me the same thing he had been telling me for the past two days. So I got up, opened my Bible, and read Acts 2:4 to him again. I repeated, ‘Three nights ago, I started speaking in other tongues, which means I am filled.’ And before I knew it, I was speaking fluently in other tongues! So I spent the rest of the time praying in the Holy Spirit. This young man had received the Holy Spirit. It was about him learning to submit to the Holy Spirit. So, you see, when he yielded to the Holy Spirit’s prompting to mock the devil in faith, it helped him submit to the Holy Spirit to pray in tongues!
It is crucial for a person to stay in faith as they learn to yield to the Holy Spirit. Otherwise, they will fall back into unbelief and say, “I only spoke a few words, so I didn’t receive anything.” The devil loves to use doubtful arguments like this to bind a believer so they cannot enjoy the benefits of the outpouring they have already received.
I tell you, you must learn to respond to the devil with the Word if you want to reach a certain dimension in the Lord! Someone might say, “I can’t respond to the devil! I’m afraid of him!” But if that’s what you say, you’ve already let the devil capture you. You’ve already played his game because the spirit of fear comes from the enemy. The devil will always bring out the same old arguments because he doesn’t know any new ones. He will try to make you give up what God has given you, but you can always whip him with the Word! If you’ve only spoken a few words in tongues, hold on to that word in faith and continue speaking the words you have received from the Holy Spirit. It is certainly the Holy Spirit, for it is written, “For with stammering lips and another tongue He will speak to this people” (Isaiah 28:11).
I like what Donald Gee, the famous British preacher, said about people who stutter one or two words in tongues when filled with the Holy Spirit for the first time. He compared this situation to a kettle whistling. When the water in a kettle begins to heat up, it occasionally emits a small whistle. But you don’t take the kettle off the heat when it starts to whistle. You leave it on the heat until it whistles long and loudly and releases a steady stream of steam. Only then do you pour hot water to make tea!
Likewise, if you’ve only spoken a few words in tongues, it’s important not to stop there. Keep speaking in tongues until a steady flow comes out of your mouth, and you enter into the fullness of God’s blessing!
This text is an excerpt from the book “The Power of Speaking in Tongues: Everything you want to know about Speaking in Tongues” written by Kenneth Erwin Hagin. We invite you to read the following article “The fruit of listening to the Holy Spirit“.