Being baptized by the Holy Spirit is shown by the fruits in the life of the believer. The Bible says, “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance” (Galatians 5:22, 23). As the Christian abides in Christ daily by prayer, study of the scriptures and witnessing, God will fill him with His Spirit and the fruits and gifts of the Spirit will be manifested in his life and will be evident to all.
But sadly, some preachers would have us believe that the sign of being baptized with the Spirit is the gift of tongues or that every person who is filled with the Holy Spirit must speak in tongues. Yet, out of more than 50 examples in the Bible where God filled His people with the Spirit, only three times is the gift of tongues connected with the experience.
All the gifts of the Spirit, including the true gift of tongues (real language), are certainly needed and available to the church today. But the Scriptures teach that some of the gifts are more important than others and that we should focus on the most important ones “But covet earnestly the best gifts” (1 Corinthians 12:31). And Paul adds, “Greater is he that prophesieth than he that speaketh with tongues” (1 Corinthians 14:5).
The Bible lists the spiritual gifts, and the gift of tongues is found at end of the list “And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues” (1 Corinthians 12:28). Paul shows what is more important, “Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal” (1 Corinthians 13:1). The emphasis here should be on the fruits of the Spirit and love not on only speaking in tongues.
Some teachers made the gift of tongues the primary focus of their preaching. But Paul makes it clear that different gifts are given to different people, and no one is expected to have all the gifts. Further, these gift are given as the Spirit wills not as people will (1 Corinthians 12:11). The apostle Paul asks in 1 Corinthians 12:29, 30: “Are all apostles? are all prophets? are all teachers? are all workers of miracles? Have all the gifts of healing? do all speak with tongues? do all interpret?” The answer is obviously NO!
Jesus is our example. He was filled with the Holy Spirit, yet He never spoke in tongues. Also, John the Baptist was “filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother’s womb” (Luke 1:15), but he never spoke in tongues either.
So, how can we know that we are baptized by the Holy Spirit? We can know by the evidence of the fruits of the Spirit and the manifestation of spiritual gifts in our lives.
In His service,