Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Quenching the Spirit

“Do not quench the Spirit.”
1 Thessalonians 5:19

Jesus baptizes us with the Holy Spirit and with fire.  Let us never quench the Holy Spirit’s fire!  There are several ways that we can do this.  We quench the Spirit when we put out his graces.  The Spirit seeks to produce fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.  He breathes his holy fire by means of the Word of God.  He causes us to put sin to death and offer our bodies as instruments of righteousness.  Whenever we leave unattended the fire of our sanctification because it calls for too much stoking or whenever we snuff out the embers of holiness because we fear the cracklings of repentance, we quench the Spirit’s graces.  We can also quench the Spirit by snuffing out his gifts.  The Holy Spirit has given every Christian a gift for the common good.  Although all Christians possess spiritual gifts, many Christians never use their gifts for the edification of the body of Christ.  This happens because Christians are timid or lazy or selfish or uninformed or for some other reason.  Yet we are called to use our gifts.  Our lives burst into holy flames when we are active in the service of King Jesus.  May we not allow the holy fire of Christian service burn out in our lives!  If the Spirit has given us the gift of generosity, let us share this gift with others in the body.  If the Spirit has given us the gift of hospitality, let us invite one another into our homes and enjoy Christian fellowship.  If the Spirit has given us the gift of faith, let us pray for one another and encourage one another in our walk with the Lord.  Do not bury your talents beneath the earth only to find your Master disappointed for your lack of investment!  Employ your gifts in the service of Jesus and for the good of his Church!  We can also quench the Spirit by putting out his guidance.  The Spirit of God leads the sons and daughters of God.  We know that revelation has ceased and that the canon of Scripture is closed.  We are not deluded into thinking that God is still revealing new truth to his people.  The ancient paths are sufficient for us.  Nevertheless, let us not suppose that our God is no longer communicating with us by way of illumination and guidance.  Revelation is complete; guidance continues.  The Spirit of God will remind us of the truths of Scripture at just the right time.  He will prompt us to apply a promise or to obey a commandment in a specific situation.  He will lay another person and his needs on our heart.  He gives us holy impressions that are always within the confines of the Holy Scriptures but enable us to understand and apply those truths to our everyday lives.  When we sense the leading of the Spirit to obey some commandment of God in a particular way, let us not snuff out the burning within us.  This is not the mysticism of seeking visions and dreams and extraordinary experiences.  This is nothing more than sensitivity to the working of God within you.  The working of God within you is the work of the Holy Spirit.  Have you not had moments where you had an idea for obedience that seemed to descend upon you straight from Heaven?  You may have had a sudden desire to talk to a family member about Jesus.  You may have felt the need to give a little more money to the work of the kingdom.  You may have sensed that something needs to change in your devotional life.  Perhaps you find that you need to spend more time reading the Word or more time praying.  All these matters are subject to the Spirit’s guidance and direction.   Mark well that he never works independently of the Bible, but he takes the living Word and makes it a living reality in our daily walks with God.  God is not giving new revelation, but he is still speaking through his previously given revelation.  He is still communicative.  The Good Shepherd still leads his sheep.  His sheep still hear his voice and follow him.  So let us covenant together to stop putting out the Spirit’s fire!  May we not leave the flickering embers of holiness unattended!  Let us use our gifts!    Let us stay sensitive to the leading of the Spirit!  Let us seek to be filled with the Spirit!  May the Spirit of the living God descend upon us and purify us with his holy fire and fit us for his holy service!

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