Quench not the Spirit. 1 Thessalonians 5:19
Today we often think of the word ‘quench’ as meaning to satisfy a thirst. Throughout the bible it means to extinguish a flame or fire, to put out a lamp or light, or to suppress the truth.
Jesus promised the gift of His Spirit to be our comforter, helper and guide. When we receive the Holy Spirit, we are empowered to be His witnesses (Acts 1:8), to live a life that testifies to the whole world that Jesus is indeed Lord and Savior. This same power equips us to live victorious lives (Romans 8:37). To remain in Christ is to remain in His Spirit. And yet, in the context of how we should remain focused and alert in troubled times comes this warning: Quench not the Spirit.
Ephesians 4:30 warns: Do not grieve the Holy Spirit. Quenching and grieving the Spirit are inexplicably intertwined. We quench the Spirit and the Spirit grieves. We quench and grieve the Holy Spirit both when we are fixated only on what the Spirit does for us personally and also when we ignore the Spirit. John MacArthur points out that when we sensationalize the Spirit’s power in us we “reduce the Holy Spirit to some sort of divine genie, who does only things that are seen, felt or heard.” Ignoring the spiritual power within us, we quench the true sanctifying work of the Spirit.
We also quench the Spirit by ignoring Him. Turning away from the Spirit’s power to transform and sanctify our lives, we substitute other false helps for the authentic power that God alone offers. MacArthur continues: “They substitute human wisdom…as the path to solving spiritual problems. They reject the only true power, the only genuine problem solver, the Holy Spirit, who alone can heal the sins of our lives, and make us holy.”
Perhaps the trap we face is not so much that we seek out the help of others, but that we do so to the abandonment of God’s all-sufficient Spirit in us. If all our woes can be solved by therapists, educators, and scientists, do we really need the Spirit of the Living God?
We quench the Spirit of God when we listen to everyone except Him. We douse the flame of God that burns within us and extinguish His power. Paul asks in Galatians 3:3 if we are so foolish as to having begun in the Spirit, to finish with our own efforts to become ‘better’! Do we think that the powerful Spirit of God who convicted us of sin and led us to repentance cannot also be trusted with the rest of our lives?
When we abandon our only source of real hope, we incapacitate our ability to live well, free despite our circumstances. We invite devastation upon our lives and quench the Holy Spirit’s power in us. Instead, let’s ask to be filled daily with the Spirit’s power to live a life of testimony to the world that the our hope is in Jesus alone.