Don’t Extinguish The Spirit’s Flame

flame 1

“And do not quench the Spirit.” 1 Thess 5:19

I awoke yesterday with this verse fresh in my mind. Seems to be a simple enough directive from the Lord, and certainly not out of reach.

The meaning is not obscure; “Do not extinguish the Spirit’s flame” would be the obvious rendering. Hebrews 12 describes the Lord as “a consuming fire.”, and Hebrews 1:7 says that He makes His ministers “a flame of fire”.

It stands to reason that if the Holy Spirit is represented by fire in Acts 2:3, and that “our God is a consuming fire”, if we are being conformed into His image and He makes us “a flame of fire” – then it would be unwise for us to do anything that hinders His work in and through us.

But, how many ways can we quench or stifle the Holy Spirit? Myriad. The works of the flesh are many according to the list Paul enumerates in Galatians 5, and the ways in which we can sin and grieve the Spirit of Grace are countless.

How many things do we do or say that we shouldn’t have? How many things have we not said or done that we should have? We all know experientially how easily we fall short in so many areas.

So how do we develop consistency in living at peace with God? With regard to our sanctification, is there any sense in which participation and cooperation are required on our part? And if not, what practical reason would there be for Jesus to state that it was necessary for Him to leave us so that He could send the Comforter, even the Spirit of truth, who would guide us into all truth?

If God The Spirit does not empower us to live in obedience to Him,  to aid us when we are tempted, what then  is the alternate purpose for which He was sent?

Is there no such thing as practical, experiential righteousness? – or is “positional” righteousness that has no bearing on how we live all that we can hope for? In other words, we are free from sin only in some theoretical, theological sense, but not in any real or actual sense. Not in reality.

The truth with regard to sanctification is this: Positional righteousness that has been appropriated by the one who has trusted Christ for salvation always results in experiential righteousness. If the imputed righteousness has been truly received, it will result in a life that is lived in a way that is incongruous with sin.

Well, I know that there are many who do believe otherwise, but I’m not one of them. I believe that when Paul says that even though we were once slaves of sin, having been set free from sin, we became slaves of righteousness, I think he actually meant it. I know he meant it.

Not exempt, but no longer subject to its power of influence in any sustained way. If the life does not reflect in conduct the holiness that the position “in Christ” produces, then the “position” was never realized to begin with. Let’s face it: – any of us can fall back into the grip of sin if we yield ourselves to it, but if, since our “conversion” there has been no actual separation from sin in an ongoing way, then according to God’s word, we are in trouble.Don’t be deceived, there has been no conversion.

There are many directions I could take here on this topic; but for now I will focus on one particular facet. There are things that we need to hear, and there are things we need to become deaf to.

“Cease, my son, to hear the instruction that causes to go astray from the words of knowledge.”

Proverbs 19:27

Fact is, we are receiving instruction from one source or another. Proverbs 1 says the one is blessed who does not stand in the counsel of the ungodly. Does it mean that his ears have stopped working or ceased to function properly? No, not physically.

When Jesus said, “Having eyes they do not see, and having ears they do not hear” He was not speaking of physical inability, but of spiritual. There are voices that we need to be deaf to – that we cease to give any attention or consideration to.

In Mark 4:24 Jesus warns: “Take heed to what you hear.”  Today, are we welcoming teaching that gives us “grace” to sin? Are we resisting teaching that requires a life of holiness to live in communion with a holy God? Titus 2:11-15 tells us that “the grace of God that  brings (results in) salvation has appeared to all men; teaching us that denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age…” .

We can’t afford to be deceived on this point.

And again, “Let him who has ears to hear, hear what the Spirit is saying…”  The clear implication being that not all have the ability to hear. (There is a whole teaching on “selective hearing” that I won’t divert to at this time…).

Paul said we are to consider ourselves “dead indeed unto sin, but alive with regard to righteousness.”, describing in yet another way what it means to “walk in the Spirit”. If we will do so, we will not fulfill the lust of the flesh (Quench the Spirit).

Translation: If we are native-born to the Spirit, we will naturally attune our ears to the Spirit’s voice, and “after another we will not go.” As we abide in Him, we will not extinguish the Spirit’s flame.

Prayer:

Holy One, please forgive all the times I have turned a deaf ear to Your Spirit, and grieved You away by my indifference to Your loving-kindness. Give me renewed faith and grace to walk in step with You today and everyday; forgetting those things that are behind, and pressing on toward the mark of the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

Set my heart ablaze with the fire of Your presence, that I will represent You well and embody the life that You died to produce in me.

Help me from this day forward never to receive Your grace in vain lest I should promote in others the idea that there is something more than suffering on the cross that You need to do to set me (us) free from sin.

Restore to me the joy of Your salvation that others will know and believe that You are with Me.

Empower me to live each day only as a mirror to reflect Your radiance, that those who dwell in this present darkness will truly know and believe that You are the Light of the world. Amen.

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2 Responses to “Don’t Extinguish The Spirit’s Flame”

  1. Mary R Hare Says:

    This was awesome Stephen!! Thank you.:-)

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