Friday, March 12, 2021

Quench or Grieve the Holy Spirit

The Holy Spirit is the power and wisdom of God in us that gives life and knowledge, counsel, comfort and conviction. Without the Holy Spirit we are nothing as John 15:5 tells us. God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life”  (1 John 5:11-12).  This is John’s testimony about Jesus Christ and His gift to those who will receive. I hope that you have and are filled with the Holy Spirit? We are baptized or given the Spirit once upon our salvation, but we are filled many times. We need to ask for the filling as Ephesians 5:18 states and let Him, the Spirit work. We do this by getting rid of worldly or carnal living and living in the Spirit power not our own. You know that there are many sins, but only one unforgivable sin. The only sin that causes you not to be forgiven is not receiving the Holy Spirit; but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven; they are guilty of an eternal sin” (Mark 3:29).  I suspect you wondered what “blaspheming” means? The Second Commandment of God is, “Thou shall not take (use) the name of the Lord in vain (blaspheme)” (Exodus 20). What does that mean? It means living in such a way that you blaspheme or reject God and His Holy Spirit, the only unforgiveable sin. And yes, believers can live this way too, but usually this with a hardened heart.  

But as believers we can live in ways that do even more damage by quenching or grieving the Holy Spirit. Ephesians 4:30 says, “And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed (owned) for the day of redemption.”  God has entrusted us with and made a down payment until the Day of The Lord’s return. Are you resisting or submitting? Or have you rejected the Spirit out of pride or fear or ignorance? Are you living a dark life of sin and carnality? You can do this as a so-called Christian. You can fall back into old or find new ways to “quench” the Spirit of God and lose your filling. Is it in working out to excess or a pornography obsession? Are you distracted by work, alcohol, anything that you are doing on your own? Are you achieving great things at work, pulling off mergers and awesome contract negotiations? You see we don’t do anything on our own; we are not “self-made” people. God is in all and through all by the Holy Spirit, unless we quench Him.

Quenching is putting out the fire or freshness or vitality of the Holy Spirit. It is the opposite of confessing, yielding, embracing and seeking the filling of the Spirit. The Holy Spirit will convince us and then convict us of our hardened or un-yielded spirit. You see if we have the Holy Spirit living within us we “we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us” (2 Corinthians 4:6). This is dynamite power from God; this is the Holy Spirit. Paul tells us about this light of God in us. He goes on in the passage to tell us how “we carry around in our body” this power that is being revealed and continually being refreshed so that we are not crushed, in despair or abandoned. It required the death of Christ to reveal the life of Christ through His Holy Spirit in us if we believe.

So why would we ever want to put out or dampen this fire from within? Our carnal nature and Satan want us to do it. But God is here for us to rekindle the Spirit again and again.  D.L. Moody called it Secret Power. This is a power I have seen work in me miraculously in healings of body, mind and spirit.  Jim Cymbala, author of Fresh Power, writes that the power seems to have vacated the modern church, given over to human machinations. The church of the Book of Acts was empowered with the fresh and first filling of power falling on the disciples in the upper room. It was this fire that started the revival and each successive one in history. I have coined a phrase of “pasta preaching.” This is a preaching that might give a starchy boost, but no substance, protein or staying power. The Spirit is the wind in our sails, the engine in our cars. Try putting sugar or even ethanol in your tank. It will run for a while and then sputter and quit. Then it needs to be flushed out to be able to start up again. This metaphor of sugar goes for our lives as well. Sugar is a momentary high that will cause heart and brain damage over time. We stuff it in our children to shut them up. But it is toxic to health. The world is poison too.

When Pentecost came they were filled. The Spirit came with power of a violent wind or tongues of fire. That is how He works in us if we will receive and submit to Him. I think of a lightening bolt crashing down from heaven. It destroys, but with it comes electrical power. A single bolt has 500 trillion watts of power, more than the energy in 150 liters of petroleum. Harnessing or harvesting this energy is very difficult. We can do so by submitting and praying to receive it, as “His power is made perfect in our weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9). For Elijah it was standing on a cliff before God when he was not in the wind and fire but in the still small voice. Yes, God’s whisper is stronger than anything man has to offer. That’s why it is easy to miss and easier to quench.

Changing our lifestyle is required to hear and know the Holy Spirit. I believe it is in the silence, solitude, simplicity and surrender of all to God that we find the guidance of the Holy Spirit. In Chuck Swindoll’s Intimacy with The Almighty, he shows us the life of total submission and great simplicity in a frenzied world that is required to find the peace and quiet necessary to hear the Holy Spirit.  It is not in a monk’s removal from society, but in the middle of life’s chaos that He works. It is our driven life that leaves God out in the cold. He will not barge in, except to knock us off the tracks if we are fortunate. Yes, not lucky, but blessed to have God mess with our life in a painful way, the “Most excellent way” (1 Corinthians 12:31).  This is a way of love and of suffering. It is in our own and Christ’s suffering that we find the Holy Spirit working. This is not serendipity, which is chance or luck. There are not coincidences in God’s economy; there is only intentionality. We need to seek after God, submit and live the life He directs us to live through His Holy Spirit. As Bible teacher Henry Blackaby wrote in Experiencing God, the Holy Spirit reveals God’s will for us through prayer, His word, other godly people and circumstances. We need to be listening and watching; God is working, don’t quench Him out.  

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Thanks for sharing your thoughts.