There is the old story of a church that caught on fire, and everyone was rushing to the church to help put the fire out, even the town atheist.
The pastor said to him, “I have never seen you at church before.”
The atheist replied, ‘”I have never seen the church on fire before.”
John Wesley said, “Catch on fire with enthusiasm and people will come for miles to watch you burn.”
In 1 Thess. 5:19, Paul states, “Do not quench the Spirit.”
The word quench means: “to extinguish the power of someone or something.”
The phrase is in the present tense and literally is:
stop extinguishing the power of the Holy Spirit.
The Bible likens the Holy Spirit to fire (Matt. 3:11, Rev. 4:5).
We are not to extinguish the Spirit’s work within us or among us as you would a fire.
Here are some specific ways we can quench the Holy Spirit:
- not allowing Him to teach us the Word, Col. 3:16. He is quenched when we fail to study, apply, hide it in our heart, and let it dwell richly in us.
- not allowing Him to bring us into intimacy with Christ, Phil. 3:10. He is quenched when we do not accept His purpose in life’s problems, by not praying and worshiping Him, not casting our anxieties on Him, and not trusting in His love.
- not allowing Him to guide us to know and do God’s will, Eph. 5:17. He is quenched by our self-will, pride, indifference, or insensitivity to His will.
- not allowing Him to give us the assurance of our salvation through His Word, 1 Jn. 5:13. He is quenched when we believe our emotions and not His teaching from the Word, 1 Jn. 3:19-21.
- not allowing Him to empower us, so we can have victory over sin, Eph. 3:16, 1 Peter 4:11. He is quenched when we trust in our own strength or human abilities, Rom. 8:12-13, Gal. 3:3.
- not allowing Him to make us more and more like Christ, 2 Cor. 3:18. He is quenched when we read and studying the Bible for information rather than to see Christ so we can be like Him, James 1:22-25.
A park ranger at Yellowstone National Park was leading a group of hikers to a fire lookout.
The ranger was so intent on telling the hikers about the flowers and animals that he considered the messages on his two-way radio distracting, so he switched it off.
As the group neared the tower, the ranger was met by a nearly breathless colleague, who asked why he hadn’t responded to the messages on his radio.
A grizzly bear had been seen stalking the group, and the authorities were trying to warn them of the danger.
Any time we tune out the Holy Spirit, we quench what He wants to in and through us.
May we not quench His fire!
Pastor Ken Keeler, Director of Church Ministries