Quenching the Spirit – Part 2


Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise prophecies, but test everything; hold fast what is good. Abstain from every form of evil.” (1 Thessalonians 5:16–22, ESV)

In what ways might we quench the Spirit of God?

First, what does it mean to quench the Spirit? The Theological Dictionary of the NT, Abridged says this:

This word means “to quench,” passive “to go out”; b. “to suck dry” (“dry up”); c. “to die”; d. “to steam”; and e. in a transferred sense “to still,” “damp down,” “restrain,” or intransitively “to rest,” “abate,” “die down.”[2]…In the LXX (some 45 times) the term is used literally for the quenching of fire or burning objects, figuratively for light or lamps going out, and in a transferred sense for the extinguishing of anger or stilling of emotions…the admonition not to quench the Spirit has reference to the restraint of his manifestations in charisms[3]

Jesus had some teaching that could reveal some light on this subject…

“You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet. “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:13–16, ESV)

Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you. And when he comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment: concerning sin, because they do not believe in me; concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father, and you will see me no longer; concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged. “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you. All that the Father has is mine; therefore I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you.” (John 16:7–15, ESV)

The Spirit is often described as light and that light shines in the dark places to reveal and convict the world of sin. Today I have heard many preachers redefine our sins to make them more palatable. We can’t redefine what God has called sin, we are then dimming or quenching the light of the Spirit when we don’t stand for the principles that God has given us in His word.

Many of the songs we hear in the Christian music industry seems to focus on me or us. But the Spirit always exalts Christ and points us towards Christ. I have noticed that when we sing songs that exalt the Lord or the Father the worship just seems so much better. J.I. Packer said it well

“…think of it this way. It is as if the Spirit stands behind us, throwing light over our shoulder on to Jesus who stands facing us. The Spirit’s message to us is never, ‘Look at me; listen to me; come to me; get to know me,’ but always, ‘Look at him, and see his glory; listen to him and hear his word; go to him and have life; get to know him and taste his gift of joy and peace.”

When we put our focus on ourselves and not on Christ then we quench the light that the Spirit can give through our lives to others. We must remember the commands of our Lord – Love others and Love God!

Where is your focus this day, in a world with so much uncertainty?

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