Have you ever felt like you’ve been quenched in the Spirit? It can feel like a high-pressured hose spraying what is left of any potential fire hazard. It does its job well, but rather than feeling refreshed and relieved that the fire is out, you are left feeling weighed down and looking like a drowned rat. You’re water-logged and not feeling very good.
I was reading a book the other week by an author that I have heard of, but didn’t know extremely well. This book has some really good ideas and points, but it wasn’t long into this book where I realized that this Christian’s viewpoint was different from my own. This author didn’t believe that the miraculous gifts continued today — he is what is known as a cessationist.
Cessationism is the doctrine that spiritual gifts such as speaking in tongues, prophecy and healing ceased with the apostolic age (Wikipedia).
Even though the book had nothing to do with spiritual gifts, for some reason he wanted to address that point. As a result, in my Spirit, I felt quenched. I felt like, as I said above, a hose had doused the flames on my heart. I didn’t feel encouraged or inspired; rather, I felt discouraged and uninspired. And I had a hard time seeing the good that was in the book because I was focused on what he had taken away.
What You Believe About the Spirit
What you believe about the Holy Spirit can directly affect His role in your life and another person’s life…for good or bad. You can encourage or discourage the Spirit’s activity if you’re not careful. The Holy Spirit is a person, the third person of the Trinity, and even when you don’t think you’re quenching the Spirit, you can by your beliefs and actions. Fear, control, doubt can all have an impact of the Spirit’s work in your life and another person’s life.
Here is a sampling of 4 ways you can quench the Holy Spirit:
1. Not Expecting the Holy Spirit to Show Up
On the day of Pentecost in Acts 2, the disciples waited expectantly for something to happen while they were all together in one place. They didn’t know what exactly was going to occur, but suddenly the coming of the Holy Spirit came in power. Do you wait expectantly in church meetings and small groups for the Holy Spirit to show up in power? Is there even any room for spontaneity? What would happen if He did show up?
You can want the Spirit to be at work, but when push comes to shove, it’s hard to give up control and the uncertainty of what would happen. God does do strange things to confound the wise. It can be a stumbling block to the intellect when He chooses do things that cannot be explained. But when you don’t expect the appearance of the Holy Spirit, He is quenched.
2. People Don’t Allow for Prophecy
Starting in 1 Thessalonians 5:12, the Apostle Paul gave final instructions and benediction to the Church of Thessalonica, which included in 5:19-21, “Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise prophecies, but test everything; hold fast what is good.” Despising prophecies is quenching the Holy Spirit. You are to discern what is from the Lord and hold fast to it. If something is not right, you are to discard it. However, you are told never to despise prophecies because to do so will quench the Spirit. So don’t hold this gift in disdain.
3. Discouraging People from Using Their Spiritual Gifts
Has someone ever discouraged you from using your particular gifts? They may even believe in the continuation of the miraculous gifts, but they essentially don’t really want the messiness of the gifts and it’s easier just to prevent people from using them than embrace them.
The gifts that God has given you are to be used for the church. They are not for a person’s own personal use nor should people be discouraged from using them. When people discourage someone from using his or her gift, they are quenching the Holy Spirit. They are essentially saying that the gifts that God has bestowed on a person are not necessary for the church. They have put themselves in the place of God.
Not only can you discourage a gift in someone else’s life, you can also discourage and extinguish a gift in your own life. In 2 Tim. 1:6, the Apostle Paul told Timothy to fan the gift of God that he had let die out. Maybe you feel it hasn’t been necessary or you haven’t had the opportunity to use a particular gift. Whatever gift it is, you have the ability to quench or fan the flame. God, in His sovereignty, has chosen to give us that power as He wills. Don’t let a gift die out. Pray about opportunities to use your gift. Continue to fan the flame of the Spirit.
4. There is Unrepentant Sin
Sin quenches the Holy Spirit in a person’s life. If there is any sin that God has been convicting you of, turn away from that sin and turn towards God. Because when unrepentant sin continues, the Holy Spirit’s activity in your life begins to decrease. When the Spirit’s activity decreases, you’ve doused the flame of the Spirit’s power in your life. And your sensitivity to sin is skewed as the Spirit is quenched more and more.
In How to Pray for More Power from the Holy Spirit, your hope and strength does not come from yourself, it comes from your dependence on God. He empowers you through the Holy Spirit, but you are responsible to continue fanning that flame in yourself and to help empower other people to encourage the Spirit’s work in their lives.
So how can you help not only fan the flame in your own life, but encourage and empower other believers to step out in faith so they don’t quench the Spirit?
What are some other ways you can quench the Spirit?
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