“Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, ‘This is the way; walk in it'” (Isaiah 30:21).
In the middle of summer, it is difficult to resist the appeal of a soft drink commercial on television. No matter what brand it is, the beverage maker promises that drinking an ice-cold glass of his soda will quench our summer thirst. We all know that a cold drink on a hot day will not make our thirst disappear forever but will in fact suppress it for the moment.
The common English usage of the word quench might confuse us when we read Scripture warning us not to quench the Spirit of God. The Greek word that is translated as “quench” means “to extinguish.” This word has a stronger meaning than “temporary suppression.” It means “to extinguish, snuff out, or put an end to.” A modern English translation says, “Don’t put out the Spirit’s fire” (1 Thessalonians 5:19, GW). The same word can be used to describe the snuffing out of a candle.
This does not mean that we can permanently remove the Holy Spirit from our lives. The Spirit is indestructible in His Person and inextinguishable in His strength. Rather, quenching the Spirit means we can resist something the Holy Spirit wants to do in us or through us. It is refusing to follow His leading, ignoring His warnings, and charging ahead to do things our way and in our own timing.
We all come to crossroads where we have the opportunity to yield to the Holy Spirit or to quench the Spirit’s work. We may sense that we are to serve in some way, to give money to meet a need, or to change a destructive habit. To quench the Spirit is to say no to the Lord in these moments and to choose instead to pursue our own personal goals. Just as it is possible to disobey God even when His will for us is abundantly clear, it is also possible for us to live in such a way that the Holy Spirit withholds His power from our lives.
Have you lost the power of God by putting out the Holy Spirit’s fire? Today you can repent and ask God to forgive you. Then, commit your day to Him. Ask God to help you obey the gentle voice of the Holy Spirit. Ask Him to renew His power and work within you.
Prayer: Father, I know that You tell us in Your Word to not grieve the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 4:30). Today I ask You to guide me as You have promised. Help me today to obey the voice of Your Spirit. I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.