Don’t Quench the Spirit

What do you do when the word of God doesn’t line up with what you were taught growing up… or the opinion you have developed over time? Will you change your mind, or just ignore that verse for the rest of your life…

1 Thessalonians 5:19 – Do not quench the Spirit

I gave my life to Christ when I was a teenager in a Church of God {Pentecostal} church, and later went on to be a part of a Discipleship Program at a Non-Denominational {Pentecostal} church. Needless to say, I have heard the phrase “Do not quench the Spirit” more times than I can count. In the pentecostal persuasion of church life, it is typically said to describe the churches that don’t “flow in the Holy Spirit”. Churches that could be classified as this would be ones that decide how many songs to sing in advance, or how long the message will be, or what the flow of service will be in advance. If there are no deviations from these plans then obviously, this is a church that “quenches the Spirit”.

Right…?

Or is it wrong… Is it possible for the Holy Spirit to not be a procrastinator, and always change things last minute?

To be honest, the more I heard the phrase used, the more I began to question if it was even in the Bible, but alas there it is in 1 Thessalonians… However, in order to get a better understanding of this verse, let’s read it in context.

1 Thessalonians 5:15-24

15 Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always strive to do what is good for each other and for everyone else. 16 Rejoice always, 17 pray continually, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 19 Do not quench the Spirit. 20 Do not treat prophecies with contempt 21 but test them all; hold on to what is good, 22 reject every kind of evil. 23 May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 24 The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it.

While I read this verse, I can not help but notice how personal the instructions are. YOU rejoice always, YOU pray continually, YOU give thanks in all circumstances, YOU do not quench the spirit…

In the church, we often like to take verses and make them work for what we think, but I find it wise to discover what the verse is saying and make our thinking yield to the verse. It is easy to take a verse that is meant to be for our day to day life and apply it to our worship settings corporately. So where do these verses fit in a service format?

We can rejoice corporately, but I can not make someone else rejoice. We can pray corporately, but I can not make someone else pray. I can give thanks in all circumstances, but I can not make someone else give thanks. I can quench the Spirit in my own life, but I can not quench the Spirit in someone else’s life…

There are plenty of verses in the bible that give us instruction on what our corporate worship should look like, but I don’t believe this is one of them. I believe that this verse is meant to be for personal reflection. With that being said, here are a couple things to remember.

  1. Don’t quench the Spirit. In your own life, it is vitally important to be led by the Spirit. Let Him guide your thoughts and actions. Listen when he speaks. Live in the Fruit of the Spirit, and let the gifts of the spirit be evident in your life! Paul, while instructing the church at Corinth bragged about the fact that he speaks in tongues more than anyone, while at the same time putting a limitation on how often someone should speak in tongues in a service. Pray in tongues, seek wisdom and knowledge. Don’t treat prophecy with contempt. Test everything, hold onto what is good and reject evil.
  2. Whereas it is not necessary for the Holy Spirit to go “off script” in order for Him to move in a service, it is okay for Him to do so! If you find that during every service you are led by the Holy Spirit to go off script, then I would suggest spending more time with Him before the service to allow Him to write the “script” in the first place. On the other side, if the Holy Spirit never leads your services “off script,” I would suggest not to be so bound to the pre-made plan. Like in any good relationship, sometimes it is good to be spontaneous.
  3. Allow your life to be shaped by the bible, instead of allowing the Bible to be shaped by your life. The word of God is alive and speaks to us as we read it. We all have the ability to read the word and get fresh revelation for our lives. The danger is when we approach the word of God only to prove what we are already thinking… What do you do when the word of God doesn’t line up with what you were taught growing up… or the opinion you have developed over time? Will you change your mind, or just ignore that verse for the rest of your life…
  4. Finally, read the Bible in context! I can not stress it enough. Just because it sounds good on a greeting card, doesn’t mean that is where it is supposed to be.

Thanks for checking out my post. For more posts on Leadership, Christianity & Life, check out my full site at bobbyharrell.me

2 thoughts on “Don’t Quench the Spirit

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