In the final chapter of 1 Thessalonians, Paul ends by listing some general principles for living a productive Christian life. And in the middle of these principles he says, “Do not quench the Spirit.” (1 Thessalonians 5:19)
The word “quench” could also be translated “stifle,” “suppress,” “extinguish,” or “go out.” So, in essence Paul is teaching that it is possible to live and to act in such a way that restricts or even shuts down the activity of the Holy Spirit in our life to the point He is no longer a fire in us but more like a flicker.
What can do that?
First, we can do things that “grieve” the Holy Spirit through living in an ungodly way (Ephesians 4:30). Where Paul mentions this to the church in Ephesus, he connects “grieving” the Holy Spirit to talking to people in a critical way (4:29) and to operating with rage or slander, and to harbouring bitterness (4:31). Second, we can neglect what He puts in our life. Paul said to his associate Timothy that he should keep fanning the flame of calling and gifting that God had given him through the Holy Spirit (2 Timothy 1:6-7). And finally, we can misuse what He gives us because we do not use these gifts in a humble, loving way that prefers one-another. In 1 Corinthians 12 and 13, Paul had to tell Christians who used gifts from the Holy Spirit to use them in a way that was honouring to the giver of the gifts.
So take some time today to see if you are “quenching” the Holy Spirit in your life and pray for God’s help to do the things that keep us fully aflame!