Walking with the Spirit
Walking with the Spirit
Words of Faith 4-8-19
Dr. Jeffrey D. Hoy © 2019
Faith Fellowship Church - Melbourne, FL
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1 Thessalonians 5
 Do not put out the Spirit's fire;
Paul has dealt with several issues concerning individual responsibility in personal behavior. Now, he turns to several matters that seem more to concern the assembly of believers, but these matters are still very personal. The Thessalonian believers were responsible for their individual part in the assembly.
This is the first of five commands that come as a group in almost staccato fashion. In Greek, verses 19-22 are part of one continuous statement containing two negative directives and three positive. This first directive is related to those that follow.
Paul's warned to be careful not to quench the fire of the Holy Spirit. We should hear this in a personal way even though the application will be corporate. Do not put out the Spirit's fire. This seems to be an odd phrase in one sense because one cannot imagine actually "dousing God," yet, we know that the Spirit is the person of the Trinity who operates at our invitation and in relation to our surrender to Him. The Holy Spirit works within us in opposition to our flesh. He is the person of the triune presence of God to whom our flesh must accede as we are more and more fashioned into the image of Christ. We also know that the Spirit of God can be doused by the restraint and monotony of ritual and religion.
Who is Paul talking about? The Spirit is that person of God who burns intensely both to purify and empower. The Bible frequently likens the Holy Spirit to a flame. Isaiah prophesied that the Lord will cleanse the bloodstains from Jerusalem by a spirit of judgment and a spirit of fire (4:4). John, the forerunner of Jesus, announced that Messiah would come to baptize with the Holy Spirit and with fire (Matthew 3:11). On the day of Pentecost, "they saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them" as they were all filled with the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:3-4). The Holy Spirit warms the heart, enlightens the mind, and empowers people's spirits.
Paul warned against hindering the effective working of the Holy Spirit in our private lives and in the assembly of believers. The fire of the Spirit can be diminished or, in a sense, even snuffed out among us if He is resisted. How is this? There are many ways. The Holy Spirit's working can be opposed by believers. This was what Paul was warning against. As individuals, we must be careful to listen and learn the guiding voice of the Spirit in our lives. We do this through obedience to that voice. We start in simple ways listening to the Word of God at the direction of the Spirit and to the leading of the Spirit in life situations. As we are obedient in smaller matters, we are entrusted with direction in more significant areas of life.
The opposite is also true. Each time we resist or disobey the voice of the Spirit we quench our ability to hear Him a little bit more. We douse His power and fervor in our hearts and lives. This is what Paul was warning against.
The question of the day for us may vary greatly depending on where you are in your journey with God. Are you listening to the leading of the Spirit? Are you seeking to obey Him more and more each day? Have you quenched the Spirit out of selfishness or rebellion? Have you simply "done what you wanted" in a particular situation in spite of the direction of the Spirit to go in another way? These are quenching actions of our flesh against the Spirit. The first step on our continued journey with God, no matter where we are, is to surrender once again to His voice in our lives.
Have you been hearing from the Spirit of God, yet been hesitant to respond? Is the leading scriptural? Is there wise guidance from others? Perhaps it is time to step out of the proverbial "comfort zone" and walk a little deeper with Him.
Father God, I am listening. Forgive me for the times I have resisted Your call in my life. Help me to hear You clearly in the small matters of my day so that I may joyfully walk with You and delight in Your plan. Lead me to the places of greater obedience. In Jesus' name.