Neglect can quench the Spirit
Is the Holy Spirit burning brightly in your life? If not, the reason could be simple neglect.
On the Day of Pentecost, A.D. 31, the Holy Spirit of God was given to the New Testament Church. But the Church was warned that they could lose the Holy Spirit. Paul wrote, "Quench not the Spirit" (I Thessalonians 5:19). But in spite of the warning, many of them did eventually quench the Spirit, and a virtually impenetrable spiritual darkness settled over the world.
Could the same thing happen in our age? Can you quench the Spirit? Yes! An example from the Old Testament will illustrate.
Keep the fire burning One way to extinguish a fire is to rob it of fuel and let it burn itself out. According to the Old Testament law of burnt offerings, the priests were not to allow the fire of the altar to go out (Leviticus 6:12-13).
To keep the fire going, the priests had to be attentive. They had to put wood on it daily, and they had to make sure nothing happened to cause the fire to go out.
The same kind of constant attention and daily effort is required to keep the light of the Holy Spirit alive in your own heart and mind. A fire left to itself will eventually go out. And, true to human nature, Israel's priests did eventually fail in their duty, and the fire went out.
One of the surest ways to kill the Holy Spirit is through simple neglect. Neglect the Spirit, and it will first become dormant. It will eventually go out altogether. If you are to keep the Spirit alive and active, producing light like a fire, you must work at it, just as the priests had to work at keeping the fire burning on the altar.
The two most important keys to keeping the fire of the Holy Spirit a live are prayer and Bible study. Too often, many fail to put forth the constant effort in prayer and Bible study to grow spiritually.
Importance of prayer Why is prayer important to the maintenance of God's Spirit? It is in prayer that you develop the close personal relationship with God that makes His Spirit a power in your life. It is in prayer that you repent before God, and repentance is a prerequisite to having and maintaining the gift of God's Spirit (Proverbs 1:23; Psalms 51:2-3, 10-11).
It is in prayer that you labor for the physical and spiritual well-being of others. Paul spoke to the Colossians about Epaphras, who was "always labouring fervently for you in prayers, that ye may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God" (Colossians 4:12).
It is in prayer that you make supplication to God for those things you need, including His Spirit. In short , prayer is essential to your spiritual vitality. You cannot retain God's Spirit without it. Unless you pray, and pray often, you will quench God's Spirit.
Wholehearted, humble, faithful, frequent prayer will lead to God's Spirit burning brightly in your heart and mind.
Study and obey God's Word The second key to keeping the light of God's Spirit burning in your life is the study of His Word.
How well do you understand God's Word? How much time do you spend studying it? What attitude do you take toward study?
David said God desires truth in our inward parts (Psalm 51:6). The source of truth is God's Word (John 17:17). You should approach Bible study, then, as a seeker of truth. Jesus said that he who seeks shall find (Matthew 7:7-11).
Just two verses after Paul told us not to quench the Spirit, he wrote, "Prove all things; hold fast that which is good" (I Thessalonians 5:21). It doesn't take any effort to be deceived. It does take effort, however, to prove the truth.
You alone are ultimately responsible for your beliefs (Romans 14:12). God will have no one in His Kingdom who is not deeply convicted of His truth. We are chosen for salvation "through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth" (II Thessalonians 2:13).
God inspired the Scriptures, and through them He teaches us the way of salvation (II Timothy 3:14-17). The Word of God and God's Spirit are inseparably linked. Jesus Christ said, "The words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life" (John 6:63). God's Spirit abides in us to the extent that His Word abides in us and we obey it (John 14:23, Acts 5:32). God's Word will abide in you if you study it diligently every day (Acts 17:11).
There is danger in neglecting prayer and Bible study. They are vital to nurturing the Holy Spirit the only source of eternal life. "Neglect not the gift that is in thee," Paul warned (I Timothy 4:14). And, "Stir up the gift of God" (II Timothy 1:6).