Ephesians 4:30 “And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.”
Many years ago as a young family man I was concerned for my children’s safety. A large number of yellow jacket hornets had been swarming around our house and so I ventured around the property to see if I could find a nest. Sure enough, the empty lot next door which had thistles and weeds growing everywhere contained a very large in-ground nest of very active hornets. I remembered hearing that you could burn them out so I proceeded to grab my can of gasoline and do just that (you can probably see where this is going). I decided that I would carefully sneak up on the nest, quickly pour the gas down the hole, light it and finish them off but as I was pouring the gas I decided that a little extra wouldn’t hurt. I lit a piece of paper, tossed it toward the hole and then proceeded to experience the small concussion as the gasoline quickly ignited the hole and all the weeds and thistles nearby. I soon realized I was about to burn down my neighbors fence, my fence, and a very large field that connected to the lot. Once I found that I couldn’t extinguish the fire with the black plastic I found nearby, I raced inside, grabbed the phone from my wife (who was having a very nice conversation with her friend) and called 911, I then employed by young son to man the hose and went to work saving as much as I could.
After extinguishing the fire (with the help of the local volunteer fire department), I turned to see my neighbors standing on the sidewalk watching the spectacle, they seemed pleased that I had burned the seed producing thistles. I had PTSD about starting fires for many years after that and realized I needed a little more advice before attempting anything like that again.
Starting fires isn’t difficult, putting them out takes some skill. Spiritually speaking, God starts the fire and has a purpose for doing just that.
Isaiah mentions how God uses the Spirit of fire to cleanse the land of unrighteousness.
Isaiah 4:4 “When the Lord has washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion, and purged the blood of Jerusalem from her midst, by the spirit of judgment and by the spirit of burning,”
The fire of the Lord has brought many people to their knees. Sodom and Gomorrah found out too late the purging effects of God’s fire. Moses stood before the burning bush as God spoke to him about His plans to rescue the children of Israel from Egyptian slavery and establish them as a nation. It was that fire that led the children of Israel through the desert at night and it was the fire of God upon the mountain that reminded the Israelites of God’s power. Elijah watched the fire of God fall upon the sacrifice before the prophets of Baal, licking up the sacrifice and the water surrounding the altar and fire was one of the elements that God used to remind Elijah of who He was as he hid in the cave. It is by fire that the Lord will one day judge the earth and likewise finish the old to begin the new.
Fire has been representative of God’s holiness and God’s judgement. When the Spirit of God fell upon the disciples in the upper room, it appeared as fire upon their heads and yet the tongue is likened to a fire when it is out of control.
You would never think you could put the fire of God out, but we see a brief warning from Paul that implies the contrary.
1 Thessalonians 5:19 "Do not quench the Spirit."
What does the Spirit bring?
- God’s abiding presence
When we quench the Spirit in our lives, we quench the work that He is doing in us, we essentially remove ourselves from the blessing the Spirit of God brings in our lives each and every moment.
How do we quench the Spirit? We are given a clue in Ephesians…
Ephesians 4:31-32 “Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.”
When we exhibit these qualities, we are essentially pouring water on the fire of God’s Spirit in our lives. Sin inhibits the work of the Spirit. To sin is to break God’s moral law and is the doorway to rebellion toward God’s righteous mandate we have been called to live by.
When the Spirit of God is quenched in our lives, we find that our testimony is ineffective, we cannot hear or see God’s direction nor do we represent His holiness.
Everything the Spirit of God represents, every good and perfect gift He gives, every manifestation of His presence is offended when we go our own way….and yet we see Jesus with the basin and the towel, ready to wash our feet.
John 13:3-5 “Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He had come from God and was going to God, rose from supper and laid aside His garments, took a towel and girded Himself. After that, He poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded.”
Reigniting the Fire
The hope that Jesus reignites is made possible by the manifestation of His grace. He lowered Himself before us that we might see what true strength looks like, when God’s glorious love appeared and we were at our lowest.
The fire of God’s Spirit burns hot in the hearts of the humble. It’s not easy having someone you look up to assume a position of a servant.
Jesus lead the way, all we must do is follow.
The Spirit of God is tied directly to Jesus.
John 20:21-22 “So Jesus said to them again, “Peace to you! As the Father has sent Me, I also send you.” And when He had said this, He breathed on them, and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit.”
We have access to the Holy Spirit by way of the cross. Jesus brought grace through His awesome sacrifice and now we have access to God by way of His Spirit.
It is the Holy Spirit that supplies the power necessary to walk in Christ. The Spirit of God is the very signature of God that seals the life of a true believer and effectively substantiates their position in His Kingdom.
Romans 8:9 “But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His.”
Do you want to walk in the power of God?
You can’t mimic it, it has to be real or He will not leave in the wake His blessing.
2 Corinthians 3:17-18 “Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.”
The more you walk in Him, the more you recognize the Lord in others. Your affiliation with the Spirit of God brings discernment and wisdom. Every believer that has ever done anything worthwhile, has done it by submitting to the Spirit’s lead in their life.
Walk in the Spirit and you will walk in power.