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Don’t Quench the Spirit, II

Do not quench the Spirit. – 1 Thessalonians 5:19

There’s a side of quenching the Spirit that was not addressed in my first post. In that post, I primarily wrote on the corporate aspect of quenching the Spirit. When we gather together as the local church, how might we quench the Spirit? I think I at least began an answer to that question. But there’s more to say on this subject. There’s an individual aspect that every believer must walk through. We quench the Spirit far more often individually than we do corporately. In fact, the corporate quenching of the Spirit has invariably been preceded by many individuals quenching the Spirit in their personal lives.

There are at least three ways that we quench the Spirit as individuals.

  1. Disobedience
  2. Presumption
  3. Neglect


This is a rather broad way because disobedience covers a huge amount of territory. Anything from breaking one of the Ten Commandments, to bearing unforgiveness, to not speaking to that person the LORD urged you to speak with falls on the spectrum of disobedience. Disobedience in all forms will put out the fire of the Holy Spirit in your life. James sums it up well.

So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin. – James 4:17

You cannot expect to live a life that demonstrates the power of the Holy Spirit if you aren’t walking in obedience to the Word and the Spirit.


Disobedience is such a large umbrella that you could probably lump presumption and neglect beneath it. But I want to address them separately. First, presumption. It seems to manifest mainly in prayerlessness. You may be one of those who have lots of theology committed to memory and you can quote Scripture better than most. Intellect can be a stumbling stone to prayer. Because you’ve already synthesized a Scriptural answer, you don’t pray. Intellect isn’t bad, it’s just not sufficient. Even if you come up with a Biblical answer for your situation, asking, seeking, and knocking in prayer is still good because it’s time spent in conversation with the LORD.

The best Biblical example I can think of is how King David, a tested and tried military man, almost never presumed to know what to do before going to war. He almost always inquired of the LORD for direction. And the LORD almost always told him the same thing, except once.

And the Philistines came up yet again and spread out in the Valley of Rephaim. And when David inquired of the LORD, he said, “You shall not go up; go around to their rear, and come against them opposite the balsam trees. And when you hear the sound of marching in the tops of the balsam trees, then rouse yourself, for then the LORD has gone out before you to strike down the army of the Philistines.” And David did as the LORD commanded him, and struck down the Philistines from Geba to Gezer. – 2 Samuel 5:22-25

Had David presumed that he knew how the LORD would instruct him, he would’ve been wrong and experienced defeat. Always ask. Always seek. Always knock. Always check in and see what He says, even if you think you know what He’ll say. Presumption quenches the Holy Spirit in your life because you presume to know what He’s thinking.

How does that work out in any relationship? I won’t presume you know the answer. It works out badly.


This is different than the prayerlessness of presumption. It’s disregard. You understand that the Spirit is a Person, but you simply don’t cultivate a friendship with Him. Neglect is a failure to care for something or someone. When we don’t pursue the Holy Spirit as a Person, we’re neglecting a relationship. If the LORD is three-in-one, then a relationship with the LORD is built with three Persons.

And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. – Ephesians 4:30

Grieving the Holy Spirit reveals that He is personal. He can be grieved, therefore, it stands to reason that He can be made glad. All of that highlights this truth: we neglect Him by paying him no regard, no thought, no attention. Cultivate a friendship with the Holy Spirit. He is the One who works out the prayers and intercessions of Jesus in your life. He is the one who shares the heart of the Father with your heart. He is the Person of God who is always with you and resides within. Why wouldn’t we cultivate a friendship?

[I apologize if I say this too often in things I write regarding the Spirit. But I cannot help it. It’s a matter dear to my heart.]

Quenching the Spirit is apparently not hard. If it was hard to do, I don’t think Paul would’ve written us any warning. Guard your heart over this matter. Personal quenching leads to corporate quenching. There isn’t a church that quenches the Spirit where her leaders and members haven’t been doing it in their personal lives through disobedience, presumption, and neglect for much longer.

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Last modified: December 21, 2022