I remember having to dig a large hole between our house and the road so that they could replace the water main that was supplying the house. The pipe was below the freeze line – at least 4 feet deep – and it needed to be exposed enough so they could complete the repair. It needed to be a big hole. I didn’t want to pay for the excavation so I agreed to do it myself. I told them I would have it ready so their crew could do the repair the next morning. I set up a light and worked late into the night. I was nearly finished when the hole caved in and nullified a good portion of my work. It was so demoralizing!
Have you ever felt like someone was working against you – cancelling out your work and making your life difficult? We can easily do that in regards to the Holy Spirit. The Spirit is at work. But sometimes we are nullifying his work. The fire of the Spirit is burning. But we are dousing the fire with water. Paul spoke plainly to the believers in Thessalonica – “Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise prophecies, but test everything; hold fast what is good.” (1 Thessalonians 5:19-21).
One of the ways that we quench the Spirit is by despising prophecies. Prophecy is the clear and effective proclamation of truth. The Spirit has gifted people in the church to speak truth to one another. When we reject that truth, we are nullifying the Spirit’s work. When we hear a sermon and we refuse to obey, we are dousing the Spirit’s fire. When someone challenges us with an area of sin and we turn a deaf ear, we are rejecting the voice of the Spirit.
We tend the think of the Spirit as bringing a gentle word of comfort or an insightful nudge of direction. But sometimes the Spirit comes to us with a word of confrontation. Sometimes the Spirit says what we don’t want to hear. But when truth is spoken to us, we need to see it for what it is the – the voice of the Holy Spirit.
Photo credit: http://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/195319