As children of God, we received the Holy Spirit to guide us and connect us with our Father. A fire is often used as a visual illustration of the power of the Holy Spirit (see Acts 2). But, as we all know, fires – even the biggest wildfires – can be extinguished.
“Do not quench the Spirit,” wrote Apostle Paul in 1 Thessalonians 5:19. Translated from Greek, this world literally means to extinguish. So, how does one quench the Holy Spirit? Well, a fire can be put out by taking away fuel, putting a great deal of earth on it or drenching it in water.
You can probably see where this is going. You take away fuel from the power of the Holy Spirit when you don’t get enough of the Word and time spent in the Lord’s presence. You cover the fire with soil when you are burdened down by the cares and concerns of this world – when you start wanting to look like the world or when the struggle of life causes you anxiety, stress and too many sleepless nights. As for the water? I think it can be a lot of different things: it could be a smattering of false doctrines that slowly douse your faith or it could be a bucket of harsh reality, like losing a loved one or experiencing a trauma that makes you want to forever turn your back on God.
Finally, like any fire, if it’s not regularly tended to, it eventually dies out. As Matthew Henry writes, “Believers often hinder their growth in grace, by not giving themselves up to the spiritual affections raised in their hearts by the Holy Spirt.” We read about the fruits of the Spirit in Galatians 5, and this speaks towards the times we felt the prompting to do a good deed, to say no to a bad decision/habit, to be gentle with a hurting soul instead of lashing out, to choose joy, to hold your peace, to remain faithful in a situation when your beliefs were tested…but you silenced the voice within. We’ve all had those moments. We listened to many of those promptings, others we ignored. Some sparked the flames of our hearts, while the latter doused the fire a tiny bit.
Tend to the fire of your soul, darling. Your vey survival depends on it.