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12 May 2017

Quench Not the Spirit

In his first letter to the Thessalonian saints, Paul gives them instructions, including these verses:

Rejoice evermore.
Pray without ceasing.
In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.
Quench not the Spirit
Despise not prophesyings. 
Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.
-1 Thessalonians 5:16-21

I don't think that I've noticed anyone talking about not "quenching" the Spirit, but it makes sense: we compare the Spirit to a flame. In the ancient temple, the smoke from alter represented the Holy Spirit, burning away the sins of the people, represented by the sacrifices they brought. The candlestick that burned constantly in the Holy Place also represented the Holy Ghost -- to quench the candle put out the light that allowed them to see while they were in the Tabernacle. To quench the fire of the alter meant that the sacrifice was not burned away. Quenching the Spirit in our lives has serious consequences.

The interesting thing about this analogy of the Spirit to a fire is that the only thing we need to do for a fire to go out is... nothing. If you don't feed a fire, it slowly dies. To keep the Spirit's influence bright in our life, we need to be constantly doing the things that invite it, or it will dwindle and fade away. One of the best ways to invite the Spirit is to study the scriptures then act on their teachings. 

When our study efforts expand, so will the influence of the Holy Ghost in our lives increase. Let us search the scriptures with pen in hand, making note of new insights and recording spiritual promptings. Thereafter, let us strive to apply what has been learned to our personal lives. The Spirit will quicken our inner selves; new understanding will come precept upon precept.
-Keith K. Hilbig, Quench Not the Spirit Which Quickens the Inner Man 

There is always a huge emphasis on scripture study in the counsel we receive, and April Conference was no exception; I felt like my notes were "read your scriptures, read your scriptures, be nice, read your scriptures..." and I think it can be easy to think of that as an end unto itself, when perhaps it's more like a gateway to additional blessings, including having our nagging concerns eventually resolve, and having greater access to the Holy Ghost in our lives --and with it, greater certainty in our lives.

“The Spirit of God speaking to the spirit of man has power to impart truth. … Through the Holy Ghost the truth is woven into the very fibre and sinews of the body so that it cannot be forgotten.”
-Elder Joseph Fielding Smith, quoted by Douglas L. Callister, Seeking the Spirit of God

1 comment:

Anne Chovies said...

I like this one. It reminded me of something I came across a few years ago. Elder Bruce R McConkie said once, “We should seek to get in tune with the Holy Spirit and to gain a witness, not solely of the truth and divinity of the work in which we are engaged but also of the doctrines that are taught by those who preach to us. We come into these congregations, and sometimes a speaker brings a jug of living water that has in it many gallons. And when he pours it out on the congregation, all the members have brought is a single cup and so that’s all they take away. Or maybe they have their hands over the cups, and they don’t get anything to speak of.” (Bruce R McConkie, BYU Speeches, "The Seven Deadly Heresies", June 1, 1980)
I've come to think that quenching not the Spirit requires forethought, it's a state of mind.


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