1Th 5:19-21 “Quench not the Spirit. Despise not prophesyings. Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.”
Since the word “Spirit” is capitalized here, it is understood that the particular Spirit of God (Holy Ghost or Holy Spirit) is under consideration here. As we read verse nineteen, our initial reaction might be to wonder how we can possible quench (extinguish) God in any of His personages (Father, Son, and Holy Ghost). The simple truth is that He is God and not under the authority of any man.
As we consider the quenching of the Spirit, we should understand that it is not holding sway over God. Instead, Paul is instructing us to not ignore those things that the Spirit leads us to do. Have we ever left church feeling inspired to study the scriptures more or to pray on a more regular basis? There was a great feeling of rejuvenation and determination. Then we got home; the recliner really looked good; the garden needed some attention; our best fishing buddy called, and the list goes on.
With a twinge of guilt, we ignored that small voice that reminded us of our determination to apply ourselves to the study of God’s word (or visiting the sick, or whatever it was that we had been inspired to do). After all, we could do that later. We extinguished that voice inside and fell back into our old routine of pursuing the things that pleased self. Quenching the Spirit is not necessarily some great, monumental thing that we were inspired to do and failed but in all the “little” promptings we feel and often ignore on a daily basis.
Quenching the Spirit is often followed by ignoring the (setting at nought or despising) the inspired teaching (prophesyings) of God’s word. His word instructs, corrects, rebukes, and encourages. When we fail to follow (quench) the leadership of the Spirit, we are in direct conflict with His word. Jesus tells us quite simply “If ye love me, keep my commandments (Joh 14:15).”
We cannot seriously believe it is possible to quench the Spirit and at the same time keep His commandments. This leads us to feeling of guilt and remorse (conviction) over our actions or failure to act, as the case may be. At this point, we are either brought by God to a state or repentance or else we set aside (despise) His word. We ignore His inspired prophesyings so we can continue to do as we please.
Finally, we are instructed to put Paul’s words to the test. We likely already know plenty about quenching the Spirit, so let’s try (prove) not quenching the Spirit. We likely already know what is means to ignore God’s teachings, so let’s try (prove) listening and doing what His word instructs. As we prove (try, test) these things, we are given a very simple admonition: hold fast (keep in memory) that which is good.
When we prove the things of God, we are going to find there is a great joy and peace in not extinguishing the leadership of the Spirit. We are going to long to hear His word (prophesyings) and to know for ourselves what that word says and means. With joy, we prove all things and come to realize that the things of God can always be trusted, and the things of the world do not deserve our confidence.
May God bless us with the strength and determination to hold fast the things of His, for these are good!