Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise prophecies, but test everything; hold fast what is good. Abstain from every form of evil. —1 Thessalonians 5:19–22 (ESV)
“Quench” is a term we use to describe the putting out of a flame. Today’s text is the only place in the New Testament where it is used metaphorically. It is as though the apostle Paul is saying, “Stop putting out the Spirit’s fire!” What I find especially noteworthy is that Paul is directing his comments to the church—not those outside of the church, but the church.
He instructs the Thessalonians to recognize that the Lord speaks to and through His people, and to be open to His voice. The prophetic word of the Lord gives direction from the Lord to those who hear Him… both the telling, and the foretelling of information from God to His people. Of course, Paul clarifies that every prophecy should be tested, but prophecy should not be despised. And the testing of every prophecy by means of aligning it with God’s written word through the discernment of spiritual leaders. The point of the entire process is to enable us to hold on to what is good, as opposed to holding on to that which is evil.
Is it possible today that Christians have lost a sensitivity to the voice of the Lord? Have we lost the need to test the spirit, because we’ve already quenched the fire of the Spirit of God, and in doing so, are we then holding on to what is evil, and abstaining from that which is good? Let me ask you. At this season of your life, what is the spirit of God saying to you? Is the prophetic voice of God influencing you at all? Do not despise such a thought, but test every voice that speaks into your life. And ultimately, hold fast to what is good, and abstain from all that is evil. This has historically been the faithful process of the people of God. They listened intently to the still small voice of God. When they had tested to discern His will, then they walked in obedience… and they changed the world. May you and I be that faithful force in the world today!