I’ve been quiet around these here parts. Mainly because of that whole “homeschooling thing.” But on the bright side, my kids and I have all survived ten solid days of schooling. Praise Jesus. Only 170 more to go.
But in the backdrop of everyday life, I’ve had a phrase swimming around in me. Behind schooling and dinner prep and grocery shopping and motherhood and marriage and the pursuit of various writing projects…and everything else, a question keeps confronting me.
In this moment,
am I quenching or stirring up
And I can’t seem to get around the black-and-white-ness of the thought.
Now for a little Spirit talk.
The Bible’s clear that once we come to faith in Jesus, we’re “sealed” with the Spirit of God Himself (which is totally rock-our-world amazing). Basically, that’s a permanent sealing. A permanent mark. A permanent pointing to Jesus. A permanent Source of healing and sanctifying power in us. In fact I’ve sometimes wondered if we as Christ-followers glow or something in the spirit realm. Like glow worms. But that’s not in the Bible and I digress.
The Bible also has a lot to say about the correlation between our actions and faith in relation to the movement of the Spirit of God in and through us. Meaning that the things I believe and meditate upon — which become what I act upon — play a part in stirring Him up or extinguishing His fire.
For example. When I spend all my sweet time thinking about someone’s hurtful words rather than the truths my God says about me, I become bitter. And bitterness makes me spiritually deaf.
Whereas, when I hear someone’s hurtful words, but instead of thinking on those words over and over and over again I choose to turn my heart and mind to what God says, then forgiveness and intercession flow from my mouth. Choosing to think on true things stirs up God’s Spirit in me and from Him alone comes love and mercy.
“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. Do not quench the Spirit.”
1 Thessalonians 5:16 – 5:19
I don’t know how all that shakes out in the spirit realm because all is grace — His sealing, His speaking to us, His movement through us, His conviction of us, His sanctification of us. All of it is His doing by His grace. But somehow, someway, a correlation exists between my beliefs and choices, and how He moves in and through me.
I know that bitterness, complaining, faithlessness, unforgiveness, unlove, gossip, and fear grieves Him. (Ephesians 4:30) Because that kind of stuff is sourced in our flesh. And when we submit to our flesh, we extinguish His fire.
Whereas worshipping God as He’s revealed Himself in His Word, praying Scripture, and praising Jesus for His gracious sacrifice causes us to enter into the flow of the Spirit of God. Those kinds of things stir Him up in us. And when He’s stirred, love, healing, kindness, hope, joy, and power erupt. (Acts 1:8) And that’s when life gets really good.
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.”
We can’t explain God. We can’t manipulate a movement of His Spirit. We can’t put a formula to His power or smoosh Him into a nice, neat box. We can’t tame or control Him. We can only know what He reveals. And the Father has revealed that He, by His Spirit, indwells believers. The very same Spirit that fell on the early church and moved mightily through people with the gospel of Jesus Christ makes His home in you and me. Astounding.
So today we’ll live our lives. We’ll go do the stuff we’ve scribbled on our lists. But maybe we’ll live life a little more thoughtfully and purposefully. Maybe we’ll ask The Lord to show us when our heart meditations actually put out His fire. And when, by His grace and power, He reveals our submission to our flesh rather than to His Spirit, maybe we’ll choose to stir Him up instead. By His grace. For His glory.
Fill me, Lord…
How have you seen this play out in your own daily living?