On a visit to the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC, I saw a masterpiece called The Wind. The painting showed a storm moving through a wooded area. Tall, thin trees leaned to the left. Bushes thrashed in the same direction.
In an even more powerful sense, the Holy Spirit is able to sway believers in the direction of God’s goodness and truth. If we go along with the Spirit, we can expect to become more courageous and more loving. We will also become more discerning about how to handle our desires (2 Tim. 1:7).
In some situations, however, the Spirit nudges us toward spiritual growth and change, but we respond with a “no.” Continually stonewalling this conviction is what Scripture calls “quench[ing] the Spirit” (1 Thess. 5:19). Over time, things we once considered wrong appear not to be quite as bad.
When our relationship with God seems distant and disconnected, this may be because the Spirit’s conviction has been repeatedly brushed aside. The longer this goes on, the harder it is to see the root of the problem. Thankfully, we can pray and ask God to show us our sin. If we turn away from sin and recommit ourselves to Him, God will forgive us and revive the power and influence of His Spirit within us.
God, show me how I have resisted Your Holy Spirit. Help me to listen when You speak. I want to be right with You again.
Yielding to the Holy Spirit leads to right living.
In Paul’s day, Thessalonica was the largest city of Macedonia with as many as 200,000 people (mainly Greeks). The city had a thriving seaport and was located on the Egnatian Way, a famous trade route built by the Romans. Paul and Silas visited this city on Paul’s second missionary journey, and while there Paul preached in its synagogues for three Sabbaths (Acts 17:1–3). During their visit, some Jews plus “a large number of God-fearing Greeks” and many prominent women were persuaded to follow Jesus (v. 4). But Paul’s stay was cut short when some jealous Jews formed a mob and started a riot (vv. 5–9). As soon as he could, Paul sent Timothy to the young church to encourage and strengthen the new believers in their faith (1 Thess. 3:1–5). Timothy returned to Paul with good news: the people were standing firm despite persecution (vv. 6–8). In response, Paul wrote First Thessalonians from Corinth to further encourage the church. His warning to not “quench the Spirit” appears in a list of final instructions he gave the Thessalonians (5:19).
Is there an area of your life where you’ve been resisting the “nudge” of the Holy Spirit?