Q is for Quench

I’m just beginning to learn the meaning of the word “quench.”  Part of its trickiness is that it has, as far as I am aware, two main meanings:

1.  To extinguish a fire or a source of heat.

2.  To satisfy a thirst or passion.

The term can also be used to describe the dissolution or subduing of a thing such as “quench the opposition” or “quench the water’s current.”  However this is not as much an entirely separate definition but a corollary of the first.  It does not fit into the second because it is not an act of the soul, but the physical severance of some activity from the source of its energy.  Yet when reworded like this, it brings to my mind the verse:

Do not quench the Spirit.” (1 Thess 5:19)

Looking at this verse conveys in my mind the image of someone extinguishing a fire with a bucket of water.  In order for us to begin to understand the verse, we have to appreciate its surrounding context.  In verses 16-18 the Apostle indicates, “Rejoice always,  pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”

These verses outline the daily activity of the born again to be one of joy both in the ecstatic arms of pleasure and in the pit of sorrow.  This is not easy.  In fact, it would be better to say that it is impossible.  For Christ says, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” (Matt 19:26)  Make no mistake that the verses indicate joy to be a divine mandate, but we can be encouraged that this is possible because of God.

The original verse we quoted now takes on an entirely different set of assumptions.  The Spirit is the source of the joyful life (it is after all named a fruit of the Spirit in Gal 5:22) and we are told not to quench that source.

The quenching is detailed in 20-22:

“Do not despise prophecies, but test everything; hold fast what is good.  Abstain from every form of evil.”

A way we can despise prophecies is by not investing our lives in Scripture and in good teach.  If we cannot invest the promises and will of God in our hearts (as David says in Psalm 40:8, “I delight to do your will, O my God; your law is within my heart.”), then by what standard are we using to navigate the world?

The Apostle champions prophecy (a word not necessarily always meant to be revealing future events, but simply the voice of God to build up believers as in 1 Cor 14:3) so that by it we might test everything.  Once we have tested everything according to Scripture, bear in mind Romans 14:23, “For whatever does not proceed from faith is sin.”, we are to cling on to what is good and run (consider Joseph and Potiphar’s wife Gen 39) from every form of evil.  Evil will take many forms, we are commanded to abstain from all of them.  Deviation would mean pouring a bucket of water upon the very flame of divine joy in our lives.

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3 Responses to “Q is for Quench”

  1. Reading this. Chewing on it. Do not wish, ever, to quench the Spirit of the living God in my life.

    Tired, still, of the guilt trips lain on shoulders at church services, even though I have not attended church for about seven years. Grew up in church. Abstained from evil, but wish for far more than that. I wish for joy, power — a detonation, like a rocket within.

    Bored and annoyed at being made to feel like it’s never enough. Duh. This is the very reason Christ made the sacrifice He did. This business of abstention and effort, it still chafes me. I far prefer to seek good than to always be on guard against evil.

    Baring my heart, here. Not trying to argue. I usually avoid these conversations, altogether. I see you as a brother in Christ, though. So, here are my thoughts.

    • Thanks for opening up Suze, that took guts. 🙂

      I think you’re right to say that we really should focus on seeking good as opposing to running from evil. However, we can fall both ways. We can be good humanitarians while sending Africa nikes and cellphones without actually reaching them with the gospel, or we can be good Westboro Baptists and ruin our witness by picketing funerals.

      The proper aim of holiness (and I’d bet you’d agree) is always aimed at God as opposed to aimed at morals. For the Lord looks at the heart and not merely at our actions.

      And I would also gently encourage you to find yourself a good Bible teaching church where your joy can be mutually built up in the presence of other believers. It sounds like you’ve been hurt and I’m sorry to hear that. Once again, I appreciate you being vulnerable. Thanks sister!

      • Last night, we went to my daughter’s play — we have her in a Christian school — and the kids were all singing worship songs. I wanted to weep for thirst. I readily agree nothing compares to the Body in those transcendent moments. His Spirit is certainly powerfully felt where many are gathered in His name.

        I don’t know if I’ll ever go back to church, though. We’ll see.

        Glad you popped round to Analog Breakfast at the beginning of this A – Z thing. I could sense His Spirit in you from the earliest posts I read. Appreciate your fellowship and the way in which you boldly and unapologetically profess your beliefs.

        Ephesians 3:16

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