TO ABIDE IN THE LORD REQUIRING US NOT TO QUENCH THE SPIRIT
By thus digging away all the obstructions, the living water will flow, and spontaneously we will be abiding in the Lord. First Thessalonians 5:19 says, “Do not quench the Spirit.” In the Chinese Union Version this verse is translated, “Do not quench the inspiration of the Spirit.” Fifty years ago when I read this verse, I felt I did not know what was meant by the inspiration of the Spirit, so how could I quench it? Gradually, I realized that the Spirit is inspiring us every moment. He is in us like the air. If we do not have air, we will die. Likewise, within us, the saved ones, is the Spirit, who inspires us every day.
Many have a mistaken understanding concerning the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. They think that the Spirit’s inspiration must involve a great act or event. Actually, the inspiration of the Holy Spirit is like the movement of the air within us. We always have air within us for whatever we do; without air we would stop breathing and thus could not do anything. Likewise, in our daily living, the Holy Spirit is moving within us all the time. If instead of acting according to the Spirit’s moving within, we act according to our own desire, this is to quench the inspiration of the Holy Spirit; that is, we quench the Spirit.
For instance, for the sake of the Lord’s work I need to know the world situation, and therefore I read the newspapers. The content of the newspapers is a big temptation; therefore, I read only the headings to get the major points and avoid reading the rest. But some of the brothers simply like to read the newspapers; the more they read, the more they like to read, and the more they read, the more they lose the sense of the Spirit. The Spirit within them is clearly saying, “Do not read anymore,” yet they keep on reading. This is to quench the Spirit. Another example is that some sisters like to go shopping and enjoy the pleasure of buying things, but they do not realize how much they quench the Spirit in such shopping trips.
The Triune God became flesh and died for us on the cross, bearing our sins; then He resurrected and became the life-giving Spirit. When we called on His name, He came to dwell in us and we were saved. This is a real fact, not a theory or philosophical doctrine. The Spirit’s indwelling us is not a matter of His being high or mighty; instead, He is lowly and gentle and is often wronged by us. We often ignore Him, disregard Him, and even quench Him; yet He remains with us.
For us to abide in the Lord, the most crucial thing is to not quench the Spirit. When you talk with your wife, do not quench the Spirit. If the Spirit forbids you to continue talking, you must not reply, “Lord, let me say two more sentences, or at least let me finish this sentence.” If you continue to talk on and on, you eventually will completely forget the Spirit. Although the Spirit will not leave you, you will quench the Spirit. To abide in the Lord, first of all we must not quench the Spirit.
First John 2:27 says, “The anointing which you have received from Him abides in you;…His anointing…is true and is not a lie, and even as it has taught you, abide in Him.” The anointing ointment is the Spirit, and the anointing of this ointment, that is, the moving of the Spirit, never stops. You may quench Him, but He will not mind and will still keep on anointing you within. If you argue, He anoints you silently; when you calm down, He moves you again, causing you to repent and confess your sins.
For us to abide in the Lord, we must learn to not quench the Spirit at all but to cooperate with Him completely and to not argue with Him. Sisters, when you pick up an item in the department store and within you He is telling you to put it down, you should simply put it down quickly. When He tells you not to buy, you should quickly get into your car and go home. If you do this, you will not quench the Spirit or reason with Him. If you obey the Spirit, you may feel sad when you first get into your car, but when the car starts to move, you will begin to have joy and will be able to open your mouth to praise the Lord. But if you quench the Spirit and buy that item, you may be happy at that moment. When you get into your car, while driving home you will sense that you have a heavy burden and you will become sad. Upon arriving home you may consider throwing the item away, but you may feel that this is too wasteful. However, if you keep the item, you will feel that it is a bothering, and when you use it, you will have no peace at all. Eventually, you simply have to repent and confess to the Lord.
NOT TO QUENCH THE SPIRIT BEING NOT TO NEGLECT THE LORD’S WORD
If you argue and quench the Spirit, the result will be that you cannot pray when you want to pray. You will also have no peace in your heart or have any desire to attend the church meetings. Thus, you are not abiding in the Lord. If, however, you do not quench the Spirit, you will abide in the Lord and will not neglect His words. In John 6:63 the Lord Jesus said, “The words which I have spoken to you are spirit and are life.” The Lord’s Spirit and the Lord’s words cannot be separated. Therefore, when you do not quench the Spirit, it means you have not neglected the Lord’s words; but when you neglect the Lord’s words, you quench the Spirit. These two things are one.
First Thessalonians is on the Christian’s daily life, Colossians is on the life of experiencing Christ, and Ephesians is on the life of experiencing the church. To have these three kinds of lives we need to pray unceasingly and give thanks in everything. Not only so, Colossians tells us that a life of experiencing Christ depends on our letting the word of the Lord dwell in us richly (Col. 3:16); Ephesians says that for us to have the church life, we must be filled in spirit (Eph. 5:18b). When we have the Spirit of God filling our spirit within and the word of the Lord dwelling in us, spontaneously we can give thanks at all times for all things.
According to 1 Thessalonians, if we are unable to give thanks, it is because we have quenched the Spirit and neglected the prophecies (5:18-20). Prophecies are the words given by the Spirit, which are also the words of the Lord. The Bible is the Lord’s word in written form, and the prophecies are the Lord’s speaking in us. Therefore, do not quench the Spirit and do not despise prophecies mean do not quench the Spirit of God and do not neglect the words of the Lord. We have the Spirit, and often we also have the instant words of the Lord within us. If we quench the Spirit and neglect the words of the Lord, we will come out of the Lord. But if we neither quench the Spirit nor neglect the instant words of the Lord, we will abide in the Lord. When we abide in the Lord, spontaneously we can exercise our spirit, pray, and give thanks in everything. This is a practical way for us to abide in the Lord.
(Abiding in the Lord to Enjoy His Life, Chapter 4, by Witness Lee)