1 Thes. 5 gave Christians instructions on how to handle a great move of the Holy Spirit when it told us us, “Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise prophecies. Test all things; hold fast what is good…” “Do not quench the Holy Spirit.” That means that we should be careful not to “shut down” the Holy Spirit if He’s moving in our group. Now you might say, “If God wants to do it, then he’ll do it.” Although I’ll never argue against the supremacy of Christ, I believe there are seven very common ways that Christians can stifle what God is doing in the Spirit:
Control – Refusing to make room for the Spirit’s manifestations and activity. There’s nothing wrong with planning for a smooth church service, but we should be careful not the plan the Holy Spirit right out the door.
Exhibitionism – This is a lot like “control” but with a different motivation. This is when we add to the Spirit’s manifestations and draw attention to ourselves.
Neglecting the Word – This is neglecting to test all things by biblical standards. Some “trust” the Spirit’s leadership in a non-biblical way by trusting Him to uphold the Standard of the Word in our midst.
Prayerlessness – Some “trust” the sovereignty of God in a non-biblical way by “trusting” God in their prayerlessness to do the part that He has assigned to US (prayer!). This is not trusting God, but rather it is presumption. Some people totally screw up the truth when they think if God wants to do something, He’ll just do it. But God has given us a dynamic role in determining things with our prayer and fasting. Take the farmer for example, God provides the sunshine and rain … but the farmer has to plant and pull weeds. Don’t expect the Holy Spirit to move if you’re not praying.
Despising – We must not despise the times when God’s power is released in small measure. We walk in the tension of being grateful and faithful in the days of small things while continuing to be desperate to seek God for the full measure. We continue to pray for the fullness of revival because we see what we lack. However, we operate in faith by seeing what we have in God now.
Laziness – Some refuse the work and effort that required to regularly pray for people in need. It’s not easy, dude.
Compromise – You can’t grieve the Holy Spirit and flow in the Holy Spirit at the same time. We should seek to fully obey God by living out the Sermon on the Mount. We must seek to live without compromise by declaring war on all known sin in our lives. Prayer and fasting are never a substitute or lack of obedience. The pursuit of full obedience is different than attaining it. There are powerful dynamics that occur in our heart when we aim at pursuing 100% obedience. Sesame Street taught me to always compromise. That’s fine if all that’s at stake is 5 minutes with a Tonka Truck, but a compromise in your spiritual life is a bummer. “You never win when you compromise.”