The only remedy for your flesh, is for you to walk in the Spirit. Think about that for just a minute and then contemplate this question; What does it mean to walk in the Spirit? Galatians 5:25 states: “Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.”
When we are saved, we are given a new spirit. The old man and the old nature are replaced with a new nature and a new Spirit. It is the Spirit of Christ; it is the Holy Spirit of God. We become new creations and God’s Spirit dwells in us. We know this because Romans 8:9 says that if we don’t have the Spirit of Christ we don’t belong to him.
This doesn’t mean that we don’t struggle with sin, because we do. The reason is because we still live in a fleshly or natural body. However, when we do sin, the Holy Spirit has a specific job. His job is to convict or illuminate to us what we have done wrong, and He does that by bringing discomfort and conviction to our spirit to the point of driving us to repentance.
The Holy Spirit doesn’t leave us when we fail (John 14:16), but He can’t fill us, empower us, and use us effectively and fully if we neglect our spiritual lives. Even as a believer, it is possible to grieve the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 4:30) and to quench the Spirit (1 Thessalonians 5:19).
What’s the difference between grieving and quenching the Spirit?
To grieve means to make sorrowful, to offend, and to affect with sadness. If you notice Paul mentions this right in the middle of telling the Ephesians what sins to avoid. Ephesians 4:30 in the NLT reads: “And do not bring sorrow to God’s Holy Spirit by the way you live. Remember, he has identified you as his own, guaranteeing that you will be saved on the day of redemption.” Contrary to what some may preach, it does matter how you live! As Spirit filled believers we can’t live life according to the works of the flesh, but we live our life according to the Fruit of the Spirit. (Galatians 5:19-25).
We grieve and sorrow the Holy Spirit when we live in a manner that is “inconsistent” with who God is and who we are as His children. Grieving the Holy Spirit is related to sinfulness in our life. Paul tells the Philippians to “conduct themselves in a manner that is worthy of the Gospel of Christ…” (Philippians 1:27). I’ll say it again, it does matter how we live.
How do we quench the Spirit?
To quench means to “extinguish of things on fire.” It means to suppress and stifle. In 2 Timothy rather than extinguish the flame, Paul was encouraging Timothy to stir up or fan the flame.
Paul told the Thessalonians (1 Thess. 5:19) to quench not the Spirit and he gives this right in the middle of several admonitions to do certain things as followers of God.
We grieve the Holy Spirit when we sin and we quench the Spirit when we suppress His leading to make a change in our life. This change may be something that is initiated by the Spirit for us to follow a certain path or talk to an individual. But we can also quench the Spirit when we ignore the Spirit’s illumination of un-repented sin in our life and His prompting for us to repent. A believer’s continued grieving and quenching of the Holy Spirit’s illumination of sin leads to a seared conscience and a hardened heart & spirit toward sin and eventually toward God himself if not dealt with.
To live in the Spirit means dealing with sin through repentance and restitution. As a believer with a new Spirit (God’s Holy Spirit) it is only natural that when we grieve His Spirit we should ask for forgiveness. As Frank Viola said “When a Christian grieves the Holy Spirit it registers in our conscience. This isn’t guilt and condemnation, but it is the sense of grief and sorrow and lack of peace.” (Frank Viola). God’s Spirit will not just let you continue in your sin without making you uncomfortable.
If believers resist or ignore or push down the Spirit’s illumination when it comes to their sin they can sear their conscience. Godly sorrow leads to repentance. (2 Corinthians 7:9-11)
So one aspect of “living in the Spirit” includes dealing with sin when it is a problem in the believer’s life.
Another aspect deals with allowing the influence of the Holy Spirit to guide your life. Especially in regards to the Fruit of the Spirit being an evident and growing part of your life.
Being led by the Spirit (Gal. 5:18) is allowing God to speak to us through His Word and Spirit. It’s allowing His Spirit to bear the Fruit of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control in our life. When we live by the Spirit this is the evidence people will witness in our life. And there is no law against it nor is there a law that can reproduce it! This can only be accomplished through Christ and the Holy Spirit. You cannot put on any of these with your flesh! This is how we keep in step with the Spirit.
What is the Spirit speaking to you? Are your quenching His leading?