Our life offered as expression of worship
Do not stifle the Holy Spirit. Do not scoff at prophecies, but test everything that is said. Hold on to what is good. Stay away from every kind of evil. Now may the God of peace make you holy in every way, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless until our Lord Jesus Christ comes again. God will make this happen, for he who calls you is faithful. 1 Thessalonians 5:19-24
As Paul closed the first book of Thessalonians, he gave admonitions as to how Christians should conduct their lives as expression of their worship to God. It is our responsibility as Christians to not stifle the Holy Spirit. We should not put out the fire the Spirit is bringing upon our lives. We stifle the Holy Spirit when we allow thoughts or actions which are contrary to the character or practices of God. The fire of the Spirit is suppressed when He is rejected, when His convicting power, righteousness, and judgment (see John 16:8–11) are ignored. We douse the Spirit’s influence in our life through doubt, we drench Him with anger, and we drown His power when we engage in immoral actions. The Holy Spirit Himself cannot be put out. He is God. We can, however, stifle His work in our life. We quench the Spirit, or grieve Him, when we do not reach for those attitudes and graces which belong to His working within our lives; love, joy, and peace (Galatians 5:22–23). The Spirit’s fire is quenched when His presence is ignored or His guidance and conviction in our hearts are suppressed and rejected. Commitment and conviction to God’s leading through the Holy Spirit become visible when we do what He says in His word. In this way, we will be prevented from entertaining false teachings. We test everything by holding on to what is good as defined by His Word and avoiding every kind of evil. Evil is twisting and destructive. Living the Christian life is not a teeth-gritting effort or an austere call. Though personal effort and responsibility are required, we are offered the very hand of God. He pulls us up to a higher and more glorious way of living. Paul offered the hope and possibility of living this extraordinary life: “May the God of peace make you holy in every way, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless until our Lord Jesus Christ comes again.” We are not left on our own. The God of peace sets us apart for his use. Only those who live in peace with God, who have entered through the way of Christ’s reconciliation, can be sanctified. To be sanctified is to be “set apart” or “consecrated” for God’s use. To be found blameless does not mean earthly perfection. Paul was expressing his desire that no one would be able to make an indictment against the Christian’s life. We should have the integrity that when others see our lives, they would be able to say that we are followers of God. “The members of the council were amazed when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, for they could see that they were ordinary men with no special training in the Scriptures. They also recognized them as men who had been with Jesus” (Acts 4:13). Though ordinary, God can use us for His glory once our lives become expressions of our worship of God. We are never abandoned. God’s faithfulness is the basis and foundation of our faith. Our hope and trust are placed in a trustworthy God. The call of God is not separated from His faithful enabling. In our struggles we can rest in Him.
Noel De Guzman