Stifling The Spirit

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.

1 Thessalonians 5:19-22 (NLT)

We stifle the Holy Spirit whenever we do not hear or listen to what He is saying to us. He speaks to us mainly through the Word of God and there are so many different ways we fail to hear Him speak as we read it. We often read it with our minds already made up as to what it says, instead of just reading it for understanding of what is being said. We do not set aside quiet time when we read it so we can hear the Spirit speak. We do not read enough of it to get a sense of what is being said. We do not read it with our minds engaged. We do not read it with the idea that we can learn new things. We don’t read it knowing we need to hear from God.

Silhouette of Woman thinking on Swing during Golden Hour

We stifle the Spirit when we shut out the Word being proclaimed. We sometimes hear the Word proclaimed and do not evaluate it in light of the Word. Instead of thinking over a text for ourselves, we blindly accept what others say about it. We need to put everything we hear to the test of God’s Word before we accept it. In order to do that, we must engage our minds when the Word is being spoken.

We need to hold on to that which is good and discard that which is not. If we hear the Word being spoken, we take that which is good and discard that which is not good. Just because someone may say it is true, doesn’t make it true.

We are to keep away from every kind of evil. In our minds, there should be a warning sign in front of evil when we encounter it. WARNING: DANGER AHEAD. DO NOT GO ANY CLOSER. IT IS DEADLY TO YOUR SOUL. We dare not take evil lightly. Stay away from it for the health of your soul.

Jim Hughes

Keep On Praying

Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.

1 Thessalonians (NLT) 5:16-18
People jumping with joy at the beach
Rejoice Always

I don’t know about you, but I wish the Lord had not put that word always in this verse. How can anyone always be anything, let alone joyful? Maybe the key to success is found in the next sentence. Keep on praying. Prayer certainly helps us to be joyful. How can we not be joyful when we are in the presence of the Lord? Now, I am not talking about what often passes for prayer. Prayer that causes us to be joyful is unhurried and it is focused solely on who the Lord is. It is time spent enjoying the presence of Christ and lingering to get to know Him better. It is not what we normally do. We have our own agendas and when we are done, we hurry on to the next thing. We don’t like staying in our prayer closets any longer than we have to. When was the last time you simply waited on the Lord without an agenda? Is it any wonder joyfulness escapes us?

We need to learn how to linger in God’s presence. We need to learn how to not be time conscious when we pray. The busier our lives become, the more time we should be spending in prayer. The more complicated our lives become, the more time we should be spending in prayer.

Always be thankful. The more we value life in Christ, the more thankful we will be. We live like it is not that big of a deal. We carry the Lord around like added baggage to an already full life. We often fail to stop in awe at the life we have in Him, except for maybe at Christmas and Easter time. We scarcely pause to worship Him in love and adoration. We get so caught up into life that we neglect our appreciation for eternal life. We are created in Christ Jesus for worship, thanksgiving, and praise.

We are created in Christ Jesus through faith for fellowship and fruitfulness. Without faith there is no fellowship and without fellowship, there is no real faith.

Always Is Not A Suggestion

Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (NLT)
Man sitting on a grass field praying

We don’t like that word always. It is frustrating to read it, because we know that we don’t do it. We aren’t always joyful, thankful or prayer warriors. We may try to be these things most of the time, but always?!!

Even though we may struggle in these areas of our lives, we should always keep on trying. We should never give up just because we find we can’t do it.

Joyfulness comes from staying focused on the activity of the Lord in our lives. We need to never forget or take for granted that the God of the universe has chosen to take up residence in us. We should rejoice that He is always at work in us to make us holy vessels for Him. We should always keep in mind that we are children of God by His choosing.

Most of us are not prayer warriors. It is one of those things that we don’t practice as much as we know we should. It is hard for many of us to pray except for when we are in need. Effective praying comes with much practice. The more we pray the more comfortable we get with praying. Praying opens up our hearts to God and invites Him in. It is essential for our souls.

We should never let circumstances dictate our gratitude. We are never left alone to deal with life. We have the promises of God for life now and for all eternity. We have been given freedom from the bondage of sin and a clean heart before God. We must always strive to think on these things and bow before our God in deep gratitude.

God desires that we do these things. He knows that it is great medicine for the soul. He knows that as we do these things we will be able to live in victory and not defeat. May the Lord help us to be doers of His Word and not just listeners of it.


Brothers and sisters, we urge you to warn those who are lazy. Encourage those who are timid. Take tender care of those who are weak. Be patient with everyone.

1 Thessalonians 5:14 (NLT)

There is no room in the work of the Kingdom for lazy people. Lazy people do not get the work done. They become a liability rather than an asset. Lazy people have a tendency to be critical of those who are busy. They are quick to judge and slow to change. Lazy people are not growing people. They lack the incentive to help themselves grow. They are not good students of the Word, let alone doers of it. They are not generally prayer warriors. They always follow and never lead.

We need to encourage one another to step out in faith. We need to spur one another on to service in spite of fear and lack of confidence. We need to inspire others by our example to become bold servants of God.

people silhouette during sunset

We need to take tender care of the weak. We should be aware of those who do not have strong faith and come alongside of them to help them. We need to be sensitive to those who are vulnerable and need coaching along the way. We need to get involved in their lives and do what we can to help them become strong.

We need to learn to be patient with everyone. Not everyone thinks alike and not everyone grows alike. We must not become impatient with those who don’t seem to “get it” like we do. We must allow the Lord time to teach and grow others in the faith. We must ask the Lord to exercise patience to all, especially those who have a tendency to mess up more than others. And while we are at it, we need to ask the Lord to grow us. Our ability to help others depends on our own maturity of faith and understanding.

Honor Your Leaders

Paul’s Final Advice

Dear brothers and sisters, honor those who are your leaders in the Lord’s work. They work hard among you and give you spiritual guidance. Show them great respect and wholehearted love because of their work. And live peacefully with each other.

1 Thessalonians 5:12-13 NLT

There is a fine line between putting people on a pedestal and honoring what they do for the Lord. We must be careful that we don’t idolise people because they may be talented and gifted. We don’t idolise people because they have winsome personalities. We don’t idolise them because of their position in life or wealth. We don’t idolise them because of their successes in the world. We don’t value them higher than others and make them out to be favoured citizens of heaven. However, we do need to honor those who are leaders in the Lord’s work.

We should respect their role in the church. God prepares and puts into place leaders in the church. They are given the responsibility to preach and teach the Word. They are responsible for spurring others on to greater faith and godliness. They are responsible for the spiritual well-being of those whom they serve. They have to answer to God for what they do.

We should respect what they say to us. Godly leaders warn us of not only what is to come, but what happens to us now when we reject the Lord or His Word. They warn us that sin has consequences and no one can escape them. We need to pay attention to what they say to us and strive to put into practice what we hear.

We should think highly of them and intentionally love them and pray for them. It is so easy to criticise those in leadership. They are vulnerable to being criticised and judged for their failures. They are expected to be better than we are and to meet all of our expectations. They are easy targets to blame when things don’t go the way we think they should.

What we should do is be supportive of those who lead in a godly way. We should appreciate what they are doing for the Lord. We should come alongside of them and stand with them. We should encourage them and support them in their efforts. As long as leaders are doing the best they can do in their service to the Lord, we should be on their side and not against them.

We should honor them by adequately supporting them in the work they do. Support comes in a wide variety of ways: financially being fair to them, being kind to them, being positive, encouraging them, etc. We must never forget that they are human just like we are and their need for being treated with decency and affirmation is just as important to them as it is to us. We should as well treat their families in the same way we want our families to be treated.

We should always strive to live in peace with not only our leaders, but every one of faith. Internal conflict within the family of God is always wrong and should not be allowed to continue.