Jump to Prayer FocusBible Passage for Meditation: 1 Thessalonians 5:15-24
Key Verse: “Quench not the Spirit. . . . Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.” 1 Thessalonians 5:19, 21
With sensational revivals growing, extremes in fanaticism multiplying, unbelievable miracles occurring more and more, and people being encouraged to follow their heart and feelings over biblical doctrine and truth, we have a lot to be concerned about in this day and age. In fact, it is high time to awaken from our sleep, for if we do not stay vigilant, rooted and grounded in the Word of God, and if we do not test and prove all things by the Word (see Isaiah 8:20), we could be deceived and led astray.
However, there’s another danger: that we might quench a true revival and work of God when it comes. Naturally, most assume that “fanaticism and sensationalism” is the biggest danger. And it is very dangerous! However, cold formalism can be just as disastrous spiritually. While cold formalism may pride itself on not getting caught up in the delusions of this new age, it could very well keep its subjects from recognizing the outpouring of the Holy Spirit when it comes.
And don’t think we are above falling into this ditch. We must remember that the spiritual leaders of Israel did not recognize Jesus for who He actually was when He came to earth. Neither did they recognize when the Holy Spirit came upon the disciples. They knew the prophecies, they knew the Bible doctrines, and they rigorously obeyed the commandments (at least when it was to their best advantage), but when people began to respond to the Holy Spirit’s moving, the hearts of these leaders stood up in protest because of their pride. May this not be our story today or when the outpouring truly comes!
Inspiration gives us a somber warning: “The baptism of the Holy Ghost as on the day of Pentecost will lead to a revival of true religion and to the performance of many wonderful works. Heavenly intelligences will come among us, and men will speak as they are moved upon by the Holy Spirit of God. But should the Lord work upon men as He did on and after the day of Pentecost, many who now claim to believe the truth would know so very little of the operation of the Holy Spirit that they would cry, ‘Beware of fanaticism.’ They would say of those who were filled with the Spirit, ‘These men are full of new wine’ (Acts 2:13). . . . The great sin of those who profess to be Christians is that they do not open the heart to receive the Holy Spirit. When souls long after Christ and seek to become one with Him, then those who are content with a form of godliness exclaim, ‘Be careful, do not go to extremes.’ . . . But while we should be careful not to go into human excitement, we should not be among those who will raise inquiries and cherish doubts in reference to the work of the Spirit of God” (Ye Shall Receive Power, p. 322).
Ellen White spoke of just such an event occurring in the 1880s at Healdsburg College—later to become Pacific Union College—when a revival took place and was squelched by well-meaning leadership. “Who of you dared to stop the work because in your finite judgment everything did not appear to meet your ideas? Every time I think of this matter I am so pained I try to put it out of my mind at once,” she wrote to school leaders after the event. (To read more, see Manuscript Releases, vol. 21, pp. 147, 148.)
We as humans have a tendency to run to one extreme or another. I see it all around me even now. And this is as the devil would have it. But rather than running to extremes, let’s ask God to help us stay on the straight and narrow, firmly rooted in His Word. Let’s ask that He would help us humble our hearts and be ready for the Holy Spirit outpouring that He longs to give. It is promised. It will come. But will we be ready to receive it?
Heart Prayer Challenge:
Dear Heavenly Father, help us not to quench the Holy Spirit when it begins to fall. Please help us to know how to prove all things and hold fast that which is good. In a time when every wind of doctrine is sweeping the world, we cannot stand strong without You. In fact, You tell us that none but those who have fortified their minds with the truths of the Bible will stand through the last great conflict (The Great Controversy, p. 593). So help our minds and hearts to be fortified in You and in Your Word, for with You by our side, we cannot fall. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
By Melody Mason
(To read “The Keys to Spiritual Fortification” by Melody, click here.)