Removing the Holy Spirit Firewall

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“The shut-in flame goes out for want of a draft.” (John T. Seamands)

My daddy was a dreamer whose capacity to see a future beyond his present reality changed the direction of my life forever. He was also gifted with a keen sense of adventure and a trailblazing spirit. When he was a little boy growing up in a remote village of rural India, he walked several miles with his brothers to go to a village with a school. His sisters were left behind because girls in his village were not permitted to obtain an education. He said to himself, “If I become a father, my daughters will be able to go to school.” That dream became a reality when he immigrated to America in the early 1970s.

He had other dreams that were not on such a grand scale, but he pursued them with the same degree of passion and enthusiasm. I remember my family piling into our tiny yellow Vega for epic, summerlong cross-country road trips to fulfill my daddy’s dream of seeing every state in America. My favorite of his many noble dreams involved his entrepreneurial spirit. He was a professor of finance, but always dreamed of owning his own business. When I was in middle school, he finally acted on that dream and bought an ice cream store.

I have so many fond memories of working at our family’s ice cream shop, which often entailed consuming large quantities of mint chocolate chip ice cream on sugar cones. By the time I was in high school, Mom and Dad opened a second parlor. It was the cutest thing we had ever seen! Checkerboard floors, Formica and stainless steel tables, and white wrought iron chairs with heart-shaped cushions made us feel like we had stepped back in time into an old-fashioned soda shop. The fact that it was located right across the street from my high school and contained a small arcade complete with Centipede and Ms. Pac-Man was the cherry on top!

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But one summer morning, everything changed. The details have become hazy over time. The phone rang. Daddy looked concerned as he listened to what the caller had to say. He whispered something to Mom, and they told us to get our shoes on quickly and get in the car. We could see the large plume of smoke long before we got to the parking lot. Fire trucks, police cars, and a news crew surrounded what was once our sweet little ice cream parlor. We walked among the charred remains of Daddy’s dream in disbelief. It was a terribly sad moment for our family, but we also recognized it could have been so much worse. It wasn’t our home. No personal belongings had been destroyed. No one was hurt. And amazingly, the fire was completely contained.

Our ice cream parlor was one of many businesses within a small strip mall, but none of the other stores were consumed by the fire. While several experienced significant smoke damage, the flames never reached them. Apparently, the builders of the mall had designed each business to be protected by a fire wall. Dictionary.com defines a fire wall as “a partition made of fireproof material to prevent the spread of a fire from one part of a building or ship to another,” or a “person, thing, or event that acts as a barrier or protection against something undesirable.”

Having a fire wall in place is essential when trying to keep a fire from spreading. But what if a fire is not meant to be contained? What if the flame brings healing instead of harm, ushering in life instead of destruction? In order for the Holy Spirit to ignite the fuel of our faith, we must allow Him to remove some fire walls.

After he drove the man out, he placed on the east side of the Garden of Eden cherubim and a flaming sword flashing back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life. (Genesis 3:24 NIV)

Teaching Points on Life in the Holy Spirit

Every believer has an experience of the Holy Spirit, but not every believer is full of the Holy Spirit.

God, through the power of the Holy Spirit, always makes a place for His people to have access to Him.

Quenching and grieving are ways we can limit the fullness of the Holy Spirit in our lives.

The Holy Spirit can be quenched.

Possible ways to quench the Spirit include:

  1. despising supernatural gifts such as prophetic utterances;
  2. neglecting supernatural gifts; and
  3. unwilling to express joy in worship.

The Holy Spirit can be grieved.

The Greek word for “grieved” is lupete, which is a picture of when one person loves another deeply and the other person wounds them deeply.

We are sealed by the Holy Spirit.

  1. Jesus’ tomb was sealed or locked or firmly in place.
  2. Abraham was sealed, or protected by God.
  3. Revelation describes a seal as a mark of identity.

The Holy Spirit is a deposit of what is to come. That life is: Locked in. Protected. Identified.

We grieve the Holy Spirit when we attempt to break His seal through rebellion. But we can make the Holy Spirit glad by remaining in an intimate relationship.

What do the marks of a high-quality relationship look like? Consider how the same characteristics are transferable to your relationship with God.

We can also grieve Holy Spirit by not investing time, attention, and honesty with God.

The Holy Spirit is grieved when we are not obedient.

The Holy Spirit is grieved by broken relationships, where we fail to extend the grace we have been given.

Reflect: How much of your time in the course of the day do you think about God?

The Holy Spirit is grieved by a lack of faithfulness.

Faithfulness is an all-or-nothing proposition.

Reflect: What is the difference between being faithful and being perfect?

After he drove the man out, he placed on the east side of the Garden of Eden cherubim and a flaming sword flashing back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life. (Genesis 3:24 NIV)

Anything that comes between me and God—between my soul and God—quenches the Spirit. It may be my family. You may say: “Is there any danger of loving my family too much?” Not if we love God more; but God must have the first place. If I love my family more than God, then I am quenching the Spirit of God within me. If I love wealth, if I love fame, if I love honor, if I love position, if I love pleasure, if I love self, more than I love God who created and saved me, then I am committing a sin. I am not only grieving the Spirit of God, but quenching Him and robbing my soul of His power. (D. L. Moody)

Here are some fire walls to investigate today:

  • Fire wall of fear (masked as “submitting to authority”): Queen Esther; Esther 4:16.
  • Fire wall of busyness (masked as “the gift of hospitality”): Mary and Martha; Luke 10:38–42.
  • Fire wall of religious ritual (masked as “following the rules”): rich young ruler; Matthew 19:16–22.
  • Fire wall of shame (masked as “Holy Spirit heart conviction”): the parable of the two debtors; Luke 7:36–50.

Questions for Group or Personal Reflection

  • Are you enjoying the fullness of the Holy Spirit?
  • Are there places in your heart and mind where you have not given Him access?
  • How might you be quenching the flame of the Holy Spirit?
  • Do you have actions and attitudes that may be causing Him to grieve today?

Closing Prayer

Abba, You are a good Father who gives good gifts. You tell us that You are more than willing to give us the gift of the Holy Spirit, so we humbly, yet confidently, ask for more. Show us the areas of our life that may be quenching or grieving Your Spirit. Give us the courage to confess and repent. Come Holy Spirit! In Jesus’ name. Amen.a study on life in the Holy Spirit

A life in Christ is impossible without the Holy Spirit. Perhaps you know this to be true because you have tried following Christ in your own strength and the flame of your faith has been doused by discouragement. Maybe you want to experience a Spirit-filled live but don’t know how to begin. Ladies, you aren’t alone. We are in this journey together.

Whether the Holy Spirit is a complete mystery to you or a familiar friend, there is always more of him to know. Seedbed’s first-ever women’s video study, Wildfire is a practical action guide to stoking the fire of deep intimacy with the Holy Spirit in our every day lives.

Perfect for:

  • Women’s Bible study groups
  • Small groups
  • Sunday School

In these pages you will:

  • Deepen your understanding and relationship with God the Holy Spirit
  • Learn to use the T.H.R.I.V.E. method to meaningfully engage with Scripture
  • Encounter the Spirit in a personal and life-giving way

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Rica was born in Orissa, India and immigrated to America when she was two years old. She was raised in a loving, devout Hindu home, but at the age of 28, beheld the beauty of Jesus Christ and her life has never been the same. The desire of her heart is for people from every nation, tongue and tribe to know the great delight of being fully known and fully loved by Christ and for that knowledge to compel them to share His grace in radical ways.

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