In 1 Thessalonians chapter 5, Paul admonished the members to act in a manner as becometh Saints. He proceeded to list appropriate attributes and behaviors. In verse 19 Paul counseled with these four simple words: “Quench not the Spirit.”
Interestingly, some 500 years before Paul’s writings, a Book of Mormon prophet named Jacob sought to teach the gospel of Jesus Christ to a resistant people. He boldly inquired of them as follows: “Will ye reject the words of the prophets; and will ye … deny the good word of Christ, … and the gift of the Holy Ghost, and quench the Holy Spirit?” 1
In our day, so many centuries after both Paul and Jacob, we too must be careful not to hinder, disregard, or quench the Spirit in our lives.
The beckoning invitations of the world attempt to divert our attention from the strait and narrow path. The adversary labors to dull our sensitivity to the promptings of the Spirit, whether we are teenagers, young adults, or mature men and women. The role of the Spirit, the Holy Ghost, is essential in every season of our mortal lives.
From the beginning the Father has promised each of His spirit sons and daughters that through the Atonement and Resurrection of His Beloved Son, we all might return to God’s presence and inherit the blessings of eternal life in the highest degree of the celestial kingdom.
Each of us knew that the journey to exaltation would be long, strenuous, and sometimes lonely, but we also knew that we would not travel alone. Heavenly Father provides all who fulfill the prerequisites of faith, repentance, and baptism with a companion and guide, the Holy Ghost.
The path to eternal life is not on a plateau. Rather, it is an incline, ever onward and upward. Hence, ever-increasing spiritual understanding and energy are required to reach our destination. Because the pernicious opposition by Satan continues, the continuous enlightened guidance of the Holy Ghost is absolutely essential. We dare not hinder, disregard, or quench the promptings of the Holy Spirit. Yet when it comes to drawing upon the promptings and the blessings which flow from the Holy Ghost, we often “live far beneath our privileges.” 2
When we invite the Holy Ghost to fill our minds with light and knowledge, He “quickens” us, that is to say, enlightens and enlivens the inner man or woman. 4 As a result we notice a measurable difference in our soul. We feel strengthened, filled with peace and joy. We possess spiritual energy and enthusiasm, both of which enhance our natural abilities. We can accomplish more than we otherwise could do on our own. We yearn to become a holier person.
Do you wish to know the price to be paid for the privileges that are offered after we have received the Holy Ghost? The price is not a predetermined or fixed amount; rather, it is determined by each of us individually.
If you set your payment, which is your personal effort, very low, you may not be able to avail yourself of all the Spirit has to offer. You may even quench the Spirit! However, if you set your personal contribution high, you will reap an abundant harvest from the Spirit. The payment I reference is, of course, not money; rather, it is a greater commitment to and involvement in personal spiritual endeavors and behaviors.
We determine the level of our current personal contribution by examining our present choices and priorities against questions such as these:
Do I spend more time with sports than Church attendance or callings?
If I have a free day, do I choose to attend the temple or to visit the mall?
Do I resort to computer games or surfing the Internet rather than offering meaningful service to others in my home and community?
Do I read the newspaper religiously but find it difficult to read the scriptures daily?
There are other questions you might formulate which will reveal the appropriateness of your current choices and priorities.
Whatever level of spiritual development each of us may presently have, there always exists a higher level within our reach. Time is a most precious asset. Would you consider investing more of your time in the things of eternity in order to merit the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost and to benefit more fully from His influence?
If your answer is yes, the initial offering in this pursuit of deeper spirituality is an intensified desire to receive greater inspiration and to become more holy. When these desires fill our hearts, we will eagerly increase the price we pay for heaven’s help.
Our next contribution to this effort will be to immerse ourselves more consistently in the words of Christ and of the prophets. When our study efforts expand, so will the influence of the Holy Ghost in our lives increase. Let us search the scriptures with pen in hand, making note of new insights and recording spiritual promptings. Thereafter, let us strive to apply what has been learned to our personal lives. The Spirit will quicken our inner selves; new understanding will come precept upon precept.
To ensure we quench not the Spirit, but rather invite His presence, there is another step to take. Let us pray frequently and fervently. The Savior’s tender and comprehensive promise is recorded in the Doctrine and Covenants:
“Draw near unto me and I will draw near unto you.”
“Seek me diligently and ye shall find me.”
“Ask, and ye shall receive.”
“Knock, and it shall be opened unto you.”
“Whatsoever ye ask the Father in my name it shall be given unto you, that is expedient for you.” 5
Note that sequence, brothers and sisters. We draw nearer to the Savior as we keep His commandments with exactness. We earnestly petition the Father in the name of Christ. Then, through the promptings of the Holy Ghost, we receive divine direction and clear understanding.
As we fast, renew our covenants during the sacrament, and attend the temple, we further access the Spirit. In these settings the Holy Ghost may manifest His influence with great impact.
The temple is a marvelous environment to seek personal revelation. When we attend as often as we can and listen thoughtfully, pondering the glorious promises and expectations pertaining to eternity, we depart with heightened understanding of our Heavenly Father’s plan for us. The Holy Ghost extends our vision and allows that eternal perspective to influence the decisions we make in our daily lives.
If we undertake this effort and quench not the Spirit, our inner being is quickened. As we persevere, eternal life awaits us. Thus, we dare not quench the Spirit through disobedience or neglect. Rather, let us “live in the Spirit,” 6 enhancing the sacred and essential role of the Holy Ghost in our individual lives. I testify that as we truly seek the Spirit, we shall benefit more fully from the quiet, but essential, workings of the Holy Ghost. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.
Brigham Young, Discourses of Brigham Young, sel. John A. Widtsoe (1954), 32.
See Parley P. Pratt, Key to the Science of Theology, 9th ed. (1965), 101: “The gift of the Holy Ghost … quickens all the intellectual faculties, increases, enlarges, expands and purifies all the natural passions and affections; and adapts them, by the gift of wisdom, to their lawful use.”