As we launch into a new year, it may be helpful to revisit one of the names of Jesus that we heard so much about at Christmas: Immanuel. Remember it? It means “God is with us.”
Since a new year can bring both excitement and anxiety, it is reassuring to know that we’re not alone. God has promised to be present every step of the way.
You see, God’s word says that those who have placed their trust in Jesus Christ have living within them a divine ally, God the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:9-11). The Spirit assists us in a number of ways with everyday life. He comforts, empowers, and teaches us who we are in Christ, to name just a few. This is why Jesus referred to him simply as “the Helper.”
But since the Spirit is just that, a spirit that we cannot see, hear, or get our arms around, it is all too easy to be insensitive to His presence. Sometimes we forget about Him.
But oh, how we need Him.
In I Thessalonians 5:19, the Apostle Paul gave this caution:
Do not quench [extinguish] the Spirit.
The Spirit is absolutely vital to the Christian life. Without Him, we are powerless. Like a fire in the fireplace on a bitter-cold day, so is the Holy Spirit to us in a world that has seemingly frozen over, spiritually speaking.
So, we dare not douse the Spirit by our indifference or insensitivity. Or even worse, by resisting His leadership.
But what if we have quenched the Spirit? What if we have extinguished the Flame? How do we re-ignite?
A good place to start is to simply ask God for forgiveness and request His help to rely more upon the Spirit going forward.
A well-known and loved Bible teacher puts it this way:
“Having the Spirit is not enough; the Spirit must have us! Only then can he share with us the abundant, victorious life that can be ours in Christ.” -Warren Wiersbe
“Dear Lord, thank You for not leaving me alone and for sending the Holy Spirit to help me with everyday life. Please forgive me where I have quenched or grieved Your Spirit by my attitudes and actions. Help me in this new year to live in greater sensitivity to your indwelling presence and to depend on You like I never have before. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.”
It’s a new day with God. Run with it.