1 Thessalonians 519-22 says, “Don’t suppress the Spirit, and don’t stifle those who have a word from the Master. On the other hand, don’t be gullible. Check out everything, and keep only what’s good. Throw out anything tainted with evil.”
I see this passage as one of balance. We are to make sure that we don’t stop the work of the Spirit while at the same time making sure we are not allowing an “anything goes” approach to life.
Too many times, we read into these kind of passages a context of “church” and apply all that they say to the way we do church. Generally speaking, this passage applies in principle to all of the life of a Christian–including worship, but I want to see it in a broader sense.
Living life denying the power of the Spirit affects how we live it. When we continually take away the power of the Holy Spirit, we leave out the very inward strength that we received while receiving Christ. Living the Christian life would be absolutely impossible without the power of the Spirit.
To accept anything into our lives without discernment leads to a life without the proper kind of boundaries. That leads to sinfulness and sin leads to spiritual death.
To be overboard in either of these two leads to all kinds of problems. Some have quenched the Spirit and have no inward life to lead them. Others have been so overboard in what they call “testing the spirits” that they have denied the openness of the Spirit of God in others. They have at times, killed the spirit in another’s life because they were afraid of what another might say or do in the name of the Lord. This is always done out of fear.
In fact, fear is the real problem here. We are sometimes so afraid of what the Spirit of God might ask of us. We are also afraid of what another might say so much that we would rather shut them up than allow them to speak up. Christians should never live their lives based upon fear.
2 Timothy 1:7 “God did not give us a spirit that makes us afraid but a spirit of power and love and self-control.”