When we are concerned about a person’s physical life, we check their vitals. Do they have a pulse? Can we detect breathing? Do their pupils contract when a light is shined in their eyes?
When we are wondering about a person’s spiritual life, we can look for vital signs, too. Do their eyes light up with the joy of their Savior? Does their prayer life have a pulse? Do they constantly breathe out complaints and curses, or gratitude and hope?
When the Holy Spirit lives inside of us, he lights a fire in our hearts. Fire will always produce heat and light. Faith, like fire, will always produce its effects, too.
Just like you can’t have fire without heat and light, so you can’t have faith without producing the effects of faith — effects like joy, prayer, and gratitude.
That’s why Paul encourages the Thessalonians not to put out the Spirit’s fire. Without the fire, you don’t get the effects of the fire. And without faith, you also don’t get the effects of the faith.
Life. Fire. Faith.
They all work the same way. Snuff them out, and you also snuff out the effects they produce. But keep them going strong and healthy, and you will always get vital signs that reflect that strength and health.
“Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ’s Jesus. Do not quench the Spirit” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-19, NIV).
Lord, I know that when I sin and fail to repent, or when I lose touch with your word and sacraments, I move closer to quenching your Spirit. Help me to live a life of devotion to word and sacrament, and to repent of my sins daily. These will keep my faith strong and healthy, and bring me joy, gratitude, and an active prayer life.
Our Bible reading for Monday, October 12, is Jeremiah 25:15 – 26:24, 1 Thessalonians 5:1-28 and Psalm 119:17-24.
Header image based on "Lubbock Heart Hospital, Dec 16-17, 2005" by Mark, CC By-SA 2.0