Q. I have read in one of your previous posts that if we continually ignore the Holy Spirit’s guidance we will lose the ability to hear him. I believe this is called quenching the Spirit and it bothers me for obvious reasons. If someone did indeed quench the spirit is that a permanent event or can it be restored by restoring our fellowship with God?
A. People lose the ability to hear the Holy Spirit by consistently ignoring His advice. They ignore Him because they’re unwilling to yield their independence to Him. Since He’s a counselor and not a commander, He can’t make them obey Him, so they just tune Him out.
In truth, it’s actually a bit more than just losing the ability to hear Him. When Paul said, “Don’t quench the Spirit” in 1 Thes. 5:19 he literally meant “Don’t put out His fire.” When we’re on fire for the Lord, the Holy Spirit is a driving force within us. When we’ve quenched the Spirit we’re no longer on fire for the Lord.
Since God put His Spirit in our heart as a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance (2 Cor. 1:21-22) He never goes away. Therefore, people can regain the ability to hear Him. But just as ignoring Him was an action caused by a motive, the decision to begin listening again must be caused by the opposite motive. They must be willing to yield their independence and heed His advice.
And just as it took time to lose the ability to hear Him, it will take time to regain it. His voice will be very quiet at first but will become easier to hear as they practice listening to Him and accepting what He says. As they practice, they’ll begin to hear Him more clearly again and they’ll notice themselves being more “on fire” again. So if you no longer have that “fire” for the Lord, that’s how you get it back.