The Sculpting Example of Michelangelo



In our daily meditations, we have been thinking about walking in an intimate relationship with God by allowing the Holy Spirit to mold us into the image of Christ. If you are not aware of the Holy Spirit at work in you, it could be that you have never invited Him to rule and reign over all the rooms of the temple of your heart (1 Corinthians 6:19). Are there specific areas of your life of which you are ashamed and have closed off to God? These are the things that grieve the Spirit and frustrate you from experiencing intimacy between you and the Lord. Remember that the Holy Spirit is a person. He has particular ways of working. You may not always agree with Him and may resist His work in you, but if you want to walk in intimacy with God, we must adjust our ways to Him, for He will not change His nature.


It is the work of the Holy Spirit to sanctify us and mold us into the image of Christ. Let me put it to you this way: imagine that you are Michelangelo, and are sculpting the marble statue of David. The stone that will become this fantastic statue is all there, but to fashion it, you need to chip away at everything that is not a part of this figure. Michelangelo could see the finished product in his mind, and at every stage of his chisel work, the form began to take shape as every bit of stone not a part of the image is removed. This process is similar to the way the Holy Spirit is slowly chipping away at all that is not of Christ. The Spirit sees the finished work of whom you and I are called to be.


When I lived in England, we used to sing a song called “Jesus take me as I am.” You may know it. The words of the song were all about this process of transformation:


Jesus take me as I am, I can come no other way.

Lead me deeper into You, let my flesh life melt away.

Make me like a precious stone, crystal clear, and finely honed.

Life of Jesus shining through. Giving glory back to You.


This work of transformation by the Holy Spirit can be hindered by our quenching the Spirit. Paul the apostle, wrote:

18In everything give thanks; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus. 19Do not quench the Spirit; (1 Thessalonians 5:18-19).

Is there a difference between grieving the Holy Spirit and quenching the Holy Spirit? These two descriptions are similar and certainly overlap. Our grieving of the Holy Spirit often relates to how we act towards others, like judging and unforgiveness; whereas, quenching the Holy Spirit usually refers to the way we react to the Holy Spirit's work and manifestation. Think of how the Pharisees responded to Jesus working miracles in their midst, and you get the idea (Matthew 12:24). When we think of the word “quench,” we immediately connect this word to fire or a flame. When the Holy Spirit came upon the believers on the Day of Pentecost, there appeared tongues of fire (Acts 2:3). The Spirit sometimes manifests as fire or flames, such as a Pillar of Fire following the Israelites in the wilderness. Since we are told not to quench the Spirit of God, we need to understand how this happens so we may avoid it! It is evident that, when you tend a fire, there are things you can do to fan the flames and feed the fire, and there are also things we can do to dampen the fire. The same is true of the Holy Spirit.

We can quench the Spirit by not respecting His presence. Some people believe that God no longer manifests His presence today through the gifts of the Spirit or the miraculous. They think that all of the gifts of the Spirit the early believers experienced have ceased since we now have the Word of God. In their minds, the Holy Spirit is relegated to only revealing God through the Scripture. Their theology does not give place to the Holy Spirit manifesting or showing His power in that way. When we limit the Holy Spirit through our theology, it is a way of quenching the Holy Spirit. As a believer, when I get home, I don’t want to find that I have thrown water on His fire. Keith Thomas


This meditation is from a more detailed study found at Adjusting to the Heavenly Dove