Grieving the Holy Spirit

Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption” Ephesians 4_30

This week we’ve been having a discussion surrounding the person and work of the Holy Spirit. So far we’ve discussed it on the podcast, which can be found here:

And we’ve spent some time on the blog talking about resisting the Holy Spirit, found here:

Resisting the Holy Spirit

Today, let’s look at what it looks like to grieve the Holy Spirit. The word grieve comes from the word grief which means to cause deep sorrow. Obviously when we grieve we think of the pain of losing someone and I think that’s fitting description of the pain we are going to be talking about.

“Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption” Ephesians 4:30

The question that comes to my mind, is how can we grieve the Holy Spirit? In my world, it’s hard to think that we could cause God a deep sorrow. It’s troubling to think about it that way, to be honest. But, God admits that He feels sorrow along with other emotions.

We tend to think, especially if you’ve had a rough life, that the best thing to do is grow stronger by getting harder. Don’t let the pain in. Don’t let emotions run you over. That sort of thing. But here, we see that God, who isn’t lacking in strength, allows us to cause him grief.

So the next question is why? Why would God allow this? I think it’s because God wants to empathize with us and show us how to properly respond to being done wrong. You see God could respond to the grieving of the Holy Spirit in any number of ways – he could strike you down, he could pour out his judgment on you via plagues or completely ignore you for the rest of your life.

But that’s not what he does. He continues to love. As a matter of fact, he expresses his feelings toward us when we do grieve the Spirit. He laments for us. Paul in Romans says that God demonstrated his love for us in this: While were yet sinners, Christ died for us. God, who stands outside of time, saw your entire life, all the sins that you would commit and still took your punishment on Himself.

“No language can adequately express this solemn truth, that the Holy Spirit rejoices and is glad on our account, when we are obedient to him in all things, and neither think nor speak anything, but what is pure and holy; and, on the other hand, is grieved when we admit anything into our minds that is unworthy of our calling,” says John Calvin.

So while we can know quite a bit about this, there is still a lot of mystery that surrounds this subject. And that mystery should drive us to do our best to live a life worthy of the calling that God has given us in Christ Jesus.

Here’s a few ways in which I think we can grieve the Holy Spirit:

  1. When we repeatedly sin. When you are saved, the Holy Spirit comes to live inside of you. Habitual sin grieves the Holy Spirit. The Bible encourages us to stop sinning, to put off the old man, to put to death the flesh, etc. When we continue to sin, God is grieved by our actions.
  2. When we sin, but justify it using the Spirit. When we use the Holy Spirit as a false justification for our sin, I believe we grieve the Spirit. For instance, I heard someone once say that God was leading them to divorce their husband. Hogwash! Someone else may say that they bet all of their money on a horse race because they felt like God spoke to them. Again, hogwash. God cannot be blamed for our sins. And when He is, we grieve the Holy Spirit inside of us.
  3. We also grieve the Holy Spirit when we misrepresent God. There’s a story in the book of Acts about a couple named Ananais and Sapphira. They told everyone that they sold some land and gave it all to the church. They lied to the apostles and in the end, God struck them down because of their lie. We grieve the Holy Spirit when we lie to others in an attempt to make ourselves look good.

As you read through this list, did any of these things stand out to you? Have you grieved the Holy Spirit? Repent and put your trust in Christ. Receive your forgiveness. The Holy Spirit will comfort you and help you through this.

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