Do Not Grieve The Spirit
"And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption" (Eph 4:30).
This scripture, and again in Isaiah 63:10, warns us against grieving the Holy Spirit. Have you ever grieved? Perhaps the death of a loved one, a severe injury, or a traumatizing experience has led you through a period of intense grief. Grief can last momentarily, a few days, or even a few years. If you've been through a period of grief before or are grieving now, whatever the reason, you know that it's an unpleasant, heart-breaking experience, one that constantly pricks to feel a deep pain unlike any other. If you have never been through a stage of grief, some might describe the period as an overwhelming feeling of sadness and/or numbness; a total loss of motivation or an intense desire to be freed of the undesirable mind trap with no visible end in sight. Like us when we grieve, the Holy Spirit feels deeply.
The Holy Spirit grieves when we don't allow him to transform us. The Holy Spirit grieves like a parent who's lost his child, and He is unfortunately and too often grieving the lifestyle of Christ's followers. God "sealed" us with the Spirit, meaning to set us apart and transform us into His child, protecting us from the world and affirming his eternal promise of salvation. God didn't give us the Spirit haphazardly, but with the expressed purpose of us becoming like Him. When we have the Spirit and live like we don't have the Spirit, He is in pain. God gave us his Spirit in order for us to live like Him, and when the zeal and transformative power of God within us is wasted, so is our capacity to please God at all. When we live in sin, I imagine the Holy Spirit running to the Father weeping, crying out "Why is he doing this!" Our sin not only affects us and others, but it also affects God tremendously.
The Spirit's mission is to glorify Christ (Jn 16:14), and "all those led by God’s Spirit are God’s sons" (Rom 8:14). In the same vein, those without God's Spirit are not sons; they neither belong to God, nor can they glorify Him (Rom 8:8). The Spirit inside of us is intended to "guide us into all truth" (Jn 16:13), but when we live in mediocrity, being transformed by the world instead of by Him, settling for a lifestyle of acceptable sin, God weeps within us. It is torture for the Holy Spirit to live within us when we become slaves to our sin.
How Can We Live In It Any Longer?
"How can we who died to sin still live in it?" (Romans 6:2) In our own lives, God has taught us his way of love and grace through his Son and His Spirit, who lives inside of us. The Spirit's work within us is intended to produce a Godly lifestyle which mirrors the life Jesus lived, but our rebellion causes Him to die within us. 1 Thessalonians 5:19 says: "Do not quench the Spirit." Another word for quench is "suppress" or "extinguish." Just like a neglected bonfire, the Spirit is snuffed in our lives if we don't protect ourselves from the pollution of the world. The promised Spirit is meant to teach and remind us of Jesus, and to produce in us the Godly life that God desires.
God gives us the Spirit to free us from ourselves, and to give us the strength we need to live a life of faith. It is only through the Spirit that we can please God (Rom 8:8). The Spirit speaks the words of Jesus to us (Jn 14:13), and reminds us of the Son (Jn 14:26). He produces fruit in our lives when we walk alongside him, but when we rebel and walk according to our flesh, his heart breaks, and he grieves.
Questions to consider:
Do I have the Holy Spirit inside of me? Maybe you aren't sure about this question but would like to know more. The Bible is clear about receiving the Holy Spirit. If you'd like to know more, consider emailing me or reading Douglas Jacoby's article.
What are some ways I can live in step with the Spirit? Galatians 5:25 says, "Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit." Paul also writes in Galatians that the Spirit desires what is contrary to the flesh. The best way to walk in step with the Spirit is to first stop walking in step with the fleshly desires of the sinful nature.
How might I be grieving the Holy Spirit? This might require a bit more consideration and reflection. Maybe a mindset or perspective is pessimistic and quenching the Spirit's joy, or maybe it's a lifestyle of lust or anger that's snuffing the zeal and fervor of God within you. You may find out something about yourself you didn't know was there.
We are given "grace upon grace" (Jn 1:16), and our repentance and decision to walk by the Spirit can and will bring about the righteous life that God desires.
For more on the Holy Spirit, see my last three newsletters.