“Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.”—Ephesians 4:30 NASB
At some point we have all struggled with areas of our lives that either grieve the Holy Spirit, or certainly tiptoe the line. I know that I have tiptoed the line and grieved the Holy Spirit with some of my choices and decisions. While I am not where I was 12 years ago, and I am certainly a long way from where I was just last year, back in February of 2018, I still have moments of frustration and anger that I have to turn over to God before I allow myself to sin. After all, the Word says be angry but do not sin! Wasn’t that just a few verses before this one?
However, I know that getting angry and saying something harsh grieves the Holy Spirit, just as drinking to drunkenness, smoking marijuana (as it is illegal and we are commanded to obey the authority of the land), looking at porn (the statistic is 92 million viewers a day, most seeing nothing wrong with it—although consider that sex trafficking is one of the leading contributors to the billion dollar industry and the people on the screen may be doing what they are by force), having affairs, as well as having abortions, lying on or about others (slander), dishonoring parents and setting people up so that they may stumble and sin—definitely all of these are pretty clear examples of grieving the Holy Spirit.
Yet, we may not understand how we are grieving the Holy Spirit or what it means to grieve the Holy Spirit in other situations of our lives. We may be inclined to say we are living right and aren’t grieving the Holy Spirit. But, if we examine our lives, I am sure we will see where we might be if our hearts are not hardened stones.
So, what does it even mean? According to Lexham’s Theological Wordbook, grieve means to distress, to have hurt feelings, to make one feel sorry, and feeling deep sorrow. Now, to make one feel sorry is not someone needing to feel apologetic. It is actually more along the lines of the guilt-trip side of things. It is weird to think about guilt-tripping God, but when we hurt others by guilt-tripping them, I think of what Jesus said regarding what we have done for the least of these, we have likewise done for Him, too. If the good we do to and for others applies to Christ, logically, the bad we do to or for others can also be looked at as being done to Christ Himself, as well. Their hurt, His hurt, their pain, His pain. Gives us pause doesn’t it?
God commands us here through Paul to not grieve the Holy Spirit. Essentially, he is saying, don’t make the Holy Spirit feel deep sorrow for your choices, decisions and behavior. Basically, he is asking us not to break God’s heart by choosing selfishness and the sinful side of things. Ergo, if it hurts someone else, because it is done out of spite, selfishness, pride, ego, arrogance, control, or vengeance, then it is safe to say it has grieved the Holy Spirit.
Now, to avoid grieving the Holy Spirit, there are a few things that you can do. The first is to spend time in the Bible so that you know what a true relationship with Christ is, because He is not vague on what to do and not do. In fact, I would recommend reading the New Testament, particularly the Gospel of John and Romans. Further, to avoid grieving the Holy Spirit, the Golden Rule is a great instruction as you read, seek God in prayer and grow deeper in your understanding of the Lord.
As believers who have been sealed for the day of redemption, there are a few things that we can also do to help each other not grieve the Holy Spirit. We can choose forgiveness, humility and kindness; we can show love, mercy and extend grace. We can refrain from inciting others or stirring the pot. We can choose to encourage, be supportive and understand we are all human. We all make mistakes and we all have caused hurts for others. Some much greater than others. However, choosing to repent, ask God for forgiveness and doing what He requires is a step in the right direction. Especially when you pause to ask yourself: “Would this grieve the Holy Spirit?”
Until Next Time