Grieving the Spirit

As we continue our conversation from Ephesians chapter 4 about putting on the new self, we come to this admonition, “And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption” (Eph 4:30).  How do we bring grief to the Holy Spirit?

In the context of Ephesians chapter 4, I think one of the primary ways we grieve the Holy Spirit is to not believe all that Scripture teaches about His presence and work in our lives.  Or to press a little deeper, maybe it is not so much about what we say we believe, but rather do we live like He is an active presence inside you and me?  Do we live like we believe it?

God has promised incredible power and peace in our lives through the Holy Spirit’s indwelling.  When we fail to believe or act on these promises, we bring grief to the God that lives inside.

“Now on the last day, the great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out saying, ‘If any man is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink.  He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, “From his innermost being shall flow rivers of living water.” ‘  But this He spoke of the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were to receive; for the Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified” (Jn 7:37-39).

In this passage, the Holy Spirit within is described as a river (Greek word POTAMOS; translated flood, torrent, or river).  Figuratively speaking, the Holy Spirit within you and me is likened to a powerful river anxious to break free and flood our lives.  But all too often, we put flow-restrictors in the Spirit’s path.

Remember back to the seventies and the first efforts at conserving energy, water, etc?  All the apartment building superintendents installed flow-restrictors in the shower heads to conserve water.  As the white knight in my new marriage, I took it upon myself to remove the flow-restrictors at every opportunity to provide us the shower of power we enjoyed.

What about the flow of the Spirit in your life?  Have we put flow-restrictors in the Spirit’s path?  Coming full circle to how we grieve the Holy Spirit, I think unbelief is the number one flow restrictor we allow, and it slows down the Spirit’s power.

Unbelief is a huge issue to God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.  Unbelief is what kept the children of Israel out of the promised land.  “And so we see that they [the children of Israel] were not able to enter [the promised land] because of unbelief” (Heb 4:19).

The author of the book of Hebrews goes on to explain how unbelief keeps the present-day believer away from God’s rest; the peace and power given us through His Spirit.  Faith, on the other hand, brings us into the promised land of power and freedom that comes through the Spirit.  This is the promise.  Believe it and act upon it; and you will bring joy, not grief, to the Holy Spirit.