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The grieving of the Holy Spirit

Ephesians 4:30

"30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption."

  When a person speaks against what the Lord speaks, it is grievous to the Holy Spirit. The context surrounding the above verse bears this out:

    "25 Therefore, putting away lying, "[Let] each one [of you] speak truth with his neighbor," for we are members of one another. ... 29 Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. 32 And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.”

    A clearer picture of this concept can be gained by examining the marital relationship- which is a metaphor for the redeemed man's relations with God.

    A husband and wife have a conversation about finances. The husband says to the wife; “I do not wish for you to work outside of the home and I will, through my income, provide for all of your needs and buy you the things that you want.” The wife agrees to be a housewife and is now free to set about overseeing her household. This goes on for a while and there is not a time when the wife goes without a need or a want being met. Then one day, the wife is having a conversation with her girlfriend and says; “ I would love to come to lunch with you but, I cannot. You see, I am very worried about my money. I just don’t know if my husband will provide me the extra money for a lunch and for all of the electricity, water, and rent this month. I think I am going to have to go get job because I just want to make sure that I can make it financially.” The wife says this to her friend without realizing that the husband has already paid those bills that month and had extra left over and is standing behind her waiting to provide the money for the lunch he knows she is about to ask him for. He has overheard the conversation and is devastated by her mistrust, for he has given her no reason not to trust him in any and all circumstances. He is grieved. 

    Let us further examine the heart of God to understand how we might grieve him by illuminating another facet of  a human relationship. Let us take for example an orphaned child. This child is adopted and greatly loved by his adoptive father. The father changes the child’s surname in order to identify that the child is now a new member of the family. The child, having spent some of his life with his natural parents has learned some of the behaviors that caused his parent’s deaths and so exhibits them in everyday life. The new, adoptive father can see how detrimental these behaviors were and will be to the child so, being a good father begins the process of eradicating them from the heart and mind of the child and replacing them with their more productive counterparts. The child is learning his new identity. One day, the child is on the playground with some classmates who know of the adoption. They have seen adopted children before who, even though their names were changed, they themselves remained the same. The classmates, being full of envy at the amount of love being bestowed upon the adopted child begin to deride the child and to tell him that they don’t think he is changed or will change. They begin to call him names that identify him with who he used to be simply because their experience dictates their actions and they either do not see or do not recognize the changes that have begun in the life of the adopted child. The child, with so much opposition in his heart and a shallow root system in his new family, returns home and begins to exhibit actions based on what the classmates said to and about him. His father is grieved.

    At last, let us combine the wife from the first story and the adopted child from the second and put them into one family where the father and the husband are one and the same. Let us say that then, that a situation arises that tempts the wife to fear lack and she gives in to the fear and becomes employed against her former agreement with her husband and his wishes. Let us also say that the child not only thinks about the accusations of his classmates but acts some of them out - defying what his father instructed him to do. The father, the husband, is grieved. However, the man sits down with his wife and says to her that he has taken care of the finances, he shows her the bank account and the expense ledger, and she can clearly see that there is more than enough money. Upon this revelation, instead of being thankful and overjoyed that she can do what she loves- be a housewife- and quit her job, she punishes herself by refusing to accept her husband’s money and continues working so that she is now in a state of exhaustion and ineffectiveness. The father sits down with the son and begins recalling recent events in the son’s life where he clearly displayed the actions that his adopted father taught him. The son, now having a clear understanding that he was getting better and making better choices comes under severe guilt at his recent behavior. The guilt drives him to believe that he truly has not changed and therefore provokes him to continue in the mindset and behaviors that killed his natural parents. The father, the husband, is grieved. 

    Both the wife, and the son, have exhibited pride in not allowing themselves to believe what the father, the husband said. They have refused to believe him in the face of any circumstance that would threaten what he said, and they have taken on their own faults as actions that deserve death instead of receiving the forgiveness the father, the husband offered. They have grieved this man. The friends of the wife have encouraged the wife to disbelieve in her husband’s provision because their own husbands have failed them, and they have envied the wife. The classmates of the child have derided the child and spoken evil to and about him because of their own misunderstandings and envious hearts. They too have grieved the father, the husband. 

    These two stories are exactly what Christians do to grieve the Spirit of the Lord. Unbelief in your heart will cause you fear and fear will result in incorrect actions. Once your incorrect actions are brought to light, the same unbelief will provoke you to “pay” for what you did wrong. Both of these mindsets and resulting actions not only grieve the Lord but are a detriment to your walk with God. They will keep you bound because neither of them receive what Jesus has done for you in your real life! 

    Do not grieve the Holy Spirit by unbelief, but through humility draw the grace of God toward you and your circumstance!

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