Am I grieving the Holy Spirit? What does that even mean? How am I to know if I am grieving Him?
Ephesians 4:30: “And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.” In this case the word grieve is used as a verb, meaning: “to cause to feel grief or sorrow.” In other words, the Scripture is exhorting me not to cause the Holy Spirit to feel grief or sorrow as a result of my choices. I grieve the Holy Spirit by not allowing myself to be led by Him, but choosing my own way instead. I grieve the Holy Spirit by not obeying Him.
When I realize that I cannot live a life ofwithout the help of the Holy Spirit, it becomes very important to me how I respond to the Holy Spirit when He speaks to me. First of all, I have to listen to His voice!
We live in a fast-paced society, and most of us live a fast-paced lifestyle, with fast travel, fast communication, fast access to a wealth of information, etc. If in the middle of this I do not consciously “set my mind on the things of the Spirit,” I will not be able to hear His still, small voice in my heart of hearts. When I do not listen to Him, I end up grieving the Holy Spirit, because He has so much to tell me that will bring me joy and happiness, and lead me to a life of freedom from sin and self.
Grieving the Holy Spirit by disobedience
Jesus called the Holy Spirit “The Helper,” and also said: “When He, the Spirit of truth is come, He will guide you into all truth.” John 16:13. All Christians are called to follow in the footsteps of Jesus, He who did no sin. I need to be led step by step because I cannot find the way by myself.
The Spirit will never force me—He wants to lead me into a life of victory, the happiest and most fulfilling life a person can ever live. The Holy Spirit will always lead me on a path of humility because He knows that is the only access road to an overcoming life. I grieve the Holy Spirit by not allowing myself to be led, but choosing my own way instead.
God gives His Holy Spirit to those who obey Him. The Bible makes it clear that the Holy Spirit and the flesh—our human nature—are in total opposition to each other. So I cannot live according to my natural inclinations and at the same time obey the Spirit. That is why we read in Ephesians 4:30-31, “Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God … let all bitterness, wrath, anger, loud quarrelling, and evil speaking be put away from you with all malice.” I grieve the Holy Spirit by not obeying Him.
Overcome sin by the Holy Spirit
The good news is that the Holy Spirit is also the One who gives me power to obey and power to overcome all these tendencies in my nature! When God sees my sincere desire to obey Him, He will send His Holy Spirit to help me do just that. Jesus told His disciples that they would receive power when the Holy Spirit came upon them. Just like a thirsty person in the desert drinks deeply from a spring of fresh water, I must drink deeply of God’s Holy Spirit—be filled with His Spirit—if I want to live an abundant Christian life
But grieving the Holy Spirit is totally unnecessary! He knows that we are weak, and that we don’t even know what to pray for in the right way, but He is there to help us in our need, and to pray for us so that we can find God’s will and do it. (Romans 8:26-27) Then we will truly experience the comfort of the Holy Spirit as well as His power.
Read more on our topic page about The Holy Spirit.