Ephesians 4:30 says, “And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.”
What exactly does it mean to “grieve the Holy Spirit of God”? How can we avoid grieving the Holy Spirit?
In this devotion, I will be trying to answer these questions.
What Does it Mean
I believe the first part of the answer lies in the next verse, Ephesians 4:31, which says,
“Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.”
You see it everywhere today, riots, shooting, anger, bitterness, hatred for anyone who might have different views from you. Every night when I watch the news, there’s another shooting or some horrific, indescribable crime because of the hatred and evil that permeates society. However, it all stems from the unforgiveness and bitterness that we all carry around inside each one of us.
How many of you have ever been bitter over someone hurting you in some way? Or filled with righteous anger over some injustice that was done? You want to take things into your own hands because they deserve it and you want them to know just how hurt you were and want them to pay for what they did? What about slander? How many of us have ever talked badly about someone, perhaps in polite conversation? Maybe you never intended to hurt the other person and just got carried away?
We all have done something to “grieve the Holy Spirit of God” as it says in Ephesians 4:30. We don’t mean to or want to, but, nevertheless, it still happens. I think the Apostle Paul said it well when he said,
“I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do- this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.” Romans 7:15-20
I don’t like it when I let bitterness and anger take over but because of sin, it happens. It crepes on me when I am not expecting it and usually comes disguised as “righteous” anger, “injustice”, or they “deserve” to be punished. However, if we all got what we deserved none of us would be here.
I thank God every day for his forgiveness and mercy and for taking my place on the cross. I don’t deserve salvation, none of us do. It is a free gift from God and there is nothing you can ever do to earn it. The only thing we can do is humbly accept it and pass it on.
How to Avoid it
This leads me to the next question. How can we avoid grieving the Holy Spirit? The answer lies in Ephesians 4:32 which says,
“Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”
As Christians, it is our responsibility to share the gospel. Instead of letting righteous indignation or anger take over, remember how much Jesus did for you. Be kind and compassionate to each other, to those who “don’t deserve it” because none of us deserve the gift of salvation. If Jesus already paid the full penalty of sin by dying a horrible death on the cross in our place, can’t we be more generous and forgiving to those who wrong us? Isn’t is up to us to lead by following his example?
It is our responsibility as well as our privilege to extend forgiveness, mercy, and love to those around us. The disciples counted it all joy to suffer for the sharing the gospel. Can we not do the same?
I don’t know about you, but when I let anger and malice and bitterness take over, I feel pretty miserable and God seems very far away. In fact, the more I give in to bitterness, the more it seems to grow. In the same way, when I am able to extend love and mercy and compassion to others, I feel closer to God. I am much happier and it is just as contagious.
Call to Action
So, today, why not take a heart inventory and turn over any anger, bitterness, rage or any other form of malice to God. Ask him for his forgiveness and let’s do our best to stop grieving the Holy Spirit as it says in Ephesians 4:30. Let’s make a difference in the lives of the people around us for the good and extend the same grace that Jesus extended to us.