The other day I was helping a friend put in an air conditioner, and as we dropped it into place, the skin on the side of my little finger got pinched between the AC and the window frame. My immediate response was, “Ouch, That hurt!” All of a sudden, I wasn’t a happy camper like I was just moments before. When I calmed down a bit, I realized that I was the one who had been careless, and it caused me a lot of pain.
Over the last three months, we’ve been contemplating what our relationship with the Holy Spirit has to do with our living to love with Jesus. We’ve seen that our relationship with Jesus is only as good as our relationship with the Holy Spirit. We are to walk by the Spirit, be filled with the Spirit, and not quench the Spirit. There’s a fourth practice given to us in the Scriptures, which will be the focus of this Chariot of Fire blog.
Have you ever thought about the Holy Spirit’s response to your carelessness? We are told in the Scriptures that we are one with the Spirit. “But the one who joins himself to the Lord is one spirit with Him” (1 Cor. 6:17). So the Holy Spirit is a part of every event in a believer’s life. Can you imagine what He experiences when we do or say something that brings reproach to Jesus or doesn’t represent Him accurately? Maybe, like I did the other day, He says, “Ouch, That hurt!”
Do not grieve the Holy Spirit
Not grieving the Spirit is the fourth vital practice in our relationship with the Holy Spirit. If we make a practice of being careless about what the Holy Spirit enjoys and what He hates, it won’t be long before our souls are cold and uninviting toward those God puts in our paths each day. We’ll stop thinking about their needs and how we can bring Jesus to them, and we’ll focus instead on what we enjoy or hate. In the past week, I’ve talked with several people who were grieving deeply. In each case, they had suffered great loss—the death of a loved one or the failure of a marriage. Watching them grieve made me think about what makes the Holy Spirit grieve.
When believers are admonished not to grieve the Holy Spirit by specific sins, it is because the Spirit of God is aware that when we sin in those ways, Jesus’ name suffers a deep loss. Paul wrote, “Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption” (Ephesians 4:30). My understanding of the term grieve is that it entails causing distress or great sorrow. Like any other person we know, apparently the Holy Spirit can be grieved by our words and actions. When that happens, not only do we suffer, but so does anyone who enters our paths at that time, because they are having to drink from a well that’s polluted with self. Of even more concern is the damage that occurs to the name of Jesus by our words and actions that don’t match the righteousness and love of Christ.
The Holy Spirit has not left us ignorant of what grieves Him. Please take a look at Ephesians 4:25-5:4. You’ll notice that Paul identified specific sins both before and after he told the Ephesians not to grieve the Holy Spirit. It seems wise and practical for us to learn that the Holy Spirit grieves when we do these things, because they are a part of the old self which we have been called to put away. Though the list is not comprehensive, these are the things Paul said cause the Holy Spirit great sorrow:
- Speaking falsehood
- Giving the devil opportunity through anger
- Unwholesome speech (words that don’t edify those who hear)
- Clamor (tumultuous outcrying)
- Filthy or silly talk
- Coarseness in speech
Our vision is to live to love with Jesus. All of the sins on this list have to do with relationships. This begs the question: How is your relationship with the Holy Spirit? Are you walking with Him as if your life depended upon His presence and pleasure with you? Do you desire to be filled with Him each day? I hope you are careful not to quench or grieve Him. If you can commit any of these sins without an awareness that you have grieved or offended the Holy Spirit, then probably you have rationalized these behaviors and convinced yourself that it’s okay to do them, or else you have repeated them so often without confession and repentance that now you are hardened to the sins as well as to the Holy Spirit Himself. Since love is the fruit of the Holy Spirit, I hope you can see that such sins will block the love of Christ and that He cannot flow through a channel that has been so restricted.
Imagine an artery in the heart that is blocked by plaque buildup to the point that it is life-threatening. When this occurs, there are symptoms signaling an impending heart attack, which may be fatal. A friend of mine recently went through such an experience. He had an emergency surgery to have a stint inserted in an artery so the blood could flow sufficiently to supply what his heart needed for life. In the same way, if your spiritual arteries have hardened due to any of these sins listed above, then you are on the verge of a spiritual heart attack. A callousness to these sins and the Holy Spirit are symptoms that your love channel, which carries spiritual life, suffers from a buildup of fleshly plaque. You need an emergency surgery!
Restoration with the Holy Spirit comes through an awareness of the problem, confession of what has caused the hardening of your spiritual arteries, and repentance. As the Holy Spirit guides you in restoring your relationship with Him and the love channel is cleared, you will be amazed at the changes in your spiritual health and growth. If you are to live to love with Jesus, your relationship with the Holy Spirit must be healthy and free from these blockages. Then you’ll be able to walk with, be filled with, not quench, and not grieve the Holy Spirit, and the love of God will flow freely through you to those God puts in your path.
If we grow in practicing these four aspects of our relationship with the Holy Spirit, we are sure to grow in Christlikeness and be empowered to live to love with Jesus. We need His anointing if we are to live to love, do we not? If we are going to spend the rest of our lives living to love with Jesus and making disciples who do the same, we can be sure that we will not only have no regrets when we come to the end of our lives and take our stand in His presence, but we will experience the joy of Jesus that He promised to those who abide in Him and love others. After telling His disciples to love one another and to abide in Him, Jesus explained why He told them to do so. “These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full. (John 15:11). I hope you’ll heighten your sensitivity to the Holy Spirit and grow in discerning what pleases Him and what grieves Him, just like you do with anyone else you love and care for.
I hope you’ll join me now in praying what I call the i-live2love prayer. Living to love with Jesus has everything to do with sensitivity to and being filled with the Holy Spirit.
Father in heaven, thank you for another day of life to live to know and to love You and to live to love with Jesus. Anoint and fill me with the Holy Spirit, the presence and power of Christ, so that I can love and trust You and love those You put in my path today, for Your glory. Amen