What does grieving the Holy Spirit mean?

How do we grieve the Holy Spirit?

Grieving the Holy Spirit. Photo by Benjamin Asmussen.

When I first became a Christian, I didn’t really understand Who or What the Holy Spirit was or what ‘grieving the Holy Spirit’ could mean. I was terrified that I could offend God unintentionally and so lose Him forever.

Our Father later showed me that the Holy Spirit is none other than God Himself and that it is obvious that we offend Him if we do what we are not supposed to. He also revealed that if I was worried about losing the Holy Spirit and offending Him, then I was on the right track – it is when you couldn’t care less that the trouble begins.

God is with us at all times by the presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives. The Holy Spirit within us guides and teaches us the things of God and reveals the truth to us in the Bible and the world around us. As the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of God, the Third Person of the Trinity, to live in accordance with the Holy Spirit is to please God and to grieve or insult the Holy Spirit, as the Bible says we are capable of doing, is to grieve Almighty God Himself.

Grieving the Holy Spirit

Grieving the Holy Spirit illustration

The Bible tells us that, if we are not careful, we can grieve the Holy Spirit and push God away by what we say and do on a daily basis.
This photograph, taken by Lawrence OP, is of a stained glass window in St George’s Cathedral in London, England, and depicts the Holy Spirit as a dove.

The Bible tells us that we can:

  • Insult the Spirit of God by deliberately continuing to sin after we know what is true;

Hebrews 10:26-29
For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries. He that despised Moses’ law died without mercy under two or three witnesses: Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?

  • Lie to the Holy Spirit;

Acts 5:3-4
But Peter said, Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost, and to keep back part of the price of the land? Whiles it remained, was it not thine own? and after it was sold, was it not in thine own power? why hast thou conceived this thing in thine heart? thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God.

  • Resist the Holy Spirit by disagreeing or fighting against what He is telling us;

Acts 7:51
Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye.

  • Quench (suffocate, extinguish or suppress the influence of) the Spirit in our lives;

1 Thessalonians 5:19
Quench not the Spirit.

  • Grieve the Holy Spirit and make Him sad or offended by failing to live together in love, by telling lies, being angry, stealing and not being kind, tender-hearted or forgiving.

Ephesians 4:29-32
Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers. And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.

We must be very careful, because if we continually refuse to listen to the Spirit and instead choose to offend God, even though He is patient, He will eventually stop speaking to us. We must therefore make every effort to become more acquainted with the sound of God’s voice. If we do this, then we will truly be following in the footsteps of Jesus and on the right path in life. We must try our hardest to listen and acknowledge what He is saying to us and pray for assistance in order to obey God’s wishes in our everyday lives.

As it is not possible to live an abundant life and overcome our struggles with sin without the power of the Holy Spirit in our lives, we must be very careful to listen to His voice and respond when He speaks. When God sees that we are willing to find out what He wants, He will help us through His Spirit and even pray on our behalf so that we can find His will and then do it.

Romans 8:26-27
Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.
And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God.

By living in obedience to the Holy Spirit within us we will experience both God’s power and His comfort.

Grieving the Holy Spirit: What are the consequences?

Here are four consequences of grieving the Holy Spirit:

  1. Our study of the Bible will become dry and boring;
  2. We will lose the assurance of being saved and peace and comfort will be difficult to find;
  3. We will not display the fruits of the Spirit such as kindness, love and self-control;
  4. Our ability to tell right from wrong will be compromised.

Do you recognise any of these troubles in your own life? If we find ourselves in this situation, we should examine ourselves, recognise the sins in our life and where we have quenched the Holy Spirit and repent and ask for forgiveness.

1 John 1:9
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

God is patient and faithful towards us, so be confident that He will forgive you and return to walking in step with the Spirit of Christ.

As you read the full Bible verses about the Holy Spirit, consider the times when you have been grieving the Holy Spirit and make a resolution to avoid doing it again.

More articles about the Holy Spirit:
Bible verses about the Holy Spirit
What does living a Spirit-filled life mean?
What are the gifts and fruits of the Spirit?

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