“Do not grieve the Holy Spirit … Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” (Ephesians 4:30-32)
The Bible includes warnings about grieving the Spirit and hindering his work.
Ananias and Sapphira lied to the church and the Holy Spirit (Acts 5:1-10). They sold a piece of property, kept some of the money, and gave the rest to the church. That wasn’t a bad thing, of course, but then they lied about their gift, saying they donated all of the money from the sale. They wanted people to be impressed by their generosity. But they could not get away with their deception. If we make a false commitment to God, pretending we are following the Spirit and even bragging about it, we fall into dangerous hypocrisy.
Following our own selfish desires, we can quench or suppress the Spirit. We can dampen the Spirit’s fire by not following the Spirit’s leading. We can refuse to use the gifts of the Spirit when they are available. But if we do things like that, how can we expect to be faithful and useful to God?
We can also grieve the Spirit by rebelling against God and doing as we please (see Isaiah 63:10). We can be stubborn and mean-spirited. Instead of being kind and compassionate, we can act with bitterness and anger. We can be unwholesome and immoral.
How can we protect ourselves from these destructive ways? We can ask the Holy Spirit to fill us and guide us each day so that we can live in step with him. Then God can use us in wonderful ways.
Protect us, Lord, from grieving and quenching your Spirit. Fill us and direct us to follow your will, not our own. Amen.