The “Grieve Not” Precedes the “Be Filled”
Ephesians 4:30; 5:18
There is probably no truth, or we could say, no person, as misunderstood as the Holy Spirit of God. The Holy Spirit is more than a good feeling, an emotion, or some force for good in the world. The Holy Spirit is God. He is just as much God as God the Father and God the Son. When a person is born again, it is the Spirit that quickens. The Holy Spirit resides within the saved individual. He seals us unto the day of redemption. He is our comforter and guide. He is our teacher and illuminator. Those of us who are saved are to live a life in submission to and under the leadership of the Holy Spirit of God.
As Paul is writing to the Ephesians, he mentions the Holy Spirit. In Chapter 5, we find the Bible command to be filled with the Spirit. This filling means absolutely surrendered to the Spirit of God and empowered by the Spirit for service. This filling of the Spirit is what makes us effective as Christians. We need more than the power of man to do the work of God. We must be filled with the Spirit.
Prior to the command to be Spirit-filled, we find in Chapter 4 the order to “grieve not the holy Spirit of God.” The word “grieve” means to upset, or bother, or sadden. We know what it is to grieve. All of us have done that. Did you know that you can cause the Holy Spirit within you to grieve? We can upset, sadden, and bother the Holy Spirit.
What grieves the Spirit? Anything and everything that doesn’t please God. Sin of all stripes. Besides the obvious, often preached on sins, consider that a critical spirit, unfaithfulness in walking with God, skipping church services, worldly music, and movies, and so on, grieve the Holy Ghost.
I hear much talk about and prayers offered regarding the power of God. Everyone wants the power, but I am here to say that the “grieve not” comes before the “be filled.” Until we can get to the place where we consciously set out to live each day in a Christ-honoring, Spirit-pleasing way, we cannot hope to be Spirit-filled. Pleas for power from a carnal Christian will not prevail with God. Cries for enduement from a worldly believer will not produce the power requested. It’s a pure life and a life pleasing to God that will be an empowered life.
It is our command and our duty and our privilege to be Spirit-filled, but this will be an impossibility unless we understand that the first order of business is to “grieve not the holy Spirit of God.”
"What peaceful hours I once enjoyed, How sweet their memory still! But they have left an aching void, The world can never fill. Return, thou sacred dove, return, Sweet messenger of rest, I hate the sins that made thee mourn, And drove thee from my breast. The dearest idol I have known, Whate'er that idol be, Help me to tear it from its throne, And worship only thee." -William Cowper
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Since 2006, Pastor Cooper has served as an evangelist and as a pastor, traveling across the nation holding revival meetings and preaching in Bible conferences. Pastor Cooper moved to join our staff in 2019 and is building the Tabernacle Bible Class. He and his wife, Desarae, are an incredible blessing to both the college and church families. Pastor and Mrs. Cooper have one son, Lincoln.