And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.
Ephesians 4:30-32 ESV
Imagine what the church would look like if we took the idea of grieving the Holy Spirit seriously. The fact that our behavior toward one another has such an effect on the Holy Spirit should show us that the things we do and say to each other have far reaching effects and are detrimental to our spiritual well being.
We that are in Christ have been sealed with the Holy Spirit, we are marked as God’s children with the Holy Spirit. We are to be different from the world, we are to be godly. Yet, Paul saw the need to remind the church at Ephesus to stop mistreating each other. He reminds them to be kind, tenderhearted, and forgiving toward one another. Why? Because God through Jesus had forgiven them.
Ephesians chapter four is about unity and getting along. Paul is reminding the church that they belong to the Lord and their lives need to show it. That was the message to the church then and is still the message today. The body of believers needs to get along. When we don’t, the Holy Spirit of God is grieved by our actions.
The ironic thing is that so often those that seek to bring unity to the body of Christ cause more bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, slander and malice thus defeating their purpose, and grieving the Holy Spirit of God. So often more discord in the body comes from those that are claiming to be doing God’s will, bringing others back into unity.
Their motivation may be good, but the heart attitude needs adjustment. Accusations, name calling, and belligerence will not bring about the unity that the Lord wants in His people. These things will only bring further division within the body of Christ and derision from those outside of the body. These things grieve the Spirit because they defeat the cause of Christ.
Paul’s advice to the Ephesians must be headed by believers today. We must seek unity in the body, but in a way that bring glory to God. Not in a way that damages the image of the church before the watching world.
“If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.” Romans 12:18 ESV
Let’s not grieve the Spirit…
© 2015 leo J. Woodman