The Holy Spirit can be grieved?

I was grieved as a parent when my children didn’t ask me for help, because the result was always negative. If they believed they knew better, for instance, it usually got them into trouble of some sort, which sometimes took a long time to resolve, which in turn put some heavy strains on our relationship. And if they insisted on trying to sort out difficult situations by themselves, it was heart rending watching them digging themselves deeper. Why could they not see that parents exist to help? It’s a simple rule of life played out billions of times every day, that parents all over the planet want the best for their kids, and will do anything to help them.

God’s like that too, Paul writes in Ephesians 3:20-21 – “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations.” God wants to help, he has the power to help, and he’ll never stop helping “throughout all generations.” Billions of times every day he’s helping people. His help is so huge it’s immeasurable. He exists to help.

But we live in a world, just as our kids do, where people “are darkened in their understanding and (are) separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts,” Ephesians 4:18. The rule of the world, also played out billions of times every day, is the endless steeling of minds against asking for help, or even believing help is needed, resulting in massive “ignorance” and a constant flow of dumb decisions “corrupted by deceitful desires” by people at all levels (verse 22), which in turn keeps them “separated from the life of God” and never able to experience life as God intended it when “his power is at work within us.”

Worse still, though, are those who DO have his power at work within them, who know that God is able to do immeasurably more than all they ask or imagine, who realize it’s God’s glory in the church to help them, and it’s all being done beautifully and perfectly by the Holy Spirit, who then get to thinking, just like my kids, that they know better and can sort out their difficult situations by themselves. No wonder Paul says in Ephesians 4:30, “And do not grieve the Holy Spirit, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption,” because not trusting the Spirit to see us safely through, when he wants to and can, is heart rending.

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