My church conducted a sermon series on the Holy Spirit. In our group discussion, we came across this verse about not grieving the Holy Spirit, which led me to search the original Greek to find out exactly what "grieve" means.
Grieve comes from the Greek word lupete, a type of deep heartache only experienced by two people who deeply love each other. It's the type of grief a person has after finding out his or her spouse is having an affair.
This is strong and frightening language. But it shows me two important things.
1) The Holy Spirit, who is God, has a deep love for me. He wants to know me, to talk with me, to be present with me, like in a marriage.
2) When I sin, I don't just make him sad, as I previously understood the word grieve to mean, but I actually commit an act akin to cheating on him.
Learning this breaks my heart. How often have I grieved the Spirit in this way by choosing idols instead of him?
God could have created me as a robot, programmed to love him. Things would have been much simpler. But he didn't. He gave me free will, with the full knowledge that it would allow me to grieve him by choosing to love other, lesser things.
God loves those he created with a deep, unending love. The Bible is clear about that. Because of this, he desires true, reciprocal love with his children in response.
I pray that this better understanding of the word grieve will be as transformative for you as it has been for me. As you and I move forward, may we not grieve the Holy Spirit by loving things of this world more than God.
Dear Jesus, forgive me for the times I've grieved your Spirit, and thank you for loving me in spite of all the wrongs I've done against you. Amen.
Go Deeper - To see this unconditional love in action, check out the story of Hosea and his unfaithful wife. Reflect on how amazing it is that God chooses to love us even when we are unfaithful. May that inspire you to keep Him the center of your life.
Read Further - Are you giving God the silent treatment? He longs to talk with you about anything that is bothering you.
Photo Credit: Ben White