Did you know that we can grieve the Holy Spirit? But what does that mean? And how do we do that? Is there a difference between quenching the Spirit of God and grieving Him? If you don’t know the answers, then let’s study the Word together to see what it tells us so we don’t grieve the Spirit of God.
There are two Scripture verses with these words in them. Let’s look at them first before we go further.
Ephesians 4:30 says And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.
1 Thessalonians 5:19 says Quench not the Spirit.
Are these verses talking about the same thing? Let’s look at the meaning of “grieve” and “quench” from Vine’s Expository Dictionary.
Quench = 4570 (Strong’s) is used metaphorically as of “quenching” the Spirit, by hindering His operations in oral testimony in the church gatherings of believers, (1 Thess 5:19).
Grieve = 3076 (Strong’s) is used in the active voice as of grieving the Holy Spirit of God (as indwelling the believer); (Eph 4:30).
So what does this mean?
Quench means to put out or stop the move of the Spirit when believers are gathered together.
Grieve means present tense when believers cause pain, grief or distress to the Holy Spirit because of our actions.
Quenching is what you do to the Spirit of the Living God while grieving is how He responds to your actions.
With these meanings in mind, let’s look at the verses again for context.
Read Paul’s teaching in Ephesians 4 (click the link to read the whole chapter). He is teaching us to do a few things worthy of our vocation.
- We are to put away the old conversation, the old man
- We are to put away the lying, stealing and all things pertaining to the old life
- and be renewed in our minds (Eph 4: 1, 22-23).
- and do the right thing of being kind to one another and tenderhearted and forgiving each other.
When we put away the old nature and take on the new nature, the opposite of grief is happening. The Spirit is joyful with us. When we do the deeds of the flesh, we distress and grieve the Spirit of God.
In the Thessalonian passage (1 Thess 5:19), Paul is teaching the believers about the coming of the Lord and to stay alert in the light. He is reminding them to
- stay in unity and be kind to one another.
- Rejoice, pray, give thanks and don’t quench the Spirit by despising prophesying.
- Prove or test all things and abstain from the appearance of evil.
Doing these things will be pleasing to the Holy Spirit. Not doing them will be like extinguishing the fire of the Spirit in our lives.
So, now we know the text verses so let’s see how we grieve or quench the Spirit today.
5 Things that Grieve the Spirit of God
1 — Disobey the Holy Spirit
When we put on the armour of God and take up our shield, we are extinguishing the fiery darts of the enemy. In the same way, because the Spirit of God dwells within us, when we ignore His leading or disobey Him, or when we put down our shield of faith, we are extinguishing the Holy Spirit’s fire in us. When we pick and choose what we want to obey in the Word of God, we quench the Spirit which grieves Him.
All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: 2 Timothy 3:16.
We don’t get to choose what we will obey and what we will ignore.
Related Post: How the Holy Spirit Improves Your Life
2 — Deny the Holy Spirit
Do not shun the work of the Holy Spirit within our lives. He is our Comforter, our Healer, our Teacher, our everything. Holy Spirit is the power in our lives. He knows what we need and can and will supply that. When we think we do not need Him, that other avenues are the solution, then we are rejecting the work of the Spirit which is quenching Him and we grieve the Spirit of God.
John wrote in his epistle, 1 John 2:20, 27 that we have an unction from the Holy One and ye know all things; but the anointing ye have received of him abideth in you and ye need not that any man teach you; but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him.
Another way we deny the Spirit is when we shut down the moving of the Holy Spirit in our fellowship gatherings. When the Spirit is ready to move in our midst, our self-made agenda causes us to be insensitive to His leading and we miss out on what He wants to do among us.
He may have wanted to give a message through the gifts of the Spirit but we used a water hose to extinguish His fire. He may have wanted us to praise and worship in the Spirit. There are a number of ways He wants to express Himself but instead, we put out the fire.
So, by denying the power and move of the Holy Spirit, we quench the Spirit and our actions grieve the Spirit of God.
3 — Don’t Apply the Word of Truth in Your Life
James wrote to the saints that we should be doers of the word and not hearers only (James 1:22.) This means that we apply what we learn from the Word of God so that we are fulfilling what it teaches. We should be seeking diligently how we ought to live in holiness and righteousness.
Both Paul and John teach how we should walk in the light as He is in the light. This means we are doers of the Word. It is when we stop applying the truth to our lives that we quench the Spirit and thereby we grieve the Spirit of God.
4 — Don’t Want God’s Will
God has a plan for your life and mine. His will is that we follow the truths in His Word and live them out. I read this verse today, Psalm 31:1 In Thee, O Lord, do I put my trust; let me never be ashamed: deliver me in thy righteousness. We need to trust in Him and when we think we can do life on our own, we are denying His will for us and we grieve the Spirit of God.
When we focus only on ourselves, we grieve the Spirit of God. When we have an attitude of “me, me, me” or when we have an attitude of not caring about others or when we develop apathy towards the things of God, we grieve the Holy Spirit. God wants us to think of others. We are members of the body of Christ and when we ignore our Christian family, we are not living out His will for us.
Related Post: The Role of the Holy Spirit in the Church
5 — Don’t Rely on the Spirit
God gave us His Spirit to enable us, to be our strength, to give us power in the name of Jesus. When we rely on our own strength to work out the solutions we need, we are not relying on the Spirit of God. Holy Spirit is our source of power but when we ignore His power, we quench the Spirit and that grieves the Spirit of God.
Jesus said in Acts 1:8 But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.
We cannot share the gospel or witness our testimony to others without His power, without the Holy Spirit. We cannot do this in our strength.
There isn’t anything we can do for the Lord in our own strength. We need to rely on the Spirit of God. The Spirit enables us to do all things through Him. When we rely on ourselves, we quench Him and we grieve the Holy Spirit.
Let’s remember not to get this confused with the unforgivable sin that Jesus spoke of in Matthew 12. That is a whole other study which is explained in this post, The Unforgivable Sin: What is It? As well, we look at whether God can forgive the sin of suicide.
That’s a Wrap
There are other ways that we can grieve the Spirit of God. Basically, anything we do that excludes the Trinity is grieving the Holy Spirit.
Grieving the Spirit is also done collectively as a group which, individually, we have no control over. We also grieve Him as individuals. I know you don’t want to grieve Him. Your heart breaks at the thought of that, just as mine does.
In order not to grieve Him, let’s choose to be doers of the word and not hearers only. By applying what we learn from the Word to our lives, we will please God.
When the Spirit is moving in you, let Him move. Maybe you’re praying for someone and you sense in your spirit to pray in a certain direction, then do it. Be sensitive and obedient to the still, small voice of God.
Read your Bible, study the Word, commune with God daily, be transformed by the renewing of your mind (Romans 12:2) and walk the talk. Live out what you are learning from the Word.
Let your life be in one accord with the Spirit and put a smile on His face.
Penny for your thoughts? I’d love to hear what you think about this topic. Please leave a comment for me.
Cindy Barnes has been called by God in the early 80s to be a teacher of His Word. She is a serious student of the Word, focusing on the Inductive Bible Study Method since 2007. Her passion is to teach women how to study the Bible using this method. In addition, she desires for women to develop an intense yearning to draw closer to God through reading and writing out the Bible.
Cindy teaches hundreds of women in her private online Bible Study Group who express their joy of growing deeper in their spiritual walk.
You can stay in touch with Cindy on Facebook through 215 Ministry.