The Suffering of the Spirit

We easily recognize the sufferings of Christ, but did you ever think of the sufferings of the Holy Spirit? What verses of the Bible tell us how the Spirit can suffer?

Misbehavior in a healthy church cannot be tolerated or if it is permitted, the church would put itself in opposition to God. What if there was a victim of a tornado who refused the help of rescuers? What if a friend loaned money to someone close to him, but that friend did not show any sign of appreciation? What if the person made way for a friend to be hired and get a great job, but the new employee sabotaged the work and the leadership of the employer?

All these examples show a lack of appreciation and a resulting pain on others.  In the long run the person hurts himself. All these behaviors are preventable and curable; so, we must realize the Christian life must be in tune with God so that the believer does not bring suffering to the Holy Spirit.

I offer seven examples from the Bible how believers can bring suffering to the Holy Spirit. And I will give you examples of how that happens. Also, will suggest to you about the consequences of this misbehavior either as an individual’s private life or in the church family.

The Holy Spirit came to us at salvation, but we may not realize how He may not be active in our lives and bring us a victorious spiritual experience. That could be a consequence of her own behavior and attitude preventing the Holy Spirit from doing what he wants in our lives.

Jesus spoke in the 12th chapter of Matthew. He healed people and then was verbally attacked by the Pharisees. They made false statements and were malicious in their efforts. In their conversation with Jesus somehow the topic migrated to the Holy Spirit. In verse 32 Jesus states that slander or blaspheme against the Holy Spirit is an unforgivable sin because. It is a presumption for anyone if he thinks he can say whatever he wants toward God and get away with it. To speak ill of the Holy Spirit is a terrible thing. It is so terrible that by the time the offender does this, his heart is so hard against God that he brought himself to the state which he will never believe and therefore never have a chance to go to heaven.

The next offense that brings suffering to the Holy Spirit is that of insulting Him. In Hebrews 10:29 the writer talks about the attitude of the person which includes pride and contempt and despising the work of God. This issue is a contentious and intentional effort to minimize the Holy Spirit as if He were nothing and his influence amounted to nothing. Furthermore, we are warned in the Scripture that the unbeliever will be subject to severe punishment even more so than what has been done against Christ. This is a picture of a person full of mercy and grace and love who only received contempt and hatefulness in response to His efforts.

The Old Testament even speaks of offenses against the Holy Spirit. How tragic it is that Isaiah 63:10 demonstrates people who are in such opposition against God are considered rebels. Their unbelief which migrated to hostile behavior showed itself as vexing or frustrating the Holy Spirit. This is a picture of someone who taxes the patience of the Holy Spirit by their behavior. They show resistance, incitement, irritation, and exasperation. Herein, the rebel is pushing God before He would intend to act. This is a reminder of a human being telling God to hurry up and do it according to human wants. Were it possible, could you imagine someone looking into the face of God and saying, “You did not do this in the right way or do it quick enough?” This is a sad state of one’s emotions and spiritual life.

Go back to the New Testament in Acts 7:51 to 53. These are some of the last word that the first martyr of the church spoke before he was murdered by stoning. He spoke this to Jews.  Stephen called them uncircumcised and stiff neck in heart and ears. He accused them of resisting the Holy Spirit. This was not misbehavior alone. It was overt opposition against the Spirit of God. This is the consequence of unbelief carried to the nth degree. These are people who, wanted nothing to do with God, but they wanted no one else to have anything to do with Him either. They were trying to push the Holy Spirit out the door. Of course, we know that salvation comes to believers by faith as a gift from God. These heretics wanted nothing to do with the God’s Revelation

Stay in the book of Acts and turned back to the fifth chapter and look at verse nine. There were two people who were members of the church where Peter was the leader. Their names are Ananias and Sapphira. As can happen today, these were people who would like to be included in the activities of the church but did not have a salvation experience. They also wanted glory and recognition from other church members. So, they lied about what they were giving to the church and what they held back for themselves. There was nothing wrong with holding some of their property or money back to themselves. It was wrong for them to say they did not hold anything back. In doing so they were lying to the Holy Spirit and tempting Him. They had no regard to the Holy Spirit that He was able to know about their plot for recognition. So, they tempted the Holy Spirit because they were insincere, but they were put to the test in verse three because Peter speaking through the influence of the Holy Spirit challenged them for their lie. They said to each other, “I don’t think they will catch up with us.”

Apparently, the Apostle Paul gained knowledge of misbehavior in certain members of the church of Thessalonica. In the fifth chapter of the first letter Paul wrote them, he made it very clear in a few a words. He said, “quench not the Spirit.” These were people that would just not participate of the spiritual movement within the church. Instead they were indifferent to the tempo of the worship service. Look about when you go to church on Sunday morning. See how much socialization is occurring before the service begins. The organ may be playing or other music as prelude, but that seems to make no difference because many people at that time think it’s more important to talk to their neighbor when they could have done it after service. They laugh and pat each other on the arm. They share experiences of children and grandchildren. They think it is not a distraction by their indifference. This can happen during the service itself in which they hinder the progress of the spiritual movement of the church. Words on one side of the building someone may be touched by the Holy Spirit and even brought to tears. On the other side of the building are people who turn around and chat passing notes as little children in school. They create a distraction without even caring and they damper whatever spiritual sensitivity might occur for other people around them. They might even talk during service or sip on coffee brought into the place of worship. Certainly, they benefit nothing in the service unless it’s an emotionally rush. And that is not worship!

We have been talking a lot about behavior and attitude, but what about a direct relationship with the Holy Spirit in which the behavior and attitude brings grief to the Spirit of God? Here the believer may have a path to heaven through salvation. Yet this person brings grief as if it were a gift. This person could be a troublemaker in the church. In fact, the trouble may be so severe it could bring spiritual and emotional and relationship experiences to the point of pain. This is affliction by frivolity. This is the person who has no spiritual depth. However, this is the person who seems to want to be the center of attention and have their way no matter what the Holy Spirit wants to do during the worship service. This is the person that says in essence, “Make sure you look at me.” Let me emphasize that this form of being self-centered brings grief to God’s Holy Spirit. Certainly, the grandmother or the grandfather would claim they did nothing wrong to interfere with the service. Yet, they don’t seem to mind grieving the Holy Spirit who has the ambition of bringing blessings during the worship service.

There is much alarm when we understand how easy it is to bring suffering to the Holy Spirit. What would it be like to members of the church to greet each other in short sentences and courteously, but sits down and listens to the music while saying prayers for others and for the success of the Holy Spirit to have his way in service? This isn’t just limited to the church. This takes into consideration the entire lifestyle of the so-called Christian. Part of spiritual growth is that we monitor our behavior or attitude make our speech interconnection to God’s Spirit. Let us not be found guilty of causing suffering to the Spirit of God.

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