Don’t Grieve the Holy Spirit

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And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. – Ephesians 4:30 ESV

Have you experienced the power of the Holy Spirit in your life? Throughout the Bible, we see men and women who have been changed by the Holy Spirit. One notable example is King Saul.

When we first met Saul, he was looking for his father’s donkeys. The prophet Samuel told him that God had another plan for him, one that involved the bestowing of the Holy Spirit.

“Then the Spirit of the LORD will come upon you, and you will prophesy with them and be turned into another man.“ And let it be, when these signs come to you, that you do as the occasion demands; for God is with you. 1 Samuel 10:6-7 NKJV

After Saul was anointed king, God changed his heart (1 Samuel 10:9). So much so that he prophesied with a group of prophets. The sight of Saul among the prophets was so amazing that those who knew him were stunned.

“What is this that has happened to the son of Kish? Is Saul also among the prophets?” 1 Samuel 10:11

When we read that the Spirit of God was with Saul, it’s exciting because it seems as if he has all the necessary resources to be a great king. In fact, before his first battle, the Spirit of the Lord came upon Saul and he defeated the Ammonites (1 Samuel 11:6-11).

God is with him, he shall not fail.

But that’s not how the story ends, is it? Within about two years of being king, Saul started exhibiting troubling behavior. It started when Saul decided to offer a sacrifice.

Don't Grieve the Holy Spirit
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Though he was king, he had no authority to offer the burnt offering. When Samuel asked Saul why he had, his reasoning was all tied up in self:

When I saw that the men were scattering, and that you did not come at the set time, and that the Philistines were assembling at Mikmash, I thought, ‘Now the Philistines will come down against me at Gilgal, and I have not sought the LORD’s favor.’ So I felt compelled to offer the burnt offering.” (1 Samuel 13:11-12 NIV, emphasis added).

Saul had forgotten that he was God’s servant. The people he led ultimately belonged to God which meant that he needed to obey God. Full stop.

Because of this act of disobedience, God removed the kingship from Saul’s lineage. His generations would not enjoy the privilege of leading God’s people (1 Samuel 13:13-14).  Saul disobeyed God in his treatment of King Agag (1 Samuel 15) which resulted in him being rejected by God as king (1 Samuel 15:10, 22-23).

Then the Spirit of the Lord departed from Saul and a distressing spirit troubled him (1 Samuel 16:14). Saul only had peace when David played the harp (1 Samuel 16:23).

Saul continued to allow sin free rein in his life which played out in his treatment of David. It seemed as if all hope was lost for Saul, yet in 1 Samuel 19:23 we read these words,

So Saul went to Naioth at Ramah. But the Spirit of God came even on him, and he walked along prophesying until he came to Naioth. (NIV, emphasis added)

For the second time, we see the king prophesying. The Holy Spirit still wanted to use him. I wish I could tell you that Saul repented and served the Lord with his whole heart from that day forward, but that was not the case.

Saul continued to displease God until his death. What had started out as a promising life became marred with sadness and pain.

Ephesians 4:30 tells us not to grieve the Holy Spirit. To grieve the Holy Spirit is to make Him sorrowful or to offend Him with our actions or words. God wants to save us from our sins. He wants to reveal Himself to us but if we will not obey Him, we do so to our own detriment.

When we deliberately disobey God, when we repeatedly and unrepentantly sin against Him, we grieve the Holy Spirit. And when we grieve the Holy Spirit, He leaves. Can you imagine living without the power of the Holy Spirit? I pray that you will seek forgiveness for unrepented sin and serve God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength.


Abba, we recognize that sin separates us from You and we want to be close to You. Forgive us where we have sinned and show us those areas where we are weak.

Grant us the power of the Holy Spirit and help us not to act in ways or say things that grieve Him. In Jesus’ name, we pray, Amen.

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