Posted by: Brian Musser | May 6, 2014

Grieving the Spirit

Work-Ship – Week Four:  The Spirit At Work – Day Twenty-Seven:  Grieving  the Spirit

The first week we came to the conclusion that our definition of work must be based on God’s work.  If we are going to figure out what work is, how we are supposed to work and the proper place work should have in our lives it must be rooted in the way God works.  So we are in the middle of our three week exploration of the work of God organizing our conversation through the lens of the Trinity.

  • Week Two – The Father at Work
  • Week Three – The Son at Work
  • Week Four – The Spirit at Work

By the end of this week we will be finished with our three week examination into the work of God and we will be halfway done the entire 56 day devotional.  This week we will be looking at the work of the third member of the Trinity, God the Holy Spirit.  Quite often the Holy Spirit is the overlooked or misrepresented member of the Trinity.  This is due to the nature of the Holy Spirit’s work.  God the Father’s work was in Creation, creating and sustaining it.  We can see tangible evidence of the Father’s work everywhere around us.  God the Son’s work was in history, redeeming and communicating.  We have the written records of the Son’s work.  But God the Holy Spirit works in the inner realm of humanity.  The Spirit’s work is to influence us.  The Spirit works on and in humanity empowering and convicting us.  This makes the Spirit’s work less accessible, less verifiable, less categorize-able.  The Spirit’s work is all about influence.  When we are at work influencing others we are working like the Holy Spirit.  This influence manifests itself in two broad categories:

  • Getting others to do good or empowering.
  • Getting others to stop doing evil or convicting.

Empowering and convicting are the two main ideas we will explore as we explore the work of the Holy Spirit.   At times our work responsibilities require us to empower others to do what is right or to convict to stop doing what wrong.  What happens when they refuse to respond to our influence?  What happens when persons decide they are not going to do good or stop doing wrong?  What happens when students decide not to learn?  What happens when children decide to continue down a certain path?  What happens when co-workers purposefully remain in the corner-cutting business?  What happens when customers still want you to do everything for them instead of learning the process themselves?  The Holy Spirit knows this phenomenon as well.

It is the Spirit’s work to produce change within us.  At some point and in some capacity we are included in the work of the Holy Spirit.  The Holy Spirit convicts US.  The Holy Spirit empowers US.  He does not dominate us.  He does not destroy us leaving as mindless automatons.  There is a piece of the Holy Spirit’s work within us that is subject to our availability and our intentionality.

Acts 5:1-11 (HCSB)

But a man named Ananias, with his wife Sapphira, sold a piece of property. However, he kept back part of the proceeds with his wife’s knowledge, and brought a portion of it and laid it at the apostles’ feet.
Then Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and keep back part of the proceeds from the field? Wasn’t it yours while you possessed it? And after it was sold, wasn’t it at your disposal? Why is it that you planned this thing in your heart? You have not lied to men but to God!” When he heard these words, Ananias dropped dead, and a great fear came on all who heard. The young men got up, wrapped his body, carried him out, and buried him.
There was an interval of about three hours; then his wife came in, not knowing what had happened. “Tell me,” Peter asked her, “did you sell the field for this price?”
“Yes,” she said, “for that price.”
Then Peter said to her, “Why did you agree to test the Spirit of the Lord? Look! The feet of those who have buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out!”
Instantly she dropped dead at his feet. When the young men came in, they found her dead, carried her out, and buried her beside her husband. Then great fear came on the whole church and on all who heard these things.

I’m not going to exegete this passage but I just want to point out that Ananias and Sapphira decided to try to deceive and lie to the Holy Spirit about the  property and the money they got for it.  Ananias and Sapphira attempted to do something that was contradictory to the influence of the Holy Spirit in their lives.

Ephesians 4:30  (HCSB)  And don’t grieve God’s Holy Spirit. You were sealed by Him for the day of redemption.

1 Thessalonians 4:7-8  (HCSB)  For God has not called us to impurity but to sanctification. Therefore, the person who rejects this does not reject man, but God, who also gives you His Holy Spirit.

1 Thessalonians 5:19  (HCSB) Don’t stifle the Spirit.

In these verse we see warnings about grieving and stifling the Holy Spirit and rejecting the God who gives the Holy Spirit.  Since the Holy Spirit’s realm of work is within the inner person, when we actively refuse the Holy Spirit access and position ourselves antagonistically to the work of the Spirit within ourselves then there is nothing for the Holy Spirit to work with.  The Holy Spirit then has the choice to overpower our wills and destroy our freedom or abandon us and remove our chance at life.  I believe that Spirit patiently woos us and never destroys our will or abandons us completely to our demise.

As you work with others, have you ever been put in a similar situation?  Someone was refusing your influence and you either had the choice to force them to change or remove them from your influence.  God the Holy Spirit can relate to this situation.  How do you deal with those who refuse to be influenced?  This could be a boss or a peer or a student or a child or a client.  When you work patiently with those who refuse to change you are working like God the Holy Spirit.

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