Grieving the Holy Spirit
By Evan Wiggs
The Church in North America is in desperate condition before her God. We look out to the mission fields where God seems to be moving in great power and we wonder why it is not happening here. We get busy with programs and our schedules are full. We build big churches with big parking lots. We plan to evangelize our neighborhoods and cities. We bring in big names to preach and big names to sing and we are sterile in our worship and our teaching. We look to our denominational ties to help and they are no better off.
We try our best to stir up the people and ourselves. We wonder where the Lord is and we pray for him to intervene. But the Heavens are like brass. Perhaps we need to look somewhere else. It’s neither church programs nor big names. It’s not moving in the flesh and mistaking it for the Spirit. We need nothing less than the presence of the Lord to walk among his people again. We need the Holy Spirit to drop his fire on us and bring us to a place of deep, deep repentance. We do not need celebration we need wailing and crying out. We have deeply grieved the Holy Spirit in our churches. We have sown seeds of self-righteousness, discord and rancor. We have gossiped behind the backs or our leaders and each other. We have harbored feelings of bitterness and even hate against our brothers and sisters.
14 "And to the angel of the church in Laodicea write: The Amen, the faithful and true Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God, says this:
15 'I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot; I would that you were cold or hot.
16 'So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth.
17 'Because you say, "I am rich, and have become wealthy, and have need of nothing," and you do not know that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked,
18. I advise you to buy from Me gold refined by fire, that you may become rich, and white garments, that you may clothe yourself, and that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and eye salve to anoint your eyes, that you may see.
19 'Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline; be zealous therefore, and repent.
20 'Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him, and will dine with him, and he with Me.
21 'He who overcomes, I will grant to him to sit down with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.
We think because we are wealthy in material goods God has no choice but to use us. When we are lukewarm we have no wealth. He is our wealth. To be vomited out of our Lord's mouth is a thing most frightening. He advises us to buy from Him, but can we? Are we cognizant of our sad condition? Jesus is outside of the door knocking and knocking and nobody is answering. We are inside our churches playing at church and leaving the Holy One out! We have grieved the Lord!! Our sins go up as a stench before our God! We need to be like David:
Psalms 51:1 (For the choir director. A Psalm of David, when Nathan the prophet came to him,) (after he had gone in to Bathtub.) Be gracious to me, O God, according to Thy lovingkindness; According to the greatness of Thy compassion blot out my transgressions.2. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, And cleanse me from my sin.
3. For I know my transgressions, And my sin is ever before me.
4. Against Thee, Thee only, I have sinned, And done what is evil in Thy sight, So that Thou art justified when Thou dost speak, And blameless when Thou dost judge.
5. Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, And in sin my mother conceived me.
6. Behold, Thou dost desire truth in the innermost being, And in the hidden part Thou wilt make me know wisdom.
7. Purify me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
8. Make me to hear joy and gladness, Let the bones which Thou hast broken rejoice.
9. Hide Thy face from my sins, And blot out all my iniquities.
10. Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me.
11. Do not cast me away from Thy presence, And do not take Thy Holy Spirit from me.
12. Restore to me the joy of Thy salvation, And sustain me with a willing spirit.
13. Then I will teach transgressors Thy ways, And sinners will be converted to Thee.
14. Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God, Thou God of my salvation; Then my tongue will joyfully sing of Thy righteousness.
15. O Lord, open my lips, That my mouth may declare Thy praise.
16. For Thou dost not delight in sacrifice, otherwise I would give it; Thou art not pleased with burnt offering.
17. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; A broken and a contrite heart, O God, Thou wilt not despise.
When Nathan the prophet came to David and told him the story about the poor man with the little ewe, David’s anger burned greatly against the man. His self-righteousness came forth. Anger is many times a defense and a sham against the real problem. So is business. So is fault finding. We can be very creative in looking the other way from our own sin. But when Nathan with thunder in his voice, with the very voice of God, told David "THOU ART THE MAN!" David was shocked to his soul. Suddenly he saw with clarity. Suddenly he saw what God sees when he shines his eternal light on our lives. He said "For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me. Against Thee, Thee only have I sinned." He was standing naked before God, no pretenses, no kingliness, and no self-righteous anger. Only the Holy One is His righteous anger. Oh that we would fear the Holy Lord like that!
Now see what David says "Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me." We too often ask quick forgiveness from our God and go our way walking in the flesh and trying so hard not to sin again. We pummel and castigate ourselves as if by our efforts we can do it all. I made some yeast rolls for my family this Thanksgiving. Jesus talks about yeast being like sin and so it is. I put the yeast in the flour mixture and let it sit in a warm place and as if by magic it puffed up. Isn’t that just like sin to puff us all up with self-importance and self-righteousness? The yeast moves to every part of the dough and it causes all to be puffed up. We cannot contain a little sin in one area of our lives and think we can go worship the Living and Holy God with another. Sin has to be totally eradicated like Achen in the camp that took things under the ban. Only a few small things really. But it caused defeat to the whole camp. Well I took that dough and punched it down and tore it apart and rolled it into balls and put them neatly in pans. Oh how we try to work our sin over. We mightily punch and pull. We strike the sin and order it and tell it to go away and neatly stack it up. We dust our hands and say "There!". All the while the sin continues it insidious course. Before long we are puffed up again. It may not be the same sin or at least not look the same. The rolls were different than the lump of dough. Then I put them in the oven. After the fire got to them the yeast had died and they never puffed up again. We need the fire of God to change us. No human effort will work. Create in us a clean heart, O God and renew a right spirit in us. Only God can take care of the awful sin that plagues us.
One problem with the sin that befouls us is we have no concept how really awful it is. We look kindly upon our sin like it is an old familiar friend sometime. We need to be radical. We need radical surgery. Paul understood this when he cried out in Romans 7: 24 " Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death?" He was making reference to a horrible practice in Roman prisons. When a prisoner would kill another the murderer would be punished by having the body of the dead prisoner chained to his. He would be thrown into a far and deep dungeon while the putrification of that dead body did its final work on his. That is as graphic a picture as I can think of to represent sin. It is killing us!! No wonder we are called to flee sin. We cannot allow sin to have its way with us.
One really scary thought is when David says ". Do not cast me away from Thy presence, And do not take Thy Holy Spirit from me.". God doesn’t have to continue to bless us with any presence at all. He can pass us by for revival and renewal. He can continue to bless others in our stead. Oh, that we would hunger for that presence. Even that He would judge us.
Psalms 19: 9. The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring forever; The judgments of the LORD are true; they are righteous altogether.
10, They are more desirable than gold, yes, than much fine gold; Sweeter also than honey and the drippings of the honeycomb.
Yes the judgements of God are true. It is because of His great love that he does judge us and work with us, truly he is a God who is good and upright.
(Psa 25:8) Good and upright is the LORD; Therefore He instructs sinners in the way.
(Psa 25:9) He leads the humble in justice, And He teaches the humble His way.
God instructs sinners in the way. We must be humble and broken before him. We cannot come before him with pride or self-righteousness. "The sacrifices is God are a broken spirit, a broken and contrite heart, O God, thou will not despise."
When we have been humbled and broken before our God and He has chastised us as sons, then we will rejoice in him and he will bless us with his presence.
Psalms 30: 5 For His anger is but for a moment, His favor is for a lifetime; Weeping may last for the night, But a shout of joy comes in the morning.
Yes this is what the Lord requires of his people. When He comes he will bring mourning for a time but in His presence is joy evermore. When He has purified us then He will use us. There is no limit to what He will do with us when we have sold out to Him. We are to be nothing less than fires of his making. We are to be so filled with His Spirit that we speak His burning words, that what we have will always be prophetic in all its bearings that we will always speak with the voice of God. There ought to be something in us that shines through with vital, holy power so that other may know we have seen God. Our faces should shine like Moses with the awesome presence of the Holy One. Wherever we go the people around us should feel as if God has come into their midst. We are to manifest his glory to the people. GET RIGHT AND GET BRIGHT.