Last month we discussed why we must have sensitive hearts towards the Lord and not allow anything into our lives that would grieve or disturb Him. The Holy Spirit is a person, and the Bible says He yearns over us with jealousy (scripture- James 4:5?) and so that means we can do certain things or live in such a way that troubles Him and wounds His heart. Remember, we are His creation, He loves us, and He is to be the Lord and God of our lives.

We left off discussing how the Lord refuses to leave us on own through the grace of God. So, if we go wayward and refuse to obey His promptings to return to Him as our first love, does God just abandon us, leave us, and let us go? The answer is emphatic, NO!

What does God do then? How does He bring us to a place where turn from the way we’ve been going and give our hearts once again to Him. You might be surprised. It is through His Grace!

James 4:6 KJV

But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.

Where does grace fit in here?  Well, it may not sound like grace, but it really is grace. The Bible says —

Romans 2:4 KJV

Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?

And in this case, if you have given your heart to another and turned from the ways of God and started living like the world, He actually begins to resist you. Now, this is the Christian who says, “I know I shouldn’t be over here. I’m not coming back. It’s not so bad.”

If they don’t come back by themselves, James says, “God will get involved, and He will begin to resist that individual.”

James 4:6 KJV

But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.

That word “resist” is a military word which means to strategically and methodically oppose in order to crush an enemy. Now, let me tell you, God’s pretty big and if He is against you, you’re in trouble.

But, we are told this in Romans 8:31:

Romans 8:31 KJV

31 What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?

But if you get on the wrong side with God, He is against you. And when God puts out His arm and tells you to stop, you’re going to stop.

Suddenly, you’ll find the breaks have slowed down your momentum. You discover your success has stopped and you’ll be in a continual state of frustration. You may feel that you’re failing and it’s because God is strategically opposing you —stopping you so you’ll wake up and realize that you must get your heart right with God.

Usually when God begins to oppose somebody, their first thought is to rebuke the enemy. But we must learn that many times, it’s not the devil but God Himself.

I have experienced this in my life on more than one occasion. But friend, I assure you this is God’s grace and goodness at work! It’s as if He says, “Excuse me. You’re not in the spiritual place you need to be right now and I’m going to put everything on pause until you wake up and get it right.”

And when finally we humble ourselves, look what the rest of the verse says in James.

James 4:6 KJV

But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.

Hear me now, the very moment we say, “Lord, I have been so wrong and I’m coming back to You.”, Immediately, that hand of resistance is removed. Things begin to work again, the joy of your salvation is restored and you begin to be successful in your endeavors again!

You see, God was never really against you. This was His way of bringing your attention to something that required change.

I have learned in all my Christian life that if Denise and I are feeling frustrated in our ministry, I don’t immediately begin yelling at the devil. Now, we have authority over him because He is under our feet and it could be that He might be trying to mess things up. But before I begin yelling at the devil, the very first thing I do is ask the Lord if there is something that I need to correct. And I’ve found that usually, the answer is yes. And when the correction is made, it is amazing how quickly everything begins to flow.

Now, I want to show you something else. Go to Ephesians 4, because I want to show you the kind of things that will stop you and the kind of things that grieve the Holy Spirit. It doesn’t have to be watching bad movies, getting drunk, or committing adultery.

Look what He says in Ephesians 4:25 —

Ephesians 4:25 KJV

25 Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another. Be angry, let not the sun go down on your wrath. Neither give place to the devil.

So we see that lying and anger are two things that will grieve the Holy Spirit. And we give him or access into our lives by doing or allowing these things.

Then look at verse 29:

Ephesians 4:29 KJV

29 Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.

Paul is not only speaking concerning using filthy words. The Greek word used here literally means rotten conversation. So, if in our speech we’re negative, finding fault, criticizing, or gossiping, it grieves the Holy Spirit! That is the form of corrupt communication mentioned here.

Ephesians 4:30 KJV

30 And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.

31 Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice.

This means that even just having wrong attitudes can grieve the Holy Spirit. My friend, we must be careful with how we conduct ourselves. Even our attitudes can affect us and grieve the Lord.

But what does the word “grieve” mean? It describes a spouse who has just discovered that his mate has committed adultery, and he is deeply, deeply wounded.

When Denise and I first got married, we led a ministry which was for people who had been through a divorce. In one year, Denise and I counseled over one thousand brand-new divorcees and we learned about the pain of divorce. And when somebody would come for counseling, I had heard what they said from so many other people that I could almost predict what they were going to say.

One woman would say — “I am so hurt. I gave him my life and bore his children. I supported him and after all that I’ve done for him, how could he do this to me?”

One man would say — “I paid her bills and took good care of her. How could she give her heart to somebody else?”

All of that is this word “grieve”, used in this verse which means, the Holy Spirit who has come to live in us, who longs to have all of us, when we have given our heart to another says, “How could you do this to Me? Have you forgotten that I live in you? I gave you the new birth. I’ve produced fruit in your life. I’ve done so much in your life and after all that I’ve done for you, how can you do what you’re doing?”

It grieves Him.

And just like a wounded lover, sometimes the Holy Spirit’s joy backs up as a means of letting you know that He’s trying to get you to recognize something’s wrong in your life. But if you don’t wake up to it, then the next phase will come, when God says, “You are Mine. You do not belong to the world and if you don’t come by yourself, I’m going to do what I have to do to get your attention, so you get back into right relationship with Me.” And He will resist us until we come to a place of repentance. My friend, it is the goodness of God at work to bring you back into Himself. It is God’s grace at work.

I know some Christians that have troubles all the time, in every area of their lives.  And I know what the problem is. It’s exactly what I have been telling you. It’s simply God trying to get their attention to get back into relationship with Him. If they will just listen and obey, things will start going right again!

Even when God resists us, He’s for us. It is His grace and His goodness working to bring us back to the place the Lord knows we are to be. God doesn’t want to resist anybody. He’s for us and wants to bless us. But if we are determined to do what is wrong, He is so good and will refuse us to continue down that path He knows will bring harm to us. That is precisely why He will get our attention and help us make things right again. He is such a good Father!

I want you to evaluate your heart and allow the Holy Spirit to show you areas of your life that require you to make adjustments and change. It’s so simple. It takes seconds to get right with God.

Just pray this aloud: “Father God, I realize that I have done things that have grieved you. I understand now. I ask you to forgive me. I’m coming home. I’m going to make You my priority again and I’m going to do what I used to do. Lord, close my eyes and ears to what is wrong and I ask you to open them to what is right. I ask you this in Jesus mighty name.

If you have prayed this prayer, whether you feel like anything has changed or not, the grace of God has come. He forgives you, He is for you, and He will help you live in a way that brings Him great joy and delight! Forget what is behind you and press into the wonderful future and life that God has prepared for you. It is that easy!