The Bible consistently bears witness to God as the Holy Trinity — Father, Son and Spirit. The Bible also has much to say about the human spirit.
We humans are more than physical beings with material bodies. We are both flesh and spirit.
A close examination of the Bible’s witness about the divine Spirit and the human spirit presents a study in contrasts. Galatians 5:17 puts it succinctly when it refers to the human spirit as flesh, saying, “The flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish.”
Living in conflict
The conflict is one with which every believer engages. An internal competition is always at work: the divine Spirit confronting our human spirit. Living in conflict with the Holy Spirit finds various expressions in Scripture.
For example, Ephesians 4:30 warns against grieving the Holy Spirit, saying, “Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.” The passage then goes on in verse 31 to point out several human attitudes and actions that grieve the divine Spirit: “bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor and evil speaking.”
Another warning is given in 1 Thessalonians 5:19, when it says pointedly, “Do not quench the Spirit.”
Not only is it possible for the human spirit to grieve and quench the Holy Spirit, but as Stephen bore witness before the Jewish high court, a witness that led to him being stoned to death: “You always resist the Holy Spirit; as your fathers did, so do you” (Acts 7:51).
Living in unawareness
Somewhat less vicious than resisting the Spirit is living in unawareness of the Spirit’s presence in our lives. Such was the case with some Ephesian believers whom the Apostle Paul confronted with the question, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” Their response to the question was quite revealing, “We have not so much as heard whether there is a Holy Spirit” (Acts 19:2).
Whether due to ignorance about the divine Spirit or due to resisting and grieving the Spirit whom we know indwells every true believer, it is a sad and disappointing outcome when Christian believers live without the Spirit’s power and leadership.
It is one thing to be unaware of the Spirit’s presence in our lives as Christians, but another to know His indwelling presence and still choose to ignore His directions or impulses that would guide us into God-pleasing attitudes and actions.
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