Monday, May 1, 2017

Sins Against The Holy Spirit II

In addition to grieving the Holy Spirit, we can hinder him, interfering with what he is trying to accomplish.  This may be inadvertent, like a little boy trying to help his daddy weed the garden, pulling the wrong plants because he doesn’t understand what God is trying to do.  It can also be a deliberate action in an attempt to control the results, effectively sabotaging his working.   King Saul is perhaps the best illustration of this. 

In an effort to motivate the people, Saul Had given and order that the people were not to eat anything until their enemies were wiped out.  I Samuel 14:23-30 tells the story.  “So the LORD saved Israel that day: and the battle passed over unto Bethaven.    And the men of Israel were distressed that day: for Saul had adjured the people, saying, Cursed be the man that eateth any food until evening, that I may be avenged on mine enemies. So none of the people tasted any food.

And all they of the land came to a wood; and there was honey upon the ground.  And when the people were come into the wood, behold, the honey dropped; but no man put his hand to his mouth: for the people feared the oath.  But Jonathan heard not when his father charged the people with the oath: wherefore he put forth the end of the rod that was in his hand, and dipped it in an honeycomb, and put his hand to his mouth; and his eyes were enlightened.

Then answered one of the people, and said, Thy father straitly charged the people with an oath, saying, Cursed be the man that eateth any food this day. And the people were faint.

Then said Jonathan, My father hath troubled the land: see, I pray you, how mine eyes have been enlightened, because I tasted a little of this honey.  How much more, if haply the people had eaten freely to day of the spoil of their enemies which they found? for had there not been now a much greater slaughter among the Philistines? “  God had give tne victory, but Sauls efforts to maximize it actually prevented the people from accomplishing as much as they could have, and in fact lead to the people sinning because they were so hungry.    

The Holy Spirit conveys our prayers to God in a proper form according to Romans 8:26-27.  “ Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.  And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God.”  According toe I peter 3:7, when we become focused on our own needs and desires, without concern for other people we can interfere with that process.  “Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.”

In a dsimilar manner, if we get caught up in our own rights, authority, wisdom, or abilities we can hinder the gospel. Preventing people from getting truly saved, according to I Corinthians 9:11-12.  “If we have sown unto you spiritual things, is it a great thing if we shall reap your carnal things?  If others be partakers of this power over you, are not we rather? Nevertheless we have not used this power; but suffer all things, lest we should hinder the gospel of Christ.”   Paul made a special effort to limit himself to Just what the Holy spirit did, to avoid hindering his work, according to I Corinthians 2;4-5.  “And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man's wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power: That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.”  By focusing on psychological, emotional, or intellectual appeals, we can hinder the Holy Spirit’s working to draw people to God. 

Finally, by focusing on our traditions or church doctrines we can hinder people from coming to Christ.  In Luke 11:52, Jesus warned the lawyers. “Woe unto you, lawyers! for ye have taken away the key of knowledge: ye entered not in yourselves, and them that were entering in ye hindered.”   They were causing confusion about what God demanded so that people were hesitant to commit. 

Until we learn to let the Holy Spirit guide us and produce the results he desires we often hinder his working because we are like the Jews Paul described in Romans 10:2.  “For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge.”  We may have the best of intentions, but our efforts become counterproductive.  

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