by Scarlett Stough
How can we avoid grieving God? A good place to begin answering this question is found in Paul's letter to the Church at Ephesus (Ephesians 4:30). When those who know Christ revert to the old sinful way of living only for oneself and to pleasing the people around them, we grieve God as Jesus wept over Jerusalem:
As he [Jesus] approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it and said, “If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace—but now it is hidden from your eyes. The days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment against you and encircle you and hem you in on every side. They will dash you to the ground, you and the children within your walls. They will not leave one stone on another, because you did not recognize the time of God's coming to you.”
Although this was spoken to a specific place and about a specific time, God is no respecter of persons. His justice is impartial (1 Peter 4:17-19). His grief over our sins and the rejection of the deliverance he gives extends to all people and all nations.
God does not leave us in doubt about how to live a new life in which we learn more and more to imitate God in his holiness and loving faithfulness (Ephesians 5:1-2).
We have access to the Scriptures which teach us how to live the new life we have in Christ. Those who have received the Holy Spirit are now children of God and have access to him by faith in Jesus, through prayer, and the work of the Holy Spirit working in us to produce the fruit God expects of us (Galatians 5:16-26). The “old fashioned” disciplines of prayer, meditation, Bible study, and putting God's instruction into practice through the faith God gives will keep us in his grace. This is not “salvation by works;” this is working out your salvation in the way God provided.
Let's give our Creator God joy instead of grief; “May the glory of the LORD endure forever; may the LORD rejoice in his works—” (Psalm 104:31).