What does it mean to receive the grace of the new life and how to grow in this grace?
Receiving the new life means that the Holy Spirit has penetrated our soul and overflowing with eternal life, that is the life of Jesus, in us. Spiritual growth means that the grace of the new life that we have received in the Holy Spirit, has overflowed our spirit and soul and has become the predominance of all our being. This means that the Holy Spirit has now the power to change and renew our souls and our minds and is able to change our ways of thinking, our impressions, our feelings, and our habits.
The key to spiritual growth starts from how we deal and react to the work of the Holy Spirit in us, either we obey His voice and let Him rest in us and prevails over our whole entity, so He fills us with the new life, or not obey Him and grieve Him. We have to know that the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of joy, and it is our only source of Joy and predominance over sin.
The question here is, what makes the Holy Spirit happy in us and what grieves Him?
The Holy Spirit grieves when we do not obey His voice and we commit sin and rejoices when we obey the commandments of Christ and the Gospel. We obey the voice of the Holy Spirit and follow His guidance when we obey the word of the Gospel. Our obedience to the commandments makes the Holy Spirit happy, and He fills us with the power of His joy and His predominance over sin. St. Paul told us in His letter to the Ephesians chapter four verse 30“ Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.”
He continued to explain answering the question of what we should do in order not to grieve the Holy Spirit in us, by saying in verse 31 and 32 “ Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.” So now St. Paul taught us the rules that we must follow in order not grieve the Holy Spirit in us And this will lead us to the second question which is :
How can I live in obedience to the Holy Spirit?
The Holy Spirit grieves when we choose with our own free will to accept the evil thoughts that makes us commit sin. So, the first thing we have to do when Satan throws the wrong thoughts to our mind, is that we reject and resist it. Secondly, when we commit sin, we must make an immediate repentance and wash ourselves with the blood of Jesus. Thirdly, before we go to sleep every day, we have to examine ourselves before the Lord and repent of any sin we have committed, in order to please the Holy Spirit that we have grieved. if our sin was between us and God, we quickly apologize to God with a real repentance from all our heart. But if we have sinned against our brothers, we must repent before God and also go to apologize to our brothers and pay back their rights. Fourthly, we must Continue praying and repenting until we regain the joy and peace of the Holy Spirit inside us again. If we do not regain joy inside us, know that we have not repented from all our heart and we have not satisfied the Holy Spirit that we grieved. The returning of the joy of the Holy Spirit in us is the sign that we repented and corrected the mistake.
It is a must and very important to restore the joyful presence of the Holy Spirit because this joy is the fuel by which we win the battle with Satan and to complete our spiritual growth. The fifth step is to ask ourselves what was the trap and that made us fall into sin? and what is the tempting test that we become weak in front of it every time and gets us into sin? We must examine ourselves and ask for the guidance and the light of Holy Spirit to show us the weak points we have that let Satan use them to make us fall in his traps. After the Holy Spirit guides us and shows us the weak points and stay away from everything that throws in us the effects of sin.