THE DEADLY VENOM OF BITTERNESS
“Let ALL BITTERNESS be put away from you!” [Eph 4:31]
“For in much wisdom is much grief: and he that increaseth knowledge increaseth sorrow.” [Ecc 1:18] You have been taught the truth of the absolute Sovereignty of God in all things so that you see the hand of God in all that happens to you. Now that is good. But this knowledge has a dark side to it too. i.e. knowing that God is ordering your providence it is easy to get bitter against God when things start going wrong! And believe me God can and does sometimes test you to the bitter end providentially!
The patriarch Job incidentally was not the only one to be tested so severely. God tests ALL his children (though not as severely as Job) and brings them through the fire at one time or another. “And I will bring the third part THROUGH THE FIRE, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried!” [Zech 13:9] And again, “That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be TRIED WITH FIRE, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ.” [1Pet 1:7]
Now there are two ways you can go this fire of testing – one with a humble heart of submissiveness or two become bitter against God’s dealings in your life!
“Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any ROOT OF BITTERNESS springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled.” [Heb 12:15]
The root of bitterness is underground; it is easy to hide and camouflage. Seldom do you find anyone who will admit that they are a bitter person. They will either deny it or disguise it. A bitter person is hypersensitive, ungrateful, insincere, holds grudges, and has mood swings.
THE FRUIT OF BITTERNESS
“Bitterness will affect you physically, emotionally, and spiritually because the fruit of bitterness is an acid that destroys its container. When your heart is bitter, God will not be real to you. Why? Because hatefulness and holiness do not dwell in the same heart!
Sometimes it is not God you are bitter against but a person who has wronged you! You just cannot seem to be able forgive them. “Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord.” [Heb 12:14] You cannot be holy unless you follow peace with men. It is so worth it when you forgive. But, you say, “Look what they’ve done! I am not going to let them off the hook.” Well, THEY are not on the hook — YOU ARE! When you forgive, you set two people free and one of them is YOURSELF.” [Adrian Rogers]
You will discover that your life is more joyful when you uproot your bitterness. If God gave us justice, every person reading this would die and go to hell. Thank God for His mercy that removes His hand of punishment from us. Praise God for His grace that gives us a brand new life!
“Let all BITTERNESS, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be PUT AWAY FROM YOU.” [Eph 4:31]
Pray and ask God to heal you of your bitterness because the truth is that your bitterness harms both you and those associated with you. Bitterness is born of pride and pride is of the devil! May the Lord give us the grace to accept WHATEVER God may put us through knowing that “ALL THINGS work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose!” [Rom 8:28]
You can’t only be God’s fair-weather friend! You have to keep on serving the Lord even when everything goes all wrong!
Most Christians can have faith under normal conditions for usual situations–what they expect God to do. But when everything goes wrong and seems contrary to the Word and the usual, only those with great faith can say with Job, “Even though He SLAY me, yet will I trust Him!” (Job 13:15) What Job was saying was, “Even though it seems like God is breaking His Own Word with me–even though God kills me contrary to all His promises–I’ll STILL trust Him!”
If you’re only going to be willing to believe and obey the Lord as long as everything goes ALL RIGHT, you won’t be believing or obeying very much, because a LOT of things can seem to go wrong when you’re serving the Lord! But even though “MANY are the afflictions of the righteous”, the Bible promises, “the Lord DELIVERETH him out of them ALL!”–No matter how many or what! (Psa.34:19) So let’s try to be able to TAKE our testing and temptations, and trust God anyway!
“Trust in God, however dark your way!
No matter what hard turns the road may take!
Hold to His hand until the break of day,
When in His likeness we shall then awake!”