Saturday, November 23, 2013

How Do We Avoid the Root of Bitterness?

Hebrews 12:15 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;

The root of bitterness can be a difficult matter. It's easy to become bitter and disappointed with life here on earth. One thing in a society that measures everything by your "accomplishments" and who you know and what you can "show" in the numbers or "fans" you have.  it can even more difficult. Life for many is hard. Everyone talks about the big stuff, "What if the NWO comes after Christians?" "What if they pass a law saying that you are required to take a RFID chip or tattoo to buy or sell anything?".

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Those matters are important too but one thing we have to watch out for is the drip, drip, drip of everyday life, to chip away at one's faith and take away from the work one would do for God. Sometimes it's not the actual water rising to immediately drown you, it's the Chinese water torture from the slow, "smaller" things.  These are the things you have to watch out for in some ways just as much.

Lose a few friends to death in a short time, have a pervasive scary or rare health problem that never lets up and as you age realizes is only going to get worse, realize as you reach your middle aged years, or that many of your earthly dreams simply are not going to come true, bitterness can sneak in like a robber in the night  Maybe you're never going to have a child [1 Sam 1:10] or your children have rejected God or you never had a good job or been prosperous [in this earth]. Maybe your life has become not a "best life" tale but one they could make a TV movie about, it went so badly. Perhaps you have seen so much disappointment over and over, that you expect nothing else, bitterness can creep up on a person and they don't even know it! Be careful to guard your mind, because sadness, and other emotions can intertwine into a mess. This is where biblical warnings to keep the mind captive to God and not to your "feelings" is imperative. Those of us outside the churches without a church home, especially have to be careful as we may lack for Christian fellowship to help bolster us up or give us reminders as to what is important. 

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Sometimes just even the sadness of this world and too many disappointments can creak open the door for vine of bitterness to crawl through. Hurt and resentment can result. Sometimes a wicked person and/or reprobate has sewn seeds of destruction in your life with the worse possible seed being the seed of bitterness. That's one you have to throw away and pray to God to get rid of even if you feel it is impossible, nothing is impossible for God. Such types are wicked enough sometimes then to turn around and point to your sadness and hurt and use it to tell others you are a "bad person". Remember the eyes you count in our God's eyes, not theirs. Be careful of allowing their view of you to poison your mind.  The wicked operate under the cloak of the father of lies, and that means LYING. Don't believe any of their lies even about yourself.

Failure [in this world], rejection, losing position, finding no niche or place of belonging can bring bitterness. Some may ask What if a person is homeless? What if you live on the edge? What if society sees you as an OUTCAST? Even then, those invested in God have avoided sinking into the hellish pit of bitterness like Lazarus the beggar! Think about him, he had plenty to be "bitter" about with his broken body full of sores and poverty.

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 One can let envy lead one down the path to bitterness seeing what others have to enjoy. In fact the Bible warns about this.  Notice how the Bible says "bitter envying" in this verse. There are far more things then just money and focus on looks that can be a source of envy too. The two go together in a mutual association:

James 3:14-16

King James Version (KJV)

14 But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth.

15 This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish.

16 For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work.

You may think in a sinful moment "How did those people get such great lives, why I got a such a rotten and disppointing one?"  Hey I may as well be blunt about the thoughts that go through people's heads. Remember many of the lost are getting their rewards now, only to suffer in hell one day since they reject the gospel. Maybe your life that appears "rotten" and "defunct" by the world's standards has brought glory to God, because even if you are now jobless and with an eviction notice on the door, and wondering how you are going to buy dinner, if you are a Christian and witnessed the gospel to someone you have brought more glory to God, then many,  many people.  These are things we have to remind ourselves of. What does God say about the lowly in this world?

Psalm 138:6
Though the Lord be high, yet hath he respect unto the lowly: but the proud he knoweth afar off.

Bitterness brings with it a feeling of rottenness inside, that leads to many bad outcomes, it is like a tree root that winds and grows through you sapping the very life out of you bringing you feelings of despair, making you feel sick, and like the world's worse person. Don't let it grow too long!

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It is like kudzu, the uncontrollable vine, that winds through everything and starts choking you.

Sin can cause bitterness, especially for the lost who engage in the pleasures of this world [Sodom and Gomorrah] thinking it will bring them happiness:  32 For their vine is of the vine of Sodom, and of the fields of Gomorrah: their grapes are grapes of gall, their clusters are bitter:

Christians are to avoid bitterness, notice that bitterness is FIRST on the LIST here, even before anger. 

Ephesians 4:31 King James Version (KJV) 31 Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice:

Bitterness can creep up even on the Christian if they are not careful. One thing that worries me about all the Best Life Now "Christianity" is it actually sets people up for more bitterness and not the embracing of faith. The world sets up impossible standards, labels people for not attaining them and sets up more pain, hurts and resentments.

There is righteous anger, but then there is anger that can lead you to a sinful place. Dealing with wicked people can take a major toll, and while your anger is righteous about their deeds, there too we have to avoid bitterness cropping up in response to their wickedness or influence on your life. Here you should practice forgiveness and also biblically depart from the non-repentant wicked who hurt you over and over.

I'm not telling you that mourning or feeling sad is wrong, especially as we see where this world is going but this is something to be careful of, that root of bitterness winding through. I'm not one to tell you to be a good Christian you have to wear a love bombing smile on your face every minute, the false pastors love to preach that one, but bitterness is a danger, it really is.

One has to give these issues to God. Only God can fix all things. Human beings want to fix things and when we face problems that are not fixable, it can be an affront and challenge to our spirits but here we have to admit our dependence on God. We need to let go of these wrong battles not to sink into the pit of anger and malice our enemies have dug for us.

If you feel bitterness because of how your life has turned out in this world, remember what Jesus went through, being betrayed by his friends, and abandoned them, facing the cross and the sufferings that came. Realize the cruelty shown to the apostles and other Christians in this world by the wicked many of whom had lost their lives for the gospel. Where they bitter? No. How did they avoid it? They put their rest and hope in Jesus Christ and eternity with Him.

With bitterness, be honest in prayer to God. Tell Him, you feel bitter, and can feel it's snaking tendrils across your heart and that you are waking up with tears and feeling a giant weight on your back. God knows anyhow, and not admitting it to God is not going to help you. Repent and ask God to replace the bitterness in your heart with His Love and direction. Here too, address yourself mind-wise, bring all thoughts captive to Christ. Practice biblical forgiveness and proper attitudes towards the wicked, departing from the reprobates and praying for the enemies. Here too ask God, in prayer, "How do I pray Lord, to conquer this bitterness with your help?" 

2 Corinthians 10:5

King James Version (KJV)

5 Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;

Hand things over to God. 


Anonymous said...

The antidote to bitterness is thankfulness to God. In all things give thanks. It might sound too simple but it really is the way to counteract bitterness, which can affect us all.

Anonymous said...

Anon, I totally agree with you.
Don't worry about anything (very hard not to do sometimes :-), pray about everything, give Him thanks at all times, and the peace that surpasses all understanding will keep your minds and hearts through Jesus Christ Philippians 4:6-7

Yes, it is so simple. I used to be that bitter, miserable person with so many problems I brought on myself. One day I heard on the Christian radio station to thank Him for everything. I started doing that and slowly, but surely, how things changed.

I used take all kinds of chemicals to feel at peace. But Jesus Christ is the only way to find true peace. The Jesus Christ of the bible, that is. Not the new age, easy believism christ that churches teach these days.

Anonymous said...

Thank-You so much for this post as it proved to be a gentle reminder for me after coming out of an abusive church system.

May God, the Holy Spirit, continue to work through you for us non-501C man-made church system participants, but for His ekklesia....the called out ones/congregations who fully believe in the New Covenant, our LORD Jesus Christ, whose temple has no walls made with human hands.

May God, our Heavenly Father be with you always, dear Bible Believer.

Anonymous said...

I prayed for a special blessing for you BB. This post describes everything I am going through right now. It brought me to tears. Very prophetic. May God bless you richly.


Anonymous said...

This article is blessed.
It is so true.


Second Anonymous is right; you can thank God for everything and it changes You for the better.

Anonymous said...

Bible Believer, I pray for a blessing for you, too. You must put in so many hours to do this blog. We all benefit from your dedication to serving God in this way. Thank you so much and Happy Thanksgiving!

Lisa Ruby

Anonymous said...

Anonymous is so right. I also agree with anonymous and anonymous. Plus anonymous is correct too.

Bible Believer said...

I agree about thankfulness to God. Praise God for what He has done for us no matter how rotten this world gets. I think even if one's life is falling apart one can thank Jesus Christ for salvation and one day being with Him in glory. We can praise God too just for Who He is. I agree that worry and bitterness can congeal together. Thanks for your prayers and blessings everyone, I appreciate it. :) God bless you all too.

Leahlive said...

BB I just prayed a special prayer of blessing for you as well. Stepping away from the Church system after only being a Christian for 5 yrs. could have turned me back to the life I had known for 41 yrs and never looking back again. But God knew what He was doing when I found your blog because the timeliness of so many messages, especially this one is nothing short of miraculous.

I have watched my life become more and more reduced over the last years since becoming a Christian and this year especially. I was just laying thinking about that and how my friendships have been reduced to a handful and my finances and my home. But God has taken me through all of it and shown me that all that matters is Him. So I got up and came to your blog as I was questioning all of it and behold this message. Praise God.

I have written to you before about the Christians that have looked at me and said "look at your life, you must be doing something wrong" as they sing their prosperity message song. Sometimes I have thought I am crazy for thanking God for reducing me and cutting out the people and things that cleave me to this world.

Your message though just gave me confirmation that it is where I am supposed to be. He has been teaching me that I can pray for these people from afar and I don't have to have them in my life speaking words that were hurtful and at one time did bring about bitterness in me. This year He has taught me how to overcome bitterness and your message was the icing on the cake. Hardships are not a punishment from God only as I have read and reread 1 Peter 4 have I fully understood that our sufferings bring about kinship with us to Jesus Himself. How can we not count it as joy? Amen

May God continue to bless you with such insight BB

Bible Believer said...

Thanks Leahlive for your prayer for blessing. I know stepping away from the church system is not easy. I totally relate. I am glad for the others I found who told me they shared in the same thoughts. Life for many Christians in this world can become reduced. The things that bring money often there is "selling out" which doesn't mean there are not good Christian wealthier people but Satan will often lure people with the riches of this world. One can lose friends from being a Christian too, I have lost many. Even just from leaving churches. They either really practice "tolerance" across the board or share in my beliefs, or they usually walk. My finances and other status in life is very low. My husband lost some work recently too. So trust me I understand. Remember the sum of the total they judge people by in this society, is HAVE YOU SUCCEEDED? ARE YOU RICH? DO YOU HAVE ALL THE THINGS that PROVE you ARE A GOOD PERSON? They never will ask ARE YOU SAVED IN JESUS CHRIST?

I have had some of those faux Christians too look at me and say, your lack of earthly prosperity, and other lacks add up to you "doing something wrong". By this formula, where would most apostles be in the book of Acts or the Christians who suffered prison and other persecutions? Following God and not desiring the things of this world, people will give you a lot of funny looks. My rejection of rock music, alone gets me a lot of surprised and shocked people. I have thanked God for taking me out of this world. This world had no hope to offer me. God kept me going, the baubles and demands of this world left me cold. So I understand.

Yes pray for the people from afar, we do not have to take abuse from wicked people. This is the hurt that can bring forth bitterness. Here we are allowed to protect ourselves and pray to God to help us overcome our bitterness. I know it can be a battle. I know I am pondering how hardship may not necessarily be a punishment from God, but used to develop a person or in a way where God can use you. There are things I have asked if they had not happened to me, would I even have become a Christian today?

Thanks Leahlive, I will pray for you too. God bless.