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Posts Tagged ‘abiding’

BITTERNESS


KJV and NKJV Scripture

– Looking diligently, lest any fall of the grace of God. Lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled. – Hebrews 12:15

– Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking be put away from you – with all malice. – Ephesians 4:31

Bitterness towards life, or the Lord, arises out of false perceptions it brings that things aren’t quite working out how a person hoped they would at some prior point.  Notions of rewarding jobs, joyous marriages, riches, etc. – never materialized – and fault always lies with others (including God).  So, the bitter soul stews and simmers on, with unhealthy views of life.

However, instead of doing anything about it, often born out of a “why bother” mind, because nothing has really worked out before, the bitter person usually sits around a lot wallowing in self-pity.  Pointing critical, accusatory, and fault-finding fingers outward and skyward, but seldom back at themselves.  This type of blame game started back in the Garden of Eden.

All the while, bitterness slowly spreads like a spiritual toxin inside a soul.  However, it is hard to spot just by looking at a person, because a sweet smile on Sunday at church can hide a spirit soured by resentment the rest of the week.  Words spoken smoother than butter can mask bitterness in the heart (Psalm 55:21).  Still, God sees it all (1 Samuel 16:7, Hebrews 4:13).

Our Father cannot show anybody a more excellent and better way, if they should ever be in the galls of bitterness (1 Corinthians 12:31, Acts 8:23).  Why? Well, with God, it keeps people bound in the bonds of iniquity and sin (Acts 8:23).  Bitterness is any feeling He has dealt (or is dealing) unfairly or unjustly, and this isn’t possible (Ezekiel 33:20, Deuteronomy 32:4).

Everything past in our life is required by God, and it will be this way as long as we live (Ecclesiastes 3:15). However, how will He ever create a new path in the wilderness if we keep looking back over our shoulder in remembrance of the bad things from days gone by making us bitter now (Isaiah 43:18-19)?  Repeatedly rehashing them leaves little room for future hopes.

God will never cause us grief or afflict us willingly – there always a reason (Lamentations 3:32-33).  It’s just that we are not to know the times or seasons He has put in His own power (Acts 1:7).  Faith and belief says we trust in Him, and He knows what He’s doing – even if we don’t understand (Proverbs 3:5-6).  We either grow better from trials and troubles, or bitter.

Bitterness is also feelings of resentment with God – and there can be a wide variety of reasons why.  One could be some private displeasure about blessings He certainly seems to bestowing on others from above – when we think we are the ones showing Him much more love than they are – and that we should be the recipients.  It creates a sense of indignation inside us.

When these feelings of resentment get released out into the open, expressed in words or actions, it is how Christianity can start feeling like it is nothing more than a tense, stressful contest.  It becomes ungodly. There’s lack of contentment.  Believers start unwisely comparing and measuring aspects of their walk with God against those of others (2 Corinthians 10:12).

In turn, this creates an uneasy air of contention, and generates confusion God never authors (1 Corinthians 14:33).  It is a precursor to every evil work within the churches (James 3:14-16).  It births sinful pride and the evil rejoicing of boastings (James 4:16).  This is how believers become apostates by serving Satan more than God (Romans 1:25,30, 2 Timothy 3:1-2).

We are all prime candidates for bitterness, if we ever become weary of life, or in our walk with the Lord (Job 10:1).  Relationships, jobs, finances, Christianity, etc. – are not creating the better lives we hoped they would at their outset.  We can get to a point where we think “What’s the point?”  This is vanity – useless, a waste of time, and not producing desired results.

We have to be careful and prayerful our belief does not end up being in vain (1 Corinthians 15:2).  Bitter roots cannot possibly produce the spiritual fruits God commands us to continually bring forth – meet for repentance (Galatians 5:22-23, Matthew 3:8, Acts 17:30).  Instead, they bring forth toxic, spoiled, and worldly fruits like resentment, anger, and envy.

Whatever the reasons for bitterness, they are all displeasing to God.  Bitterness prevents Christians from following peace and holiness with all men below heaven, and keeps them out because of it (Hebrews 12:14-15).  It breeds contention, birthed only from foolish pride (Proverbs 13:10), with others and Him. Contention creates conflict and friction – not peace.

Bitter Christians don’t think right thoughts (Philippians 4:8-9).  It means they cannot have victorious walks with Jesus in such vexed states of mind.  The final 13 paragraphs from the Charming Health website (with some personal additions and Scripture support) give an extensive and excellent description of bitterness, as well as the inner and outer damage it causes:

Bitterness is emotional suicide.  It’s like drinking poison, and then hoping the other person gets ill. People embroiled in bitterness have an incredible memory for the tiniest little details, and they wallow in puddles of self-pity and resentment.  They record every offense in their heart and head – more than ready to show others how much they have been hurt.

Bitter people defend and carry grudges constantly. They feel they have been hurt too deeply and too often, and think this exempts them from their need to forgive (Matthew 6:14-15).  Their hearts can overflow with so much resentment, they no longer have any capacity to love.  Bitterness takes their soul captive, consuming positive emotions, and robs them of joy.

Bitterness is frozen anger in latent form.  When it is manifested, it becomes a vicious malignancy making one extremely vulnerable to very unwise choices and decisions, developing destructive thought patterns infiltrating body and soul.  It saps the mind’s vitality. If allowed to fester unaddressed, bitterness can pave a path to seeking out vengeance and acts of violence.

Failure to confess and correct bitterness causes it to spread like a cancer no longer in remission.  Unlike a physical kind confined to just one body, bitterness is a spiritual kind infecting and sickening others.  It’s often expressed as anger, jealousy, dissatisfaction, or hate. It keeps focus below, on getting back or even, but not getting and staying on the narrow path to heaven.

It is true many life events can be unpleasant, causing grief and pain.  However, responding in any prolonged bitterness fuels more bitterness far down the road.  A reservoir of resentment is drawn upon over and over. It can be passed down to children and hold people in its vice-like grips.  It can even generate fiery, deadly feuds between families, like the Hatfields and McCoys.

Some of these events can be quite sudden, such as the literal loss of a loved one, or a source of income. Some are subtler, happening more slowly over time such as the loss of reputation, social status within a group, or control.  Regardless, they all sow and grow bitter roots and fruits.  Resentment and bitterness are unacceptable to God as they’re self-defeating and sin.

Existing bitterness in a Christian means they are not abiding side by side with God, so He can burn up the unrighteous roots producing such resentment (John 15:1-6).  These roots cannot bring forth anything but rotten fruits defiling a soul.  Some of them are guilt, arrogance, frustration, surmising, melancholy, sloth, and envy, creating instability in mind and spirit.

Extended bitterness produces physical ailments like insomnia, ulcers, anxiety, fear, depression, and heart attacks.  Mental consequences are hyper-critical views and attitudes about life.  Nobody can do things right (including God) except the bitter person.  Those who associate with such souls may sympathize for a time, but can end up avoiding them, lest they get drawn in.

Still, we are responsible for what we say, think, and feel.  God’s plan is to make us better so we can enter into heaven – not bitter so we cannot.  What makes people so bitter are worldly attitudes they develop growing up, and then carry in life towards situations and others.  As Christians, we’re being transformed by His truth, so old ways aren’t conformed to again.

Continuing in bitterness is not rooted and grounded in God’s love within through the power of the Holy Ghost (Ephesians 3:16-17).  It is building faith upon a faulty foundation (Luke 6:47-49, 1 Corinthians 3:11).  It is not repenting (Luke 13:3,5).  Perishing awaits, unless one is purified by obeying the truth through the Spirit, unto unfeigned and fervent love of all (1 Peter 1:22).

God cannot possibly work His good will and pleasure in bitter hearts (Philippians 2:13).  Those battling with Him and others in futile resistance to His ways, and in refusal to His voice (Hebrews 12:25).  It’s enough to wrestle against the rulers of darkness in this world (Ephesians 6:12), without having to get into bitter, resentful wars with heaven and the brethren as well.

If we are being humbly obedient to God (Philippians 2:8) we are submitting to His power inside us.  We are not to resist it (Romans 13:2), as it’s the only power we will ever get to put off all forms of malice (second lead verse).  External means or methods, including guidance from other Christians, cannot cure bitterness.  All they do is give place to the devil.

Characterized by hostility (not hospitality) bitterness brings forth unforgiving, sputtering, and backsliding spirits full of negative attitudes almost always plotting and scheming, along with grouchy and complaining mouths.  Love can certainly dispel it all, but it spells disaster if left uncorrected.  Satan’s job is to devour, destroy, and kill souls – exactly what bitterness does.

 

 

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KJV and NKJV Scripture

– But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come. – 2 Timothy 3:1

– The first steps to apostasy are forgetting the true and adoring the false. – from Charles Spurgeon

Apostasy is the willful abandonment or renunciation of a belief.  It comes from the Greek “apostasia.”  It means a defection, departure, revolt, or rebellion.  A person cannot become an apostate without holding some sort of belief to begin with.  God warns about the approaching Christian apostasy of man’s last days in many New Testament verses.  Believers will depart from their faith and rebel once again.

No Christian is ever immune from apostasy; and becoming an apostate does not require any open declaration.  The first step on abandonment’s avenue starts in a heart no longer abiding side-by-side with Him (John 15:1-6).  Despite feigned belief within, apostasy can be masked with public proclamations of love and praise for Him – often to gain or maintain worldly admiration or advantage (Jude 1:16)

Internal apostasy in one Christian may not be noticed by others for years.  The believer may be maintaining such a convincing show of external Christianity – it is never suspected.  Although they might be abounding in several open works, the real work of believing God left their heart long ago (John 6:28-29, Romans 4:5). Such a departure can fool the masses for a long time; but never Him (Hebrews 4:12-13).

A warning signal of apostasy approaching or being present is when ears are dull of hearing about God and His Word (Hebrews 5:11).  A hardened heart is not far behind.  Or, one has already been formed – maybe by God (Exodus 7:13).  In such a state, it’s hard to prick them again with talk about truth (Acts 2:37).  Passive belief permeates the being.  Apathy is soon to follow – with apostasy hot on its heels.

Apostasy has many causes – but the results are always the same.  Evil hearts of unbelief are born. Unbelief is no longer drawing back from one’s faith (Hebrews 10:38), but a departure from the living God (Hebrews 3:12-19).  It might begin by getting too complacent and comfortable with one’s Christianity.   A convenient faith is formed – one fitting in nicely with worldly plans, pursuits, and activities.

Going to church on Sunday and/or attending a weekly Bible study; but following and loving the world for the remainder of the week (1 John 2:15) – is having a convenient faith.  It isn’t consistent with steadfast belief.  Apostasy could be knocking on the door if one approaches belief in God like this.  If the extent of one’s life with Him remains restricted to weekly sermons and Bible studies, it may have been let in.

God does not recommend our committed love of Him. It is commanded before loving anything or anyone else (Matthew 22:36-38).  We can’t sit down to drink and dine with God and Satan at the same time (1 Corinthians 10:21).  This makes us all about the Word one second – all about the world the next.  When the world gets favored, the Word has been temporarily abandoned.  If so, guess what seeds are taking root?

Even if we are completely devoted to God with our heart, mind, and soul – much of what goes on in the world today can make us question many things about God and His heavenly court system.  Apostasy can begin brewing if we don’t know where to find answers in His Word.  We may stew over why evil seems to be on the increase, and why God doesn’t appear to be doing much about it (Exodus 34:7, Nahum 1:3).

With spoiling and rioting abounding all around the globe now – it’s easy for some to see God’s laws as being slack, and wrong judgements proceeding from heaven (Habakkuk 1:3-4).  It is an understandable mindset when the righteous and merciful are taken too soon, while evil ones seem to keep getting away with too much wickedness (Isaiah 57:1, Ecclesiastes 8:11-13, Ezra 9:13, Hebrews 2:2-3).

This can lead even the most devout Christians to doubt the eventual return of Jesus.  Causing some to ask, “Where is this promise of Christ coming back (2 Peter 3:3-4)?  Such uncertainty is the mark of an evil and apostate heart – one saying “My Lord delays His coming (Matthew 24:48).”  Implying God’s prophecies are lies or far off – it permits one to easily justify continuance of sinful living (Ezekiel 12:22-28).

Although inner apostasy is hard to detect by humans – outward apostasy is not.  It is apparent in the lives of Christians just by observing their actions, and listening to their words.  Apostasy appears to be speaking louder and clearer across a wide swath of the Christian landscape lately.  It doesn’t take inner spiritual discernment to decide it is happening, or external guessing or supposing.  It’s plainly exposed.

It comes across in Sunday sermons when preachers strut all over a stage puffed up in pride (1 Corinthians 4:6,19).  It comes across when TV pastors spend portions of a broadcast pitching their latest book and trying to get viewers to buy it (2 Peter 2:3).  It comes across when believers publicly boast about all their amazing works for God (Galatians 6:4) … or call constant attention to their faith (Romans 14:22).

Mostly through Timothy, Jude, and the book of Hebrews, God gives us a preview of all the signs pointing to apostasy’s existence – and proof its roots are being produced.  One of them is pride.  Pride will likely keep anyone lifted up in it – in a destructive state of denial about apostasy.  They will keep falling for Satan’s lies and into his condemnation – and resisted by God (1 Timothy 3:6, James 4:6).

Along with arrogant pride (1 Samuel 2:3), here are some other signs:  Men will be lovers of themselves, covetous, boasters, and blasphemers.  They’ll be disobedient to parents, unholy, and unthankful (2 Timothy 3:2).  They will be truce-breakers and false accusers without natural affection.  Incontinent (lacking restraint and self-control), fierce and despisers of those who are good (2 Timothy 3:3).

They will be traitors.  They will be heady and high-minded – loving pleasure more than God (2 Timothy 3:4, 2 Corinthians 10:5, 1 Timothy 5:6, James 5:5). Having a form of godliness – but denying the power thereof (2 Timothy 3:5).  Ever learning, and never able to come unto the knowledge of the truth (2 Timothy 3:7).  Still minding earthly things with their belly as god (Philippians 3:19, Colossians 3:2).

Others will no longer contend for the faith, but will turn God’s grace into a license for lasciviousness (offensively and overt sexual desire) – and denying Him by doing so (Jude 1:3-4).  There will be those despising dominion or speaking evil of dignities (Jude 1:8).  God will be mocked as people walk after their own ungodly lusts (Jude 1:18).  Sensual – having separated from the Spirit in doing so (Jude 1:19).

At a time older and mature Christians should be teachers and speakers of sound doctrine – they will have need of being taught the principles of God’s oracles once again.  Unskilled with Scripture – and still requiring spiritual milk they should have been weaned from long ago (Titus 2:1, Hebrews 5:12-13, 1 Peter 2:2).  Never having their senses exercised to discern both good and evil (Hebrews 5:14).

All in all, apostasy will cause countless Christians to depart from their inner faith in Jesus – despite any external claims to the contrary.  Giving heed to the doctrine of devils and to seducing spirits (1 Timothy 4:1).  It’s all part of the falling away to occur on earth prior to the revelation of perdition’s son.  The one who will show he is God to all who did not receive the love of truth (2 Thessalonians 2:2-3,10).

Once faith and belief in life are established in another person – then lost – it is impossible to regain such in any unwavering fashion again.  There’ll always be a level of doubt or distrust.  The same goes with God. We can only fall away so far from our belief in Him before apostasy sets in.  If it does, all that is left to believe in, and be in bondage once again to – is the world (Hebrews 6:4-6, 2 Peter 2:20-22, 1 John 2:15).

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