Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘wilderness’

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.

 

 

Read Full Post »


KJV and NKJV Scripture

– For neither at any time did we use flattering words, as you know – not a cloak of covetousness.  God is witness. – 1 Thessalonians 2:5

– For I know not to give flattering titles.  In doing so, my Maker would soon take me away. – Job 32:22

Flattery is the handing out of insincere praise and compliments.  It is often excessive – and frequently spoken or written to further one’s own interests.  If present, it can appear as if one person is falling all over another with lots of effusive words like “Wow!” – or “That’s incredible!” – or “You’re simply amazing!”.

One-time usage of such can certainly help uplift and encourage another person who has been down for a while.  However, if this gushy and demonstrative talk becomes a regular practice – something a little more serious and ungodly is taking place.  We are trying to hide such sinful things as covetousness (lead verse).

God tells us we should certainly exhort each other daily, lest we be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin (Hebrews 3:13).  Flattery is a sin.  It is one person showing partiality or playing favorites with somebody else … even among family, friends, or members of a faith (1 Timothy 5:21, James 2:1-4).

It is a fake and feigned attempt to obtain or maintain worldly admiration or advantage.  Sometimes, it is speaking great swelling words, telling other people how swell they are in order to accomplish this (Jude 1:16).  However, he who speaks flattery to his friends – even the eyes of his children – shall fall (Job 17:5).

Flattery is very dangerous because it can be spoken within churches (Ezekiel 12:24) – and/or directed at God.  It is the sign of a having a double-heart or mind – and it’s a mark of spiritual instability (Psalm 12:2, James 1:8).  It points to a heart not purified (James 4:8).  Flattering mouths work ruin (Proverbs 26:28).

When the Israelites were led through the wilderness, they kept sinning and did not believe God for all His works.  After He slew some – the rest returned to seek their Rock early each day.  It did not last.  They went right back to flattering God with their mouths – lying to Him with their tongues (Psalm 78:32-36).

Paul carefully avoided giving appearances of playing favorites or falling all over people with flattery.  God placed trust in him to speak words becoming sound doctrine (1 Thessalonians 2:4, Titus 2:1).  So it would never seem as if Paul was flapping his gums in any semblance of flattery just to sound good or godly.

God is long-suffering towards all of us.  Not willing that any should perish, but to come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9).  Practicing flattery is not the truth.  It is not repenting as commanded (Acts 17:30).  Every Christian should know better not to speak with proud or flattering lips God promises to cut off (Psalm 12:3).

Read Full Post »


(KJV and NKJV Scripture)

– Now the man Moses was very meek, above all the men which were upon the face of the earth. – Numbers 12:3

– Wherefore, lay apart all filthiness and superfluity – and receive with meekness the engrafted word – which is able to save your souls. – James 1:21

God didn’t choose a proven leader, powerful speaker, or long-time preacher to guide the Israelites through the wilderness.  Our Father did not favor someone famous in any congregation at the time (Numbers 16:2).  Nor did He choose someone who saw himself as being tough and strong.  Somehow able to handle everything life threw at him, and somehow prove to everyone he could.

No, God chose the meekest man living on earth at the time (lead verse).  One who wondered why God selected him.  Because he was not very eloquent with words – being both slow of speech and tongue (Exodus 4:10).  It is widely believed Moses stuttered. Although God knew Aaron was a better speaker, He chose Moses.  To speak His words – because of meekness, not might (Exodus 4:14-15).

As with Moses, God is seeking the meek of this earth to spread His message of the gospel.  People to guide in judgement, teach His ways (Psalm 25:9), and to increase with His joy (Isaiah 29:19).  The meek do not seek praise, glory, or attention.  They serve the Lord, but prefer remaining unspotted from the world in the process (James 1:27).  Happy having faith to themselves (Romans 14:22).

Both gentleness and meekness are not signs of any weakness.  They are evidence of God working in us through the power of the Holy Spirit on a daily basis. Teaching us how to be patient, temperate, and long-suffering with all others – just as He is towards us (2 Peter 3:9).  Becoming, and then being meek week after week may be seen by some as a sign of being a wimp, but there’s a difference.

Being a wimp is withdrawing from a course of action or stated position, and it’s seen as one being feeble and cowardly.  Being meek is humbly staying on a steadfast course all the way to the end (Hebrews 3:14) – but not afraid to take a stand with Scripture. It is faithfulness, not feebleness.  Understanding God is steering our ship until death, and giving us the words to speak along the way (Psalm 48:14).

Meekness is among one of the many virtues our Maker requires us to acquire as we climb up the staircase to heaven’s narrow gate (2 Peter 1:5-11, Matthew 7:14).  So we do not keep falling down – or so Jesus doesn’t shut the door when we get there, calling us robbers for climbing the wrong way (John 10:1).  If we want to meet God, and live with Him forever, we have to learn meekness always.

It is one of the several fruits of the Spirit we are to constantly bring forth – for it is in keeping with God’s commandment to repent (Matthew 3:8, Acts 17:30, Galatians 5:22-23).  It is not a recommendation from heaven for salvation (Luke 13:3,5).  Slow, but steady production of such fruit has to continue until then (John 15:16).  A mark of spiritual maturity to God and others is meekness always.

So those chosen from above by God like Moses (John 15:16, 2 Peter 1:10), become truthful and humble servants.  Ones who are gentle unto all – apt to teach with much patience.  In meekness, instructing those who oppose themselves.  If God by chance should give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth, so they can then recover themselves out of Satan’s snares (2 Timothy 2:24-26).

 

 

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: