I want to share a word from a video we watched in our small group the other night. The video was of Adrian Rogers and he was preaching on bitterness. Wow! This message blew me away! I think it blew all of us away and really hit home. Rather you are a baby in your walk or a mature believer, bitterness is something we ALL need to be aware of. In fact Hebrews 12:14-15 warns us of bitterness by saying, “make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many”.
One thing that Rogers said, that I absolutely love, is that “bitterness blows out the candle of joy”. We can never feel true joy if we are harboring bitterness in our heart! The seed of bitterness is a hurt and the soil is a heart that harbors hostility. Rogers warns that because the root is underground it is easily hidden. With that said if we get truly honest with ourselves we know if we are harboring any kind of anger, resentment, or hostility towards another. Personally, I believe it is hard to hide from others because it is etched in everything we do. Bitterness shows up in how we treat others and how we speak. If we are unforgiving and hold grudges or if we find fault in everything and are critical you can bet there is bitterness that is being harbored.
Rogers went on to talk about the fruit of bitterness. Obviously it is rotten fruit! Bitterness, if not addressed, will affect us in every area of our lives. We will feel it physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Another quote I absolutely loved from the video was that “hatefulness and holiness don’t dwell in the same heart”. If we want to live in freedom and walk in the victory that the Lord wants for us we have to eradicate bitterness from our hearts.
Rogers highlighted three things we have to do to rid ourselves of bitterness. First is let God reveal it. Pray Psalm 139:23-24 “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting”. Second we must let grace remove the bitterness. Going back to Hebrews 12:15 “see to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many”. The final step is letting God replace that bitterness. It’s a process but if we really want the joy and freedom that Christ died for it’s a process we must go through.
I am so thankful for our small group and the spiritual growth that is taking place there. If you’re not already plugged into a group I pray you that you will consider taking that step. I believe that small group really is the foundation of spiritual growth. God loves us. He wants us all to walk in the freedom and victory that Christ died for. My prayer for you is that you will start the process to rid your heart of the bitterness.