The Word This Week

Hebrews 12:12...

Having a fresh understanding of God’s discipline, this is no time to relax.

This is a time to for us to BE disciplined in our understanding of God’s Word and God’s will for our lives.

Our strength is grown by our enhanced understanding of how we relate to God in Christ. First we offload all the extraneous weight – and then we strengthen ourselves for the challenges we will face from the world, the flesh, and the devil.

This is an athletic principle, and it works the same in our lives as children of God.

What follows are a series of exhortations which accomplish this in us.

There are scarcely any worse afflictions in the Body of Christ than roots of bitterness. They don’t just defile ourselves, they defile as many as come into contact with them. A single root of bitterness can disrupt and even ruin an entire church.

Roots of bitterness are those resentments toward others we allow in ourselves to fester until they grow into hatred, or even reviling. This is why we see Jesus giving such emphasis to forgiveness – even and especially toward those who are least deserving of it, and most especially for those calling themselves Christians.

If anyone ever deserved the right to hold onto a root of bitterness it would be the Lord Jesus Himself. Instead, He pled with His Father in heaven to forgive those who were persecuting and brutally torturing and killing Him.

The appeal here is to not allow the “root” to even begin to grow, and to extract it completely if it has. Those of us who have experience weeding gardens know just pulling off or cutting down the above-ground portion of the weed accomplishes nothing but the appearance of the problem being removed. It hasn’t been. Since the root remains, that weed will grow right back.

It is the same with bitterness. Unless you get at the root and remove it, the bitterness will spring right back in a moment’s time. Since it is SO difficult to remove a well-established root, it is far better to never allow it to develop in the first place. The instant bitterness is sensed, it must be dealt with by God’s power and not allowed to flourish.

If you could keep bitterness to yourself it would be one thing – but you can’t. Bitterness has a way of insinuating itself into every life situation, removing not only your peace with God, but others’ peace with God as well. Then they become concerned over your bitterness, or they take up your cause and become embittered themselves.

This is a place divisions in the church begin, and these divisions are defiling to the house God has built. While there may be times good people disagree and decide to move along by the prompting of the Holy Spirit, it must never be out of bitterness but of grace and peace.

Pastor Bill