Bitter to Better
by Margaret D. Mitchell
"...God is light; in Him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth." -1 John 1:5-6
One morning as I was about to leave the house for a coffee meeting with a dear friend, I received a text from a distressed young woman: “I have never been so scared in my life.”
Turns out, her father had threatened to kill her, the rest of her family and himself the night before.
The Holy Spirit’s leading and timing of this text was perfect. After responding, I drove to my friend’s home with a sense that she and I should pray. We know what the Bible says about two gathering in His Name…that He is in our midst (Matt 18:20).
As we lifted this distressed family up, The Lord immediately showed us a vision (day parable) of a large pot that was boiling over on a stove. The lid had come off from the heat and pressure. This young woman’s father was out of control. And so we continued to pray and texted back to her.
God will allow us to go right to the edge of our faith and knowledge and pride to submit to Him to deliver us out of the dark crevices of our souls.
1 John 1:8-10 tells us…
“If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make Him out to be a liar and His word is not in us.”
So what is God’s truth at the root of this man’s behavior or His truth regarding any of our issues?
We can know God and still have deception in areas of our hearts. Ungodly beliefs and fear lock lies away, sometimes for decades before we are confronted with our escalated behavior that springs up like a fountain from a bitter root. And when bitterness takes root, it doesn’t die on its own. It must be confronted at the root with truth.
· Bitterness arrives to steal our joy (our strength) and by attacking our weakness of selfishness with whispers of deception.
· Bitterness is a lie put in motion by our unbelief that comes against God’s promises to love us, protect us, provide for us and prosper us.
· Bitterness is a false (counterfeit) shield of defense rooted in fertile fear that our circumstances are impossible and will not improve.
· Bitterness is a cycle of self-pity that holds us in attacks of depravity and deprivation.
A Choice to Recover
When difficult circumstances cause us to feel uncertain and overwhelmed for a long time, we have a choice to run to God's Word and ascertain His truth or to believe a lie from the enemy of our soul who will use bitterness as a weapon.
Fellowship is Critical
Fellowship can be critical to recovery. Sharing our issues with trusted believers allows God to shine His light on the dark corners of our minds and hearts.
James 5:13-16 instructs us…
"Are any of you suffering hardships? You should pray. Are any of you happy? You should sing praises. Are any of you sick? You should call for the elders of the church to come and pray over you, anointing you with oil in the name of the Lord. Such a prayer offered in faith will heal the sick, and the Lord will make you well. And if you have committed any sins, you will be forgiven. Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results."
James 5:19-20 also says…
"My dear brothers and sisters, if someone among you wanders away from the truth and is brought back, you can be sure that whoever brings the sinner back will save that person from death and bring about the forgiveness of many sins."
Are you willing to help restore wandering, difficult believers? Christians who struggle in the depths of their souls to come to know God better? People who have turned away from confronting the deep, painful issues of their hearts that prevent them from living holy?
And when storms come your way, what will you choose to believe—Our God who loves you and uses challenges for your good to build you up or the hateful enemy who desires to destroy your life—and those around you—with his lies of hopelessness?
I pray that The Holy Spirit will lead this young woman’s father to a trustworthy ministry leader of His choosing, who can help him out of the tomb of despair and the wild, stormy behavior of anger. I believe that if this man is willing, he will see the light of Christ make all things new very soon. Amen.
Margaret D. Mitchell is the Founder of God's Love at Work, a marketplace outreach purposed to share God's greatest power source - the love of Christ. This devotional was adapted from Margaret's forthcoming book, Enduring Grace. All rights reserved.