by Pastor Roy Esposito
Last Week: Pain exists as a physical and emotional human condition – 100% of us will suffer from its effects.
- Turn to God and allow the wound to drive us deeper into God, where we can receive healing.
- Let the wound fester.
In choosing the first option, our pain can be part of the process for which we can “Gain Christ” (Philippians 3:8) so our wounds won’t fester into bitterness.
While Salvation is instant, and Justification comes by faith, gaining Christ isn’t automatic.
We gain Christ by having a single mind toward Him, releasing everything else in our pursuit of intimacy with Him.
Gaining Christ – This is a process of giving oneself to living the Christian life intentionally and continuously – with patience and endurance, becoming more of a reflection of Him.
As we become more like Him, our deep soul-sickness becomes progressively healed.
Through faith in God, I’ve learned to entrust myself to His love, especially when I’m wounded.
Peter said we are CALLED to this walk, just as Jesus was:
1 Peter 2:21-23: “For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should know to follow His steps; who committed no sin, nor was deceit found in His mouth. When He was reviled, He did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten; but committed Himself to Him who judges righteously.”
Holding onto bitterness will kill us, body and soul, and infect others around us.
Instead, We must trust and believe that God will take care of it for us.
2 Timothy 1:12: “…for I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that day.”
Sometimes, we are healed not because a person makes restitution to us but because we’ve entrusted andreleased our wound to God, the righteous judge.
Entrusting our wounds to God is the only way we can avoid responding to evil with evil and:
The only way to break this unhealthy downward spiral of bitterness, thus leading to sickness and death.
How far we can trust God will be the measure of our spiritual maturity.
I will admit that I haven’t handled conflict well in the past.
I let it linger in me, becoming an oppression heading towards bitterness.
While reading the scriptures, though, I came across an unlikely remedy.
Luke 6:22-23: “Blessed are you when men hate you and when they exclude you, and revile you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of Man’s sake – REJOICE in that day and LEAP FOR JOY!”
I think we can only leap for joy when we have faith that God will give us the grace needed for whatever situation we find ourselves in.
Over the years at RCFwe have taught that it’s possible to have intimacy with Jesus because He is not just our Savior; in a theological sense, He’s Immanuel: God WITH us!
He dwells in us! He’s fully committed to us! He loves us!
And He’s fully able to transform what was meant to destroy us into a means to perfect us.
The one caveat: We have to BELIEVE it.
If you doubt the Father’s good plan for you and cling to unbelief, your difficulties will reduce you to a bitter, angry person.
Consider: The Father’s “good plan” is about transforming us into the likeness of the Son, to become free and powerful in God, and to do good works in His name.
Because of this, Satan sees us as a threat to Him. He knows that God has ordained a powerful future for us.
This makes us SIGNIFICANT PEOPLE!
Consider this: The devil doesn’t waste his time with insignificant people.
He attacks only those he fears will liberate others.
If he can cause you to become infected with bitterness, your destiny will be side-tracked until the root of bitterness is plucked out of your soul.
The Root of Bitterness
Hebrews 12:15(TPT) – “Watch over each other to make sure that no one misses the revelation of God’s grace. And make sure no one lives with a root of bitterness sprouting within them, which will only cause trouble and poison the hearts of many.”
Question: How can a root of bitterness exist in us?
As I said earlier, LOVE seeks ONENESS.
BITTERNESS seeks DIVISION, to divide and separate and thereby destroy.
Bitterness is a demonic manipulation of a wound or an injustice; like all weeds, it can spread easily.
The root of bitterness exists in unredeemed areas of a self-seeking soul.
John 12:25 (paraphrased by PR) – Jesus said, The only way to save your souls is to lose them to Him.
PR version – “The only way to pass through the most difficult battles is to FACE THEM – carrying the cross with faith, humility, and trust in God.”
There are only two outcomes when we are wounded:
1. Make the wound the focus and keep reliving it.
2. Believe that God has ordained the wounding for His purposes or allowed it to happen for the same reason. Why?
Because in His wisdom, He knows – we need more LOVE – Deeper FAITH – less reliance on self and more on Him.
Ultimately, in every conflict, God seeks to create more Christ-likeness in us.
Only as Christ’s nature, character, love, and authority become functional in my life that I become a Significant Presence in the kingdom of God – AND now…
All my enemies become subdued and dysfunctional in me.
This can be a hard message to grasp fully.
I want to pray as Paul did (Ephessians 1:18) That God would grant us the grace to “see”:
so the eyes of our hearts can be enlightened, so we can know the hope of HIS calling and possess the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints
Then, when the next battle presents itself, we will LEAP FOR JOY and praise God for the victory.