Holiness Within

Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord
(Hebrews 12:14, KJV)

 
 
 
 
 

When we were kids we were so happy when school was out because we could play all day, sleep late, stay up late and watch as much TV as we could. It was a time to put all books, studying and tests aside…time to relax and have as much of fun and do as much of nothing as possible. Lots of planning went into vacations with family and friends. Oh, but our enemy, Satan, doesn’t take vacation or time off trying to stop us from being the children God created us to be. We must remain sober and mindful so Satan doesn’t sneak into our spiritual house in any sneaky way. This summer make it point to stay on guard, so if Jesus returns you’ll be ready to be caught up with Him!


This is a short study on bitterness that will hopefully help keep your temple clean. If you find any of these character traits in your heart, don’t worry; just acknowledge it’s there, repent, forgive whoever you need to forgive, and rejoice that grace has found you to teach you the ways of God!


Bitterness is a strong man in Satan’s kingdom that produces intense ill will or even hatred in a person under its influence. We must recognize that Bitterness wants to separate us from God and from His peace. It will separate you from peace with yourself and with others. If we are in conflict with one another, I am not your enemy. You are not my enemy. We must be able to separate the person from their sin. Their sin is the enemy…NOT THEM!


When someone violates us, we make him or her evil along with the evil they did. You have to able to separate people from their sin. God did not create you from the foundation of the world as a sinner. He created us as saints before Him and as His sons and daughters forever. Because of sin, we have become separated from Him. Even after accepting Christ, we still have many things to work out.


Bitterness is a territory ruled by a prince under Satan and it has 7 spirits answering to and reinforcing it:


1.  Unforgiveness


Looking diligently lest any man full of the grace of God; 

lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, 

and thereby many be defiled: (Hebrews 12:15)


How many flashbacks do you still have about things done against you? If you hear Aunt Susie’s name, would you be able to give 15 reasons why you don’t like her? This is unforgiveness. When unforgiveness is left unchecked images, conversations, memories, smells or sounds are allowed to replay over and over creating deeper holes in the soul to allow following strongholds of the enemy to take root.


2.  Resentment is the record of wrongs being fueled by feelings we’ve held onto, meditated or chewed on it. It is amazing when we have feelings of resentment, we think about Aunt Susie up here (in our minds), but feel her down here (in our heart). That’s because your mind is where your soul is and your spirit is where your heart is. You are a spirit being; you have a soul and you live in your body.


Resentment is a spiritual problem, not a psychological problem. Bitterness, unforgiveness and resentment are spiritual problems, not psychological problems. You can take theses keys and use them in any spiritual conflict you have in your life. This is what separates us from others and it is the foundation of fear: fear of man, fear of rejection, and fear of failure or fear of abandonment.


3.  Retaliation comes after resentment is deeply rooted (foothold). After resentment started to simmer, we want to find ways to get back at the person who caused it. Retaliation wants to make a person pay…it’s time to get even.


Have you ever thought, ” I’M NOT GOING TO FORGIVE, I’M GONNA GET EVEN”? Is this attitude from the works of the flesh or part of the fruit of the spirit found in Galatians 5:16-26?


4.  Anger sets in when the former three have been given place to flourish. Unforgiveness, resentment and retaliation have been building and now a real strong feeling of anger comes along. Anger is the verbal release of what has been stirring or brewing in your heart. Anger reminds you that you have not forgiven them, that you still resent them, and want to get even with them. You have crossed a line because the first three spirits can be hidden, but anger is vocalized. You can see anger in a person’s eyes, discern their strong feelings, and hear it in their voice.


5.  Hatred “Because I’m remembering what you did to me, because I have really been meditating on it and I really resent it, I’m going to get even. I’m going to get the pressure cooker going because I’m going to add fuel to this thing and now at this stage you do not have any reason to exist anymore, especially in my presence.” Hatred says, “There’s not even room on this planet for you and me at the same place at the same time.” Hatred says, “You and I cannot stay in the same room together.” Anger starts to vocalize and hatred starts to eliminate.


6.  Violence is the physical response of hatred. Violence says, “Before I eliminate you, you are going to feel MY pain. You are going to hear MY voice. You are going to know MY hatred. You are going to experience it.” Violence does physical harm (damage) to the other person.


7.  Murder is the final fruit of bitterness once violence has erupted.  this can be actual physical murder, or murder with the tongue (spreading lies, gossip, back biting, character assassination, and/or verbal abuse).


If ANY of these are in a person’s life, ALL if the stuff from here (the mind) to here (the heart) IS there. For example, if you see hatred in a person, unforgiveness, resentment, retaliation, and anger ALWAYS precede. Each of the seven is progressively worse that the preceding one (violence is a much more serious problem than resentment. If it’s not dealt with, it’s going to go straight to the heart and take up residence. We must be wise and use God’s spiritual gift of discernment (awareness) so these areas do not remain unchecked in our heart.


God expects us to forgive 70 x 7; that is to say minute by minute, hour by hour, day by day we are to forgive and release those who defile (offend) us. There are 60 minutes in each hour. 8 hours a day times 60 minutes is 480. But 70 x 7 is 490, which is more than 480. In other words if you only forgive during 8 hours of your day, you are falling short of what Jesus requires for loving your brother! You forgive others because the Father has forgiven you. He told you to forgive and you are His obedient child. When you have forgiven your brother his trespass, then God releases you because you have released your brother from his trespass.


…But I say unto you, Love your enemies, 

bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, 

and pray for them which despitefully use you and persecute you:...(Matthew 5:43-48)


Forgiving another person does not mean approving or condoning their sin. When you forgive others, you are not letting them off the hook, but giving them to God. You continue to hate their sin, but you are commanded to love them. You are not the judge, God is. Retaliation wants you to judge. God might want to save them down the road and you definitely do not want to stand in God’s path of salvation for someone else. Whether a person responds to you in forgiveness or not, it’s their problem and their sin. Walk away, keep your heart right, pray and ask God to bring reconciliation. When (notice I didn’t say “if”, because he is going to come) the devil tries to remind you of what someone did to you, remind him that you have already forgiven them, then turn around and pray blessings upon them.
(Reference:  Wright, Henry W., A More Excellent Way to Be in Health, Chapter 3 Bitterness, 1999.)