Is Bitterness Affecting Your Assignment?
I will stand on my watch and set myself on the tower,
and watch to see what He will say to me
and what I shall answer when I am reproved.
We all have dreams and goals that we would like to fulfill in our lifetimes. Many of us have received prophetic words over the years about what the LORD has called us to do. As the years progress and we wait for the fulfillment of those God inspired words, it is necessary at times for a prophet or someone who operates in the gift of prophecy to reaffirm and encourage us with an additional word so we don't lose hope. The LORD appeared to Abraham several times during the 25 years He and Sarah waited for Isaac.
Taking stock in ourselves we should ask what happens within us when we see others around us prospering, stepping into their destiny while we seem to be barren? Without constant affirmation from the Holy Spirit directly or through others, we may find ourselves becoming bitter. What happens when a person experiences seasons of waiting with no fruit in sight? Recognize this, that each assignment will always have an enemy to hinder its fulfillment. Remember, the enemy is not greater than God. The enemy is not flesh and blood (Eph. 6:12). The enemy makes mistakes and can be defeated every time. Until his defeat, he taunts aggressively and misinterprets to us what is actually happening to us or around us.
I want to show you today how your enemy can be used to cause you to turn a corner, and start seeing the fulfillment of your dreams. God turns the planned evil against you to be used for good (Gen. 50:20). First we need to recognize what is happening within us. There are times when we must be confronted by those we love because we cannot accurately see ourselves. We must personally take responsibility for the matter at hand and learn how to fight back. God has given us every tool we need to win this war against the enemy and his personal assignments against us. "Put on the whole armor of God so that you may be able to stand against the wiles (methods) of the devil" (Eph. 6:11). "The Kingdom of Heaven suffers violence and the violent take it by force" (Matt. 11:12).
Description Of Bitterness
Bitterness can be described as anger and disappointment at being treated unfairly, causing resentment. In Hebrew the word for bitterness is "marah" meaning "rebellion." "Key components of bitterness include unresolved anger, the inability to grieve, an inability or unwillingness to face the reality that a certain relationship is never going to fulfill all of one's needs or hopes, and a lack of control (Clinton and Hawkins, 2007). Bitterness can manifest itself in a number of ways, such as obsessive thoughts of revenge, resentment, sarcasm, self-righteousness, unkind or critical comments, conflicts with others, controlling behavior, aggressiveness in relationships, and hostility." 1 Bitterness is so destructive it can actually erode your physical body, your emotions and your spiritual well-being.
The Bible has many examples of people who yielded to the work of bitterness. Esau cried out in bitterness when he realized his blessing had been stolen by his brother, Jacob. (Gen. 27:34) Joseph's brothers were so jealous of him they were called "archers" who shot against him with bitterness and hatred. (Gen. 49:23) The mother-in-law of Ruth wanted to be called "Marah" (bitter), instead of Naomi. (Ruth 1:20) She was upset because of her circumstances and blamed God for her desolate state. Job complained that he was weary of life and spoke out of the bitterness of his soul. (Job 10:1)
There are many signs that reveal bitterness. I will identify six (6) signs that I learned from www.happyhometherapy.com. As you do your own research, you will find more signs than these. Charisma Magazine has an article online revealing 10 signs that a woman is bitter:
- Talk negatively about other people.
- Compare yourselves to others and get jealous.
- Become apathetic and avoid people.
- Take things personally that aren't even about you.
- Complain a lot about the same thing, and over generalize negative experiences.
- Think the world owes you something.
Keys To Freedom From Bitterness
God knows our story from beginning to end. "The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord" (Psalms 37:23). Our assignments will have seasons of waiting, pain, misunderstanding, attack, discouragement and delay. This does not sound encouraging, but if we can recognize that this will happen, we can prepare ahead of time, and not fall prey to the enemy's poison of bitterness. Yeshua the Messiah himself anticipated attacks and adversity. He is our example of one who poured out his heart to the Father with loud crying and tears, prayers, and pleas. He was heard by God because of His reverence. (Heb. 5:7)
In I Samuel 1:1 we are introduced to a man from the tribe of Ephraim named Elkanah. Elkanah had two wives, one Peninnah and the other Hannah (grace). Peninnah had many children and Hannah, the beloved wife of Elkanah was barren. "Hannah's rival (the enemy through Peninnah) would taunt her bitterly to provoke her, because Adonai had closed her womb" (I Sam. 1:6) (TLV). Peninnah in Hebrew means "a pearl." If you have ever studied the origin of a pearl you know that a grain of sand is responsible for the formation of a pearl inside the shell of an oyster. This tiny irritant is called an "intruder." In the deeper Hebraic root, Peninnah's name means "to turn."
Though Hannah does not understand the depths of what is happening, Peninnah is actually being used to reveal the core of Hannah's soul, causing her to turn to the LORD. Because of her inability to see the desired fruit in her life, bitterness began to take root in the soul of Hannah. As stated above, bitterness can take root when there is conflict with others, aggressiveness in relationships, hostility and jealousy of another's success. Although Hannah was able to enter the Temple of God with her husband and receive worthy portions, she was still discontented. Her husband confronted her. "Then her husband Elkanah would say to her, 'Hannah, why are you crying? Why won't you eat? Why is your heart so sad? Am I not better to you than ten sons?'" (I Sam. 1:8). "And she was in bitterness of soul, and prayed unto the LORD, and wept sore" (I Sam. 1:10).
Here is the first key in freedom from bitterness.
- She poured out her heart to the LORD. This is exactly what Yeshua did (Heb. 5:7). We must go before the LORD personally and pour out our complaints in reverence. We must confess the bitterness before we can see the solution.
- She vowed a vow and asked God to look at her state of depression. (I Sam. 1:11) She does not deny the misery and depression she is experiencing. I have made many vows in my walk with God that resulted in supernatural breakthrough. We must rightly divide the word of truth. (Psalms 50:14)
- She asked God to REMEMBER her. (I Sam. 1:11) God remembered many people and gave some of them their specific requests; Noah, Abraham, Sarah, Rachel, Joseph, Gideon, Elizabeth. Can God remember you?
- She made a promise to give back to the LORD, if He would remove her barrenness. (I Sam. 1:11) Her act of confession to the LORD, released her bitterness and complaint, setting her free. She was remembered by GOD and given her heart's desire.
- She learned the secret of thanksgiving. "And Hannah prayed and said, My heart rejoices in Jehovah, my horn is exalted in Jehovah. My mouth is enlarged over my enemies because I rejoice in your salvation."( I Sam. 2:1). Thanksgiving is a very effective weapon of warfare against the enemy.
In light of the season we are entering, THANKSGIVING, let this be a reminder that thanksgiving to God spoken from the heart and with the mouth, causes the enemy to be silenced. May all bitterness be exposed and removed from our souls. It is ungratefulness that stops the flow of continual fruit in our lives. Ungratefulness blinds us. May we all be turned to the beauty of the LORD in thanksgiving and praise and see the frozen areas of our lives thaw. May God bring forth large fruit in your life in this season.
With love and honor,
1. Clinton, Timothy E., and Ronald E. Hawkins. The Popular Encyclopedia of Christian Counseling.
Eugene, Or.: Harvest House, 2011. 180. Print.