40 Days of Joy - Let Go of Bitterness - Day 23

"Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice."  Philippians 4:4

Begin your time with God in prayer:

Praise God for who He is. Confess any sin so that nothing blocks your fellowship with Him. Ask God to use the Spirit and the Word to transform your life. Yield your will to God’s will.

Let God’s Word penetrate your head and your heart: 

Conflict robs us of the joy God has for us. We can’t have real joy if we have broken relationships.

James 4:1-3 - 1What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.

Where do our fights and quarrels come from (vs. 1-3)?

When we don’t get what we want, when we feel we are wronged, when someone has hurt us deeply, our tendency is to want to hurt back, to want revenge, and to harbor a grudge. As we replay the event over and over in our minds, our anger and our hurt turn to bitterness.

Hebrews 12:15 - See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no “root of bitterness” springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled.

According to Hebrews 12:15, what happens when we allow our hearts to become bitter?

1 Peter 2:1-3 - So put away all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander. Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation, if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good.

What do we need to do with our bitterness? With what do we replace it?

Growing starts with the decision to do things God’s way and not our way.

Apply God’s Word to your life:

  • Evaluate your interactions with people in the last 24 hours. In what ways did the time you spent with God, or the lack of time you spent with God, affect how you treated the people?
  • What relationships in your life are broken by your bitterness and unwillingness to forgive?
  • Who do you need to forgive today so that you can let go of the bitterness and be at peace with God and others?

Father, I praise You that You are a God of love. Forgive me for all the times I have been hurtful and unforgiving. Your Word says I am to forgive, not because people deserve it, but because You forgave me when I didn’t deserve it. Help me to release my bitterness today. I don’t want to defile others with my bitter heart. Teach me how to be loving toward all people. I want my relationships to show the joy of the Lord. Amen.

Related verses to meditate on:

Philippians 2:1-2 - So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind.

Colossians 3:12-14 - Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.

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