The Destructive Harvest of a Bitter Heart Part 1 | TBN

The Destructive Harvest of a Bitter Heart Part 1

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December 8, 2018
27:32

The Connection with Skip Heitzig

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The Destructive Harvest of a Bitter Heart Part 1

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  • Pastor Skip Heitzig: And I know, I am absolutely certain
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  • that everyone here has something or someone in their background
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  • that they could use as an excuse to get bitter.
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  • It could potentially cause bitterness if you let it.
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  • And that's why we need to bring it to the foot of the cross
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  • and say, "It's yours, God. I give it to you.
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  • I give my life to you. I lay my pain down before you."
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  • 00:00:49.210 --> 00:00:59.200
  • 00:00:59.210 --> 00:01:09.220
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  • Skip: In the 16th century, there were two renowned artisans
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  • who were both hired to beautify the Vatican in Rome.
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  • One was Michelangelo, the other was Raphael.
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  • Michelangelo was a painter who fancied himself a sculptor.
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  • Raphael, of course, was the renowned sculptor.
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  • Both of them did very different tasks.
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  • Both of them were highly regarded
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  • in their own particular fields.
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  • But interestingly, a bitterness broke out between them,
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  • a rivalry broke out between them so that whenever
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  • they would pass each other in the hall, or even meet,
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  • they refused to speak to each other.
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  • Everybody could see it. It became a renowned bitterness.
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  • And the ironic thing is that both of them were doing this for
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  • the glory of God, doing it for the glory of God while holding
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  • on to bitterness at the same time.
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  • Unfortunately, when you get people that are that revered and
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  • renowned, that bitterness, that rivalry, everybody can taste it.
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  • It defiles so many people, and it becomes renowned.
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  • For example, Winston Churchill.
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  • Everybody knows, most people know that there was this long,
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  • ongoing rivalry between Winston Churchill and a woman named
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  • Lady Aster, and they would often say things to each other,
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  • publicly even, to put down each other.
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  • And it got to be really bad.
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  • So, for example, on one occasion, Lady Aster said to
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  • Winston Churchill publicly, "Sir, if you were my husband,
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  • I would put poison in your tea."
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  • Unfazed by that, he turned to her and said, "Madam,
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  • if I were your husband, I would drink that tea."
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  • Most everyone can think of a bitter person,
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  • but seldom will you find someone willing to admit that
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  • they are a bitter person.
  • 00:03:14.290 --> 00:03:17.250
  • And yet, I think more people may deal with, struggle with a root
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  • of bitterness than we think.
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  • I will admit that when I was a young man, a young boy, I became
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  • angry, and that anger turned to bitterness toward my own father.
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  • He was a harsh man, not very gracious, very demanding,
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  • very exacting, and I struggled with that, and it became,
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  • for a period of time, very dark, and God had to do a work,
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  • and God did do a work of restoration and reconciliation,
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  • but it was something that I struggled with as a young man.
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  • And I was reading a little article blog by a counselor by
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  • the name of Mike Dubose, who lived for years
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  • being bitter at his own father.
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  • He was angry and bitter because his dad left the family
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  • when Mike was a young boy.
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  • He said he was talking to a counselor who said, "You know,
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  • Mike, it's interesting that people from similar backgrounds,
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  • same circumstances as you, even within the same family,
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  • can react different ways.
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  • For example," he said, "you might have one child,
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  • like you, become very resentful.
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  • At the same time, in the same family, you might have a child
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  • who doesn't become resentful but learns from it
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  • and grows from it, and becomes better because of it."
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  • So that set him on a path of healing, but Mike Dubose
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  • said, tells of a conversation that he had with a friend
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  • who was 70 years old.
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  • I'll let him tell the story.
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  • He said: "We spoke about his bad childhood and how he still
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  • resented his father, who had been dead for years."
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  • You can imagine, if he's 70 years old, his dad would have
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  • been gone many years before.
  • 00:05:03.240 --> 00:05:06.080
  • "I advised him to forgive and move on, but he said angrily,
  • 00:05:06.090 --> 00:05:10.060
  • 'I will never forgive my father, even to the grave.'
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  • His dead father," said Mike, "his dead father
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  • and his negative childhood experiences
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  • were still haunting him and generating anger
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  • more than 60 years later."
  • 00:05:25.230 --> 00:05:28.250
  • And he concluded by writing: "Bitterness had taken deep root
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  • in his mind and his heart."
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  • Listen, of all the human emotions that are out there,
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  • this is one that you ought to fear the most
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  • because bitterness is emotional cancer.
  • 00:05:43.080 --> 00:05:47.200
  • As one leader put it, "Bitterness blows out the candle
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  • of joy and leaves the soul in darkness."
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  • You know, bitter people are like porcupines a bit.
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  • They may have many fine points,
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  • but they're very hard to get close to.
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  • And they're hard to get close to because they're harsh,
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  • they're critical, they're unforgiving,
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  • they're judgmental, they're sarcastic, angry.
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  • But it's more than just anger.
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  • It's anger that has grown into something,
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  • morphed into something.
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  • Or they're like icebergs. They're very cold toward you.
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  • They're very cold shouldered, aloof,
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  • act like they don't need you, they don't want you.
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  • They got nothin' to say. "I'm good without you."
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  • And like icebergs, most of the problem is underneath.
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  • You're only seeing the tip of the iceberg.
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  • The real problem is what's going on under the surface.
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  • Now, today, we're dealing with the garden of your own heart,
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  • so to speak, what you allow to grow in your soul.
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  • So we're gonna look at bitterness, and I wanna show you
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  • out of this text, the book of Hebrews chapter 12,
  • 00:06:58.070 --> 00:07:02.050
  • beginning in verse 12, four attributes of bitterness.
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  • We're gonna follow the stages of its growth from a small seed put
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  • into a certain kind of soil that nurtures and nourishes it, that
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  • eventually grows a root system, that eventually produces fruit.
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  • So, let's begin by saying that bitterness begins
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  • with small seeds.
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  • I'm taking you to chapter 12 of Hebrews, verse 12, where he
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  • begins in this paragraph: "Therefore strengthen the hands
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  • which hang down, and the feeble knees, and make straight paths
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  • for your feet, so that what is lame may not be dislocated,
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  • but rather healed.
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  • Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no
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  • one will see the Lord: looking carefully lest anyone fall short
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  • of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up
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  • cause trouble, and by this many become defiled."
  • 00:08:02.000 --> 00:08:06.260
  • Now, this paragraph opens up with a metaphor of a racer,
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  • of a runner.
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  • It's something the author begins with in the first few verses of
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  • the same chapter, where he says, "Let us run the race
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  • that is set before us."
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  • Now he returns to this metaphor, and now here is the runner on
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  • the track whose hands are drooping down.
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  • He's losing the proper form for running.
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  • He's becoming exhausted.
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  • And in his exhaustion, his knees get wobbly.
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  • And in the very second verse, verse 13,
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  • he's veering off his own path, getting into the next lane,
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  • which can become detrimental.
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  • It can dislocate his own joints, or it can hurt a fellow runner.
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  • So, the picture then is of a Christian, a believer running
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  • the race of faith, who becomes discouraged.
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  • What is it that discourages the runner?
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  • People because you'll notice that he says,
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  • "Pursue peace with all people."
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  • You know, the biggest challenge to your peace is people.
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  • Of all the circumstances in life, people are the source
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  • of rattling your cage.
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  • Why? 'Cause people can hurt us.
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  • They can upset us. They can offend us.
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  • They can affront us. They can ignore us.
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  • And all of those things hurt.
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  • However, what we fail to lose sight of when people hurt
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  • us--and that is where bitterness begins, by the way,
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  • with that anger due to hurt.
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  • What we fail to see is that perhaps God is actually
  • 00:09:44.060 --> 00:09:48.100
  • using those difficult people to get our attention,
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  • to use them as a course correction, to chasten us.
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  • By the way, that is the context of the entire chapter.
  • 00:09:56.080 --> 00:09:59.090
  • He starts with a runner metaphor, goes back to it, but
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  • in between, he talks about the chastening of the Lord.
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  • I want you to see a few verses.
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  • Look at verse 3: "For consider him," that is Jesus,
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  • "who endured such hostility from sinners against himself,
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  • lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls.
  • 00:10:16.160 --> 00:10:20.270
  • You have not yet resisted to bloodshed,
  • 00:10:20.280 --> 00:10:22.280
  • striving against sin."
  • 00:10:22.290 --> 00:10:24.090
  • Implying that's what Jesus went through.
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  • "And you have forgotten the exhortation
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  • which speaks to you as to sons."
  • 00:10:28.270 --> 00:10:31.170
  • Here's the quote: "My son, do not despise the chastening,"
  • 00:10:31.180 --> 00:10:36.140
  • that is chastising, that is correction, that is spanking.
  • 00:10:36.150 --> 00:10:41.180
  • "Do not despise the chastening of the Lord, nor be discouraged
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  • when you are rebuked by him; for whom the Lord loves he chastens,
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  • and he scourges every son whom he receives."
  • 00:10:51.100 --> 00:10:55.240
  • Now, when you lose sight of that fact, that God could be using
  • 00:10:55.250 --> 00:10:58.180
  • a difficult person to chastise you, to course correct you,
  • 00:10:58.190 --> 00:11:02.080
  • when you start seeing people not as God's correction,
  • 00:11:02.090 --> 00:11:06.230
  • you start thinking that they're the devil's aggravation.
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  • "This can't be from God. It has to be from the devil."
  • 00:11:10.230 --> 00:11:12.210
  • Well, maybe it's from God 'cause he's chastening you.
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  • God can use those difficulties.
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  • But that word that the person says, that deed that that person
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  • does, it becomes a seed that is planted in your heart
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  • that if you allow it to grow, it leads to bitterness.
  • 00:11:28.000 --> 00:11:31.180
  • And I've noticed something.
  • 00:11:31.190 --> 00:11:32.280
  • When people are discouraged, like this runner is here,
  • 00:11:32.290 --> 00:11:35.280
  • when you are discouraged, you are most vulnerable to those
  • 00:11:35.290 --> 00:11:39.250
  • kind of thoughts inwardly that lead to a bitter heart.
  • 00:11:39.260 --> 00:11:43.170
  • So, where does bitterness come from?
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  • It comes from a seed of anger planted by somebody
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  • who has hurt you.
  • 00:11:50.030 --> 00:11:51.120
  • Bitterness begins to germinate when something happens to you
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  • that you don't think you deserve.
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  • "I don't deserve this.
  • 00:11:57.150 --> 00:11:59.000
  • I don't know why this is happenin' to me.
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  • I don't deserve this."
  • 00:12:00.260 --> 00:12:03.170
  • It's like the student who went to his professor in college,
  • 00:12:03.180 --> 00:12:06.180
  • very angry because the professor gave him a 0 on his test.
  • 00:12:06.190 --> 00:12:10.100
  • And he said, "Excuse me, I don't deserve this 0."
  • 00:12:10.110 --> 00:12:13.250
  • The professor said, "I agree with you.
  • 00:12:13.260 --> 00:12:15.070
  • You don't deserve it, but it's the lowest grade
  • 00:12:15.080 --> 00:12:17.100
  • I could give you."
  • 00:12:17.110 --> 00:12:20.290
  • Now, sometimes people wanna hurt you.
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  • It's an intentional statement or deed.
  • 00:12:23.210 --> 00:12:27.130
  • Other times, it's not intended at all to hurt you.
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  • In fact, sometimes it's imaginary.
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  • You just are imagining this whole thing.
  • 00:12:32.170 --> 00:12:36.120
  • And yet, though they're not trying to hurt you,
  • 00:12:36.130 --> 00:12:39.260
  • they hurt you.
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  • You feel slighted.
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  • Bitterness is simply internalized anger
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  • that you let fester over time.
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  • You hold onto it long enough, and the anger will change.
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  • It will morph into something else,
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  • and that is resentment and then bitterness.
  • 00:12:59.080 --> 00:13:02.180
  • An article I found in "Psychology Today,"
  • 00:13:02.190 --> 00:13:04.160
  • the author said: "All bitterness starts out as hurt."
  • 00:13:04.170 --> 00:13:08.200
  • And then the author says, "It festers into an anger."
  • 00:13:08.210 --> 00:13:11.240
  • He continues, "For anger, and it's first cousin resentment,
  • 00:13:11.250 --> 00:13:16.260
  • is what we're all likely to experience whenever we conclude
  • 00:13:16.270 --> 00:13:20.280
  • that another has seriously abused us.
  • 00:13:20.290 --> 00:13:24.120
  • Left to fester, that righteous anger eventually
  • 00:13:24.130 --> 00:13:28.130
  • becomes the corrosive ulcer that is bitterness."
  • 00:13:28.140 --> 00:13:33.160
  • So, the picture in Hebrews chapter 12
  • 00:13:33.170 --> 00:13:36.080
  • is discouragement has planted a seed of hurt.
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  • The hurt has turned to anger.
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  • The anger becomes resentment.
  • 00:13:42.110 --> 00:13:44.030
  • And eventually, the resentment becomes bitterness.
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  • According to Stephen Diamond, a PhD on the subject,
  • 00:13:47.250 --> 00:13:50.200
  • he defines "bitterness" as "a chronic and pervasive state
  • 00:13:50.210 --> 00:13:56.040
  • of smoldering resentment."
  • 00:13:56.050 --> 00:14:00.020
  • And I thought that was very picturesque,
  • 00:14:00.030 --> 00:14:02.060
  • "a smoldering resentment."
  • 00:14:02.070 --> 00:14:04.260
  • And he said he regards this as one of the most destructive
  • 00:14:04.270 --> 00:14:08.030
  • and toxic of all human emotions.
  • 00:14:08.040 --> 00:14:11.200
  • So, bitterness begins with small seeds.
  • 00:14:11.210 --> 00:14:15.280
  • But then it grows.
  • 00:14:15.290 --> 00:14:17.280
  • And the second characteristic, the second attribute I want you
  • 00:14:17.290 --> 00:14:20.280
  • to see is that bitterness requires the right kind of soil.
  • 00:14:20.290 --> 00:14:24.280
  • So, you look at something, and notice it in verse 15,
  • 00:14:24.290 --> 00:14:27.070
  • if you don't mind.
  • 00:14:27.080 --> 00:14:28.270
  • The author says: "Looking carefully,"
  • 00:14:28.280 --> 00:14:32.030
  • that means paying attention very diligently.
  • 00:14:32.040 --> 00:14:35.290
  • "Looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God."
  • 00:14:36.000 --> 00:14:43.010
  • Now, the truth is, you can never outstrip or outrun
  • 00:14:43.020 --> 00:14:47.260
  • the grace of God.
  • 00:14:47.270 --> 00:14:49.060
  • The Bible says, "Where sin abounds, grace overflows."
  • 00:14:49.070 --> 00:14:53.100
  • But you can come short of it.
  • 00:14:53.110 --> 00:14:55.260
  • You can lose sight of the grace of God.
  • 00:14:55.270 --> 00:14:59.020
  • And when a person misses the grace of God in his or her life,
  • 00:14:59.030 --> 00:15:03.110
  • they become susceptible to a life of bitterness.
  • 00:15:03.120 --> 00:15:07.080
  • Why?
  • 00:15:07.090 --> 00:15:08.180
  • Because when we forget how gracious God was to us,
  • 00:15:08.190 --> 00:15:13.090
  • then we cease being gracious to other people.
  • 00:15:13.100 --> 00:15:17.240
  • And why aren't we gracious?
  • 00:15:17.250 --> 00:15:19.040
  • "Well, this is what you deserve.
  • 00:15:19.050 --> 00:15:21.280
  • This is not what I--" You know, we start forgetting
  • 00:15:21.290 --> 00:15:24.020
  • just how merciful and gracious God was to us.
  • 00:15:24.030 --> 00:15:27.180
  • So, we need to grow in grace.
  • 00:15:27.190 --> 00:15:29.220
  • 'Cause if we don't grow in grace,
  • 00:15:29.230 --> 00:15:31.230
  • bad things can grow in us.
  • 00:15:31.240 --> 00:15:34.210
  • And one of those bad things is this bitterness.
  • 00:15:34.220 --> 00:15:38.280
  • Now, some soils are easier to plant things in than others.
  • 00:15:38.290 --> 00:15:43.290
  • So it is with human hearts.
  • 00:15:44.000 --> 00:15:45.090
  • There are some people's hearts that are just ripe for growing
  • 00:15:45.100 --> 00:15:50.060
  • a harvest of bitterness.
  • 00:15:50.070 --> 00:15:52.200
  • And what kind of heart is that?
  • 00:15:52.210 --> 00:15:55.070
  • People who hold on to things and never let them go.
  • 00:15:55.080 --> 00:15:58.140
  • If we keep ruminating on wrongs in the past, keep chewing on
  • 00:15:58.150 --> 00:16:02.230
  • something that somebody did to us in the past,
  • 00:16:02.240 --> 00:16:05.070
  • it begins to affect us in the present
  • 00:16:05.080 --> 00:16:08.150
  • and it becomes an essential part of who we are.
  • 00:16:08.160 --> 00:16:13.090
  • It is our new identity.
  • 00:16:13.100 --> 00:16:15.050
  • We are that hurt one. We are the victim.
  • 00:16:15.060 --> 00:16:20.200
  • Let me tell you a story of somebody
  • 00:16:20.210 --> 00:16:22.000
  • who was like that in the Bible.
  • 00:16:22.010 --> 00:16:23.190
  • She didn't start out that way.
  • 00:16:23.200 --> 00:16:25.140
  • Her name was Naomi in the book of Ruth.
  • 00:16:25.150 --> 00:16:27.230
  • Naomi is a name that means "pleasant, agreeable, friendly."
  • 00:16:27.240 --> 00:16:30.290
  • What a great name.
  • 00:16:31.000 --> 00:16:32.090
  • "Here comes Miss Pleasant."
  • 00:16:32.100 --> 00:16:34.000
  • I can see her comin' down the road in Bethlehem,
  • 00:16:34.010 --> 00:16:35.260
  • smiling at everybody.
  • 00:16:35.270 --> 00:16:38.000
  • Well, she gets married then has kids.
  • 00:16:38.010 --> 00:16:40.110
  • There's a famine in the land of Israel.
  • 00:16:40.120 --> 00:16:43.070
  • And Bethlehem, where she's from, that's sort of the bread basket
  • 00:16:43.080 --> 00:16:45.270
  • of ancient Israel.
  • 00:16:45.280 --> 00:16:47.120
  • It forces her family to go out and seek food in Moab,
  • 00:16:47.130 --> 00:16:50.190
  • a neighboring country.
  • 00:16:50.200 --> 00:16:52.100
  • And things go from bad to worse.
  • 00:16:52.110 --> 00:16:54.210
  • She loses her husband, Elimelech.
  • 00:16:54.220 --> 00:16:56.210
  • She loses her two boys, Mahlon and Kilion.
  • 00:16:56.220 --> 00:16:59.140
  • They both die.
  • 00:16:59.150 --> 00:17:00.260
  • So she's bereft of three males in her family.
  • 00:17:00.270 --> 00:17:05.050
  • All of that pain that occurs to her becomes a seed that grows in
  • 00:17:05.060 --> 00:17:09.140
  • her heart, a seed of anger that becomes bitterness toward God.
  • 00:17:09.150 --> 00:17:14.010
  • God's the only one left that she can blame, so she blames God.
  • 00:17:14.020 --> 00:17:18.050
  • So she comes back to Bethlehem
  • 00:17:18.060 --> 00:17:19.160
  • because now there's food back in the land of Israel.
  • 00:17:19.170 --> 00:17:21.270
  • She comes back to town.
  • 00:17:21.280 --> 00:17:23.150
  • People see her and they go, "Oh, look, Naomi's back.
  • 00:17:23.160 --> 00:17:28.250
  • Miss Pleasant is back with us."
  • 00:17:28.260 --> 00:17:32.000
  • And listen to her response.
  • 00:17:32.010 --> 00:17:33.220
  • She said, "Don't call me Naomi," which means "pleasant."
  • 00:17:33.230 --> 00:17:37.080
  • "Call me Mara." The word means "bitter."
  • 00:17:37.090 --> 00:17:40.250
  • Now she's defining herself as a bitter person, self-admission.
  • 00:17:40.260 --> 00:17:45.200
  • "Don't call me pleasant. You call me bitter."
  • 00:17:45.210 --> 00:17:48.170
  • Now listen to why.
  • 00:17:48.180 --> 00:17:49.270
  • "For the Almighty has dealt very bitterly with me.
  • 00:17:49.280 --> 00:17:55.110
  • I went out full," not really true, "and the Lord brought me
  • 00:17:55.120 --> 00:17:59.180
  • home again empty.
  • 00:17:59.190 --> 00:18:02.110
  • The Lord has testified against me;
  • 00:18:02.120 --> 00:18:05.200
  • the Almighty has afflicted me."
  • 00:18:05.210 --> 00:18:07.230
  • Now, in that little group of sentences,
  • 00:18:07.240 --> 00:18:09.220
  • four times she blames God.
  • 00:18:09.230 --> 00:18:11.260
  • Four times she says, "I'm bitter and it's God's fault."
  • 00:18:11.270 --> 00:18:14.090
  • Four times she says, "I'm not happy, and it's God's fault."
  • 00:18:14.100 --> 00:18:18.020
  • She has now defined her very life by that destructive emotion
  • 00:18:18.030 --> 00:18:22.290
  • of bitterness.
  • 00:18:23.000 --> 00:18:25.050
  • And that'll happen.
  • 00:18:25.060 --> 00:18:27.230
  • Bitterness turns you into a perpetual victim,
  • 00:18:27.240 --> 00:18:34.000
  • which is a bad place to be,
  • 00:18:34.010 --> 00:18:35.200
  • but it's a very convenient place to be.
  • 00:18:35.210 --> 00:18:37.140
  • Because if you're always the victim,
  • 00:18:37.150 --> 00:18:40.020
  • you can justify your anger.
  • 00:18:40.030 --> 00:18:42.270
  • "I'm angry, and I have a right to be angry."
  • 00:18:42.280 --> 00:18:45.280
  • If you're always the victim, you hold on to that anger.
  • 00:18:45.290 --> 00:18:49.290
  • You blame others.
  • 00:18:50.000 --> 00:18:51.130
  • It's always somebody else's fault.
  • 00:18:51.140 --> 00:18:54.160
  • You play the victim.
  • 00:18:54.170 --> 00:18:56.100
  • And if you analyze it carefully and biblically,
  • 00:18:56.110 --> 00:18:58.190
  • you'll discover something.
  • 00:18:58.200 --> 00:19:00.030
  • Bitterness is really a form of pride.
  • 00:19:00.040 --> 00:19:03.040
  • Because in bitterness, you are saying,
  • 00:19:03.050 --> 00:19:05.080
  • "God, I don't deserve this."
  • 00:19:05.090 --> 00:19:09.010
  • And by the way, it's not smart to pray,
  • 00:19:09.020 --> 00:19:11.280
  • "God, give me what I deserve."
  • 00:19:11.290 --> 00:19:14.220
  • Because what you deserve is far from
  • 00:19:14.230 --> 00:19:17.000
  • what you may think you deserve.
  • 00:19:17.010 --> 00:19:20.080
  • But this is a form of pride, to say, "I don't deserve this.
  • 00:19:20.090 --> 00:19:23.160
  • I deserve much better."
  • 00:19:23.170 --> 00:19:25.190
  • So, when a hurt comes your way, if it's a word somebody says,
  • 00:19:25.200 --> 00:19:30.160
  • if it's an action somebody does, don't let that take root
  • 00:19:30.170 --> 00:19:34.290
  • in your heart.
  • 00:19:35.000 --> 00:19:36.220
  • You can't let that thing continue to grow.
  • 00:19:36.230 --> 00:19:39.050
  • Don't water it with self-exalting thoughts.
  • 00:19:39.060 --> 00:19:43.040
  • Don't fertilize it with other people's sympathies.
  • 00:19:43.050 --> 00:19:48.020
  • You gotta root it out.
  • 00:19:48.030 --> 00:19:49.210
  • 'Cause if you hold on to it, it's gonna grab hold of you
  • 00:19:49.220 --> 00:19:53.190
  • and not let you go.
  • 00:19:53.200 --> 00:19:55.150
  • The world is filled with people who have not dealt
  • 00:19:55.160 --> 00:19:58.120
  • with past hurts.
  • 00:19:58.130 --> 00:20:00.170
  • And people who don't deal with past hurts,
  • 00:20:00.180 --> 00:20:03.060
  • there's a profile that they eventually fit into.
  • 00:20:03.070 --> 00:20:07.290
  • They are critical.
  • 00:20:08.000 --> 00:20:09.100
  • They notice bad things around them, not good things.
  • 00:20:09.110 --> 00:20:11.240
  • Always they notice all the bad things.
  • 00:20:11.250 --> 00:20:14.270
  • Not only are they hyper critical,
  • 00:20:14.280 --> 00:20:16.130
  • but they're fault finders.
  • 00:20:16.140 --> 00:20:17.260
  • They're sin sniffers.
  • 00:20:17.270 --> 00:20:19.290
  • "Somebody's rotten around here. I can smell sin."
  • 00:20:20.000 --> 00:20:25.000
  • And when the talk about people, they can't help themselves.
  • 00:20:25.010 --> 00:20:29.110
  • There's gonna be a putdown in that conversation somewhere.
  • 00:20:29.120 --> 00:20:33.040
  • It's gonna go negative.
  • 00:20:33.050 --> 00:20:34.240
  • Bitterness is what puts a scowl on one's face
  • 00:20:34.250 --> 00:20:39.110
  • and puts venom in one's words.
  • 00:20:39.120 --> 00:20:43.040
  • It's bitterness that has grown. So, it begins with small seeds.
  • 00:20:43.050 --> 00:20:47.090
  • It requires the right kind of soil for it to grow.
  • 00:20:47.100 --> 00:20:51.050
  • But the third characteristic, the third attribute is that
  • 00:20:51.060 --> 00:20:54.100
  • bitterness develops deep roots.
  • 00:20:54.110 --> 00:20:56.210
  • Again, look at verse 5--15, excuse me:
  • 00:20:56.220 --> 00:20:59.130
  • "Looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God;
  • 00:20:59.140 --> 00:21:03.100
  • lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble,
  • 00:21:03.110 --> 00:21:10.000
  • and by this many become defiled."
  • 00:21:10.010 --> 00:21:12.220
  • Now, this whole root of bitterness thing,
  • 00:21:12.230 --> 00:21:14.280
  • the author of Hebrews didn't come up with this on his own.
  • 00:21:14.290 --> 00:21:17.270
  • He's referring, I believe, to a text in the Old Testament,
  • 00:21:17.280 --> 00:21:21.060
  • Deuteronomy 29, where the author is writing
  • 00:21:21.070 --> 00:21:25.160
  • what God said to the people of Israel.
  • 00:21:25.170 --> 00:21:28.050
  • Deuteronomy 29, the Lord said: "There shall not be among you
  • 00:21:28.060 --> 00:21:31.170
  • those with a root bearing bitterness or wormwood."
  • 00:21:31.180 --> 00:21:37.040
  • And the meaning of that in Deuteronomy 29 originally refers
  • 00:21:37.050 --> 00:21:40.130
  • to those people who are superficially identified with
  • 00:21:40.140 --> 00:21:43.230
  • the God of Israel, but they're going back to their old roots,
  • 00:21:43.240 --> 00:21:48.100
  • paganism.
  • 00:21:48.110 --> 00:21:49.230
  • They're leaving the covenant relationship.
  • 00:21:49.240 --> 00:21:52.060
  • They're forsaking the grace of God, forgetting the covenant of
  • 00:21:52.070 --> 00:21:56.020
  • God, and they're not bearing spiritual fruit.
  • 00:21:56.030 --> 00:21:59.250
  • Their life is defined by a root of bitterness, not a sweet root,
  • 00:21:59.260 --> 00:22:04.170
  • not one that grows good fruit.
  • 00:22:04.180 --> 00:22:06.120
  • Here's the larger point.
  • 00:22:06.130 --> 00:22:08.280
  • People who let a seed like this grow in the soil of their hearts
  • 00:22:08.290 --> 00:22:13.090
  • eventually develop a root system that grows, and grows larger,
  • 00:22:13.100 --> 00:22:17.160
  • and grows stronger, and pretty soon becomes immoveable.
  • 00:22:17.170 --> 00:22:23.210
  • Why is it called a "root"?
  • 00:22:23.220 --> 00:22:25.020
  • 'Cause it's hidden. You don't see it.
  • 00:22:25.030 --> 00:22:27.000
  • You walk over roots of trees all the time.
  • 00:22:27.010 --> 00:22:29.020
  • They're growing underneath you.
  • 00:22:29.030 --> 00:22:31.030
  • They're not apparent at first, at first.
  • 00:22:31.040 --> 00:22:35.270
  • They will be apparent later on because the root
  • 00:22:35.280 --> 00:22:38.140
  • is gonna produce fruit.
  • 00:22:38.150 --> 00:22:40.270
  • But at first, it's hidden.
  • 00:22:40.280 --> 00:22:43.010
  • And while it grows hidden, unseen, it grows stronger,
  • 00:22:43.020 --> 00:22:49.100
  • and it can be destructive.
  • 00:22:49.110 --> 00:22:50.200
  • I have this tree in the back of my house, and I've used it in
  • 00:22:50.210 --> 00:22:52.210
  • many illustrations, but one thing that you need to know is
  • 00:22:52.220 --> 00:22:55.260
  • that when it was growing early on, and it's grown quite large,
  • 00:22:55.270 --> 00:23:01.080
  • I had people tell me, "You gotta get rid of that.
  • 00:23:01.090 --> 00:23:03.290
  • This kind of tree can destroy houses,
  • 00:23:04.000 --> 00:23:07.010
  • can destroy foundations."
  • 00:23:07.020 --> 00:23:08.170
  • 'Cause the roots tend to be surface roots, and they can just
  • 00:23:08.180 --> 00:23:12.130
  • break things up, and break foundations up,
  • 00:23:12.140 --> 00:23:14.160
  • and break heating ducts up.
  • 00:23:14.170 --> 00:23:16.000
  • But I love this tree. I haven't gotten rid of it.
  • 00:23:16.010 --> 00:23:18.150
  • Well, I have paid a consequence for it because my back porch
  • 00:23:18.160 --> 00:23:21.290
  • shows a nice, long, crowning crack because one of the roots
  • 00:23:22.000 --> 00:23:29.260
  • of that tree put it there.
  • 00:23:29.270 --> 00:23:31.210
  • It can be very disruptive.
  • 00:23:31.220 --> 00:23:33.290
  • And so, a root of bitterness will grow its tentacles around
  • 00:23:34.000 --> 00:23:37.120
  • your heart and choke off spiritual life,
  • 00:23:37.130 --> 00:23:39.280
  • and choke off emotional life, and will dominate
  • 00:23:39.290 --> 00:23:43.200
  • your life if you let it.
  • 00:23:43.210 --> 00:23:47.000
  • And so Paul says, no wonder he says this in Ephesians 3:
  • 00:23:47.010 --> 00:23:50.000
  • "Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger,
  • 00:23:50.010 --> 00:23:55.020
  • brawling and slander, and every form of malice."
  • 00:23:55.030 --> 00:24:00.160
  • Some people are bitter at their parents.
  • 00:24:00.170 --> 00:24:03.250
  • Some people are bitter at churches.
  • 00:24:03.260 --> 00:24:06.070
  • Some people are bitter at leaders.
  • 00:24:06.080 --> 00:24:07.170
  • Some people are bitter at their ex-spouses.
  • 00:24:07.180 --> 00:24:10.060
  • Some people are bitter at their current spouses.
  • 00:24:10.070 --> 00:24:13.160
  • Bitterness destroys homes.
  • 00:24:13.170 --> 00:24:15.040
  • Colossians chapter 3, verse 19, Paul says: "Husbands,
  • 00:24:15.050 --> 00:24:19.010
  • love your wives and do not be bitter toward them."
  • 00:24:19.020 --> 00:24:24.010
  • Sometimes rather than a husband or a wife being the better half,
  • 00:24:24.020 --> 00:24:27.140
  • they're the bitter half.
  • 00:24:27.150 --> 00:24:31.170
  • And it's a big problem among God's people.
  • 00:24:31.180 --> 00:24:36.270
  • I think bitterness holds back the power of God.
  • 00:24:36.280 --> 00:24:41.260
  • Our life gets so clogged by this root system.
  • 00:24:41.270 --> 00:24:44.220
  • We need to get Roto-Rooter in there now because the power
  • 00:24:44.230 --> 00:24:48.100
  • of God is sort of just--the drain is clogged.
  • 00:24:48.110 --> 00:24:51.290
  • God wants to move, but our bitter hearts block him
  • 00:24:52.000 --> 00:24:54.220
  • from doing that.
  • 00:24:54.230 --> 00:24:56.020
  • See, when your heart is bitter, God will not be real to you.
  • 00:24:56.030 --> 00:25:02.090
  • And that's because hatefulness and holiness cannot dwell
  • 00:25:02.100 --> 00:25:05.290
  • in the same heart, they're exclusive.
  • 00:25:06.000 --> 00:25:10.110
  • So, instead of letting that seed grow and grow and branch out
  • 00:25:10.120 --> 00:25:14.290
  • a root system, you need to plant your life in better soil.
  • 00:25:15.000 --> 00:25:21.270
  • Listen to Paul's words in Ephesians 3:
  • 00:25:21.280 --> 00:25:24.030
  • "Being rooted and grounded in love."
  • 00:25:24.040 --> 00:25:30.210
  • And again in Colossians chapter 2:
  • 00:25:30.220 --> 00:25:32.230
  • "Being rooted and built up in him."
  • 00:25:32.240 --> 00:25:35.200
  • So, when you sink your life into the rich soil of God's love,
  • 00:25:35.210 --> 00:25:39.050
  • and into that rich soil and life of God's character,
  • 00:25:39.060 --> 00:25:45.270
  • that's the soil.
  • 00:25:45.280 --> 00:25:47.070
  • That's where you wanna be plugged into.
  • 00:25:47.080 --> 00:25:49.210
  • In Ephesians 3, which I just mentioned,
  • 00:25:49.220 --> 00:25:52.010
  • I'm gonna read two verses in the New Living Translations,
  • 00:25:52.020 --> 00:25:54.240
  • Ephesians 3:17 and 18.
  • 00:25:54.250 --> 00:25:56.250
  • Listen up: "I pray that Christ will be more and more at home
  • 00:25:56.260 --> 00:26:00.220
  • in your hearts as you trust him.
  • 00:26:00.230 --> 00:26:03.100
  • May your roots go down deep into the soil
  • 00:26:03.110 --> 00:26:06.040
  • of God's marvelous love."
  • 00:26:06.050 --> 00:26:07.290
  • 00:26:08.000 --> 00:26:16.070
  • female announcer: Understanding God's Word
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  • changes everything.
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  • Bible by choosing a gift from the "Connect with Skip Heitzig
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  • Christmas Gift Ideas Brochure."
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