Questions flood my thoughts, and I begin to ask the Holy Spirit, "What does my dream mean?" Without going into any details, I quickly discover it's about bitterness. I hate that word! I think I make a face everytime I hear or say that word. We have all come across bitter people, and usually they leave a sour taste in our mouths. Have you ever thought, "Maybe I am the bitter person?" Well, if not, let's go there because it's necessary if we really want to make and see life changes this New Year.
Webster's defines bitterness as sharpness, lack of sweetness, anger & disappointment at being treated unfairly. Trauma, pain, agony, grief, and any unpleasant situation can cause bitterness. The Bible even tells us that there is a root of bitterness that we need to watch out for (Hebrews 12:15). If we are not careful to attend to our "garden" this bitter root will take us out of grace and into dead religion. Bitterness causes much trouble and will defile the beautiful work God is doing in each of us.
Without a doubt, life has thrown some seriously rotten lemons at us-every single one of us. We each have a story to tell about the sour grapes we have been served at one time or another. Are we throwing lemons back? Do we prepare a table of sour grapes for others to eat from? I know that I find myself doing just that.
The scenario in my head goes like this:
Me: I'm not "liking" that post because they didn't "like" my post;
Me: I'm not sending that person anything because they didn't send me anything;
Me: I'm not gonna wish that person "happy birthday" because they forgot my birthday or ignored it;
Me: I'm just gonna ignore them because they treat me like I'm invisible!
Even as I typed the random thoughts that bombard my head on an hourly basis, I feel justified. Bitterness makes us feel right. My feelings are legitimate and even God says so! I've had a lot of hurts in my 29...ok 40 years (we'll talk about white lies later), but do they justify wrong actions that usually include cutting others off? Because that's what most of us do when we are bitter, hurt, and suffering from some sort of trauma. We cut others out of our lives and declare our actions are justifiable.
Maybe in this world, bitter feelings are okay and even acceptable, but if you are a kingdom person (and I pray you are), then you have kingdom responsibilities. This world is NOT our home so let's not get so comfie cozie in settling into what the world says is okay. If we truly understand that we are kingdom people, we won't accept the bread of bitterness that we so willingly serve to to others. We can't change how others act, but we can definitely change how we respond to the lemons of life. Let's look at what it means to be part of God's kingdom. If you catch even a glimpse of this reality, you won't settle for anything less:
Kingdom Principles: Read 1 Peter 2:9
1. You are Chosen by God. It doesn't matter if no one else sees it, but God says it so start saying this over yourself, and you just might believe it!
2. You are from a royal line. Now, you may look and feel like Ellie Mae or Jethro Clampett right now (if only I was brave enough to post a true selfie), but that is NOT who you really are. If you have the testimony of Jesus on your lips, and the Holy Spirit of God living inside of you, then you descend from an ancient royal line that can't compare to any earthly royal lineage. This in no way means you have the right to act pompous and self-imposing. The royal line of Messiah Jesus acts and looks nothing like the royals of the world. If you are from the seed of Messiah, then you will understand servanthood first before you understand ruling and reigning.
3. You have royal duties. Bet you didn't think about this before, but being royal means the kingdom needs you. Each and every royal member has been bestowed with a unigue gift that you are to serve your generation. Don't belittle your gift because the King of Kings gave it to you. Ask the King to show you how to use it. He didn't just give us our gifts to sit on our royal bums.
4. You are set apart. It may feel like you are average beyond average, but that is a lie from the enemy of the King. The King's enemy is OUR enemy, and he doesn't fight fair. Belonging to the King means He has set you apart and given you royal responsibilities that honor His Throne!
5. You are special. I know that sounds corny, but you are special. Don't tell me you didn't smile when you read those words. Everyone needs to feel special. Remember, being special does mean you are different and you do things differently. That's ok. It's part of being special :)
6. You are a bell ringer. Doesn't that constant ringing bell at Christmas time get your attention? It does mine. It also reminds me of the season we are living in. Well, royal princess or prince, we are always in the season of our Lord's return so we need to keep ringing our bell until we are called to the Royal Ball (ie Heaven)!
7. You LIVE in the LIGHT. When you walk into a room, light illuminates the place you rest your feet! This LIGHT is from the King of Kings. The non-royals of the world should need sunglasses when they see you! These same non-royals should want the LIGHT that you have. You should not be craving their darkness.
I could go on and on about ths kingdom. It's recently become my favorite study. But now that you know just who you are and what you are called to do, can you really allow bitterness and unforgiveness to walk alongside of you? The Psalmist declared that goodness and mercy follow him every day of his life (Psalms 23:6). I don't want an unhealthy cancer of bitterness, unforgiveness, and self-righteous justification shadowing the light that I am called to walk in.
As we enter 2015, let's purpose to put off everything that weighs us down. The author of the New Testament book of Ephesians said: Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander as well as all types of evil behavior (Ephesians 4:31).
Looks like you and I have some work to do. Just remember as part of God's royal family, we have been assigned a Royal helper -the Holy Spirit. We can't do this without Him.
Happy New Year. Let 2015 rain down God's goodness and mercy upon you!