Eat the Bitterness or the Sweetness of Life

Before I moved away from my old neighborhood, I was blessed with very loving and kind neighbors, an elderly couple that lived across the street. They were married over sixty years and had raised two very successful sons that moved to other states to establish their respective families. I learned so much from this couple about unity, marriage, and raising a family. They talked frequently about how much they valued God’s peace and their love for His standards. With two years between them, when they first met, she was twenty-one years old and he was twenty-three. She said she fell in love with his quiet spirit and the consistent manner in which he pursued her. They’ve passed on from this life, but the lesson I learned from them about the standard of consistency is one I pray will bless you as much as it did me.

My grandmother would say, “God don’t bless no mess.” She would say this when church folk would behave unGodly, yet they expected to move in the blessings of God. As many of us go through our everyday lives, we don’t give this much thought, but we must never forget that God holds us to a standard. As part of our spiritual discipline and practice, we must constantly hold ourselves to the scrutiny of the example of Christ contained in God’s Word.

2Corinthians 13:5(NIV) tells us, Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you—unless, of course, you fail the test?” This testing of ourselves isn’t offered in 2Corinthians 13:5 as a suggestion. It’s a requirement. Our journey in Christ is one of learning, forgiveness, humility, and correction. Our blessings are tied to these four, and learning, forgiveness, humility, and correction all breed the kind of consistency God is looking to see in us. We must examine ourselves using them as our barometer, because this can point to why our blessings might be delayed.

Nothing in a person’s life happens randomly. God allowed this couple to be in my life to teach me spiritual lessons I needed to learn for my journey in Christ. It is impossible to grow in Christ and excel in his faith without saturating our minds with knowledge about him. The more we know about him, the more like him we become, and this is God’s goal and standard for our lives. If we get away from this, we step outside the boundaries of God’s plan. And if we step outside the boundaries of God’s plan and purpose, instead of being attracted to us, blessings are repelled.

Heavenly Father blesses His Word. Whenever and wherever His Word is obeyed and trusted, His blessings will abound. James 1:5(NIV) tells us, “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.”  Some of us never think to ask Him to show us where and when we’re not clinging to His Word, but this is where we should place a great deal of focus. And not only should we ask Him to reveal how and when we’ve gotten off track, but we should position ourselves to receive the truth of what He will reveal. Sometimes this truth isn’t comfortable. In fact, in most instances it convicts us, but the conviction is good for our souls because it shows we are humble and teachable. It shows we are willing to correct ourselves in the areas where we’ve fallen short.

Romans 10:17 tells us that faith comes by hearing the Word of God. Faith cannot come by any other means. We must hear and digest the knowledge that is going to help us correct those habits and behaviors that keep us from walking in faith and truth. Proverbs 1:31-32(NIV) tells us, “31 they will eat the fruit of their ways and be filled with the fruit of their schemes. 32 For the waywardness of the simple will kill them, and the complacency of fools will destroy them;” This passage shows us that our lives are molded and shaped based on the patterns and behaviors we have. Our attitudes, thoughts, conversations, confessions, and behaviors will increase either our blessings or our bitterness. We eat the fruit from our choices, and the bellies of our lives will be filled by the plans we hatch to do good or wrong. So, we can’t afford to let the lessons of consistency in our allegiance to God slip by. These lessons give us spiritual strength and help us in all our relationships, especially marriage.

The couple I loved so dearly told me that even when they were both so young, they had a strong sense of right and wrong. They valued treating people the way they wanted to be treated. As God’s people, we can never venture too far from the purity of this standard. As women of faith, we can’t afford to sleep on the reality that a man will show us his standard right from the very beginning. He will pursue us consistently and cling to the Godliness we have cultivated in our womanhood. This is why we must be ever so careful to seek God now and work this out within our hearts and minds, because doing so makes sure we are laying up treasures in heaven and setting ourselves up for the sweetness of God’s rewards. ■

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

“Eat the Bitterness or the Sweetness of Life”, written for Copyright©2022. All rights reserved. All done to the glory of God through Jesus Christ, our Lord.

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