During the month of July, Sharing the Word has focused on various freedoms that belong to us founded on the Word of God. The Christian life is to be characterized by Truth that gives the believer the privilege of living above the circumstances of life.  It is evident that life has problems, but when an individual believes in Christ as their Savior, there is opportunity to apply God’s grace provision for handling the adversities of life.  That necessitates learning the Word of God so that as difficulties arise, there is a divine perspective in dealing with them.  Unless God’s solutions are applied to the problems faced by Christians, we become part of that ever growing body of people who are disgruntled with life. As we have seen in the previous two articles, guilt and fear strangle the effectiveness of the Christian’s witness and service to God and can even cause psychosomatic illness in the individual.  Another mental attitude that is devastating to a spiritual walk is the sin of bitterness.  While it eats away at the individual harboring those kinds of thoughts, it may have little effect on the persons or situations to which that bitterness is being directed.   Scripture commands that this sin be put away.  The Apostle Paul wrote to the churches in the area of Ephesus …”Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice.  And be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you” (Eph 4:31-32 NASB).  Of course, it is impossible for a believer, in the own strength, to set this sin aside as well as the other ones mentioned by the apostle.  The Word of God can only be applied in the filling of the Spirit.  Too many Christians, bring their spiritual lives to a halt after they accept Christ as Savior.  Yes, to become a child of God does require faith in the facts that Jesus Christ died for our sins, was buried and that He rose again, all in keeping with Scripture.  However, that is the beginning of the spiritual life.  Paul referred to new believers as babes in Christ.  The Apostle Peter urged new believers to grow up in their new position in Christ.  “Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation” (1 Pet 2:2 NIV).  Knowing that spiritual growth requires nourishment, the apostle  tells his audience that God’s Word reveals His provisions for the Christian to have material and spiritual blessings so that there can be spiritual advance. ”His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.  Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires” (2 Pet 1:3-4 NIV). When faced with that which would tempt to bitterness, the Christian with divine perspective, commits the matter to the Lord, leaves it in His hands, rejects the temptation to become bitter and instead, fulfills the words of Jesus when He said … "You have heard that it was said, 'You shall love your neighbor, and hate your enemy.'  "But I say to you, love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you” (Matt 5:43-44 NASB). 

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