Recently, I cozied in on this season’s first cold day with a cup of tea and a favorite gingerbread cookie from a local specialty store. As I bit into the soft decadent dessert, the flavors of bitter and sweet seemed more pronounced than when I had eaten them before.
The molasses was sweet. The baking soda or powder was bitter.
I did not like the bitter.
I had a distinct sense that God was expressing something to me.
I flipped on the TV to watch Pastor Jentezen Franklin. No accident, he shared a message about how the Israelites had eaten bitter herbs in Egypt and, as a result, they were difficult to be around.
He described their words as having “stunk bitterly.”
Later, I flipped through a stack of books a friend had borrowed and returned to me. One of them was John Eckhardt’s Destroying the Spirit of Rejection: Receive Love and Acceptance and Find Healing. A nugget on one of the pages leapt out at me: Provoke is rooted in bitterness.
This brought to mind someone I know who, from a very young age, seemed to have made an art of controlling others through antagonistic provoke–stirring up trouble (instead of Holy Spirit). It reminded me of the deep “unprovokable” work The Lord did in me over the years and continues to do.
The next day, I picked up my Bible reading in the book of “Proverbs,” where I had left off. I discovered even more clues to this message The Lord was building . . .
“There’s only one kind of person who is worse than a fool: the impetuous one who speaks without thinking first” (Proverbs 29:20 TPT).
I felt led to look up “impetuous.” Webster’s defines it as “marked by impulsive vehemence or passion (temperament).”
I felt led to look up “vehemence.” Webster’s defines it as “forceful energy, powerful wind, intensely emotional, fervid, deeply felt (suspicion), forceably expressed (denunciations), bitterly antagonistic (debate).”
I noticed that on page (267) of my TPT Bible is the study note: “Wind is an emblem of the Holy Spirit bringing new life” (John 3:6-8).
Then the Word of The Lord was made clear:
Bitterness can be a false establishment of a driving force behind provoke, antagonism, intensely emotional temperaments. Do not tolerate the false shield of provoke (rooted in bitterness) from others or yourself. Extend the true shield of faith for grace to come to know the Presence of God more than any familiar spirit of provoke. Remain in faith.
Bitterness works against the Holy Spirit on your behalf. It can hinder new life through Christ. Do not accept the false wind of bitterness over the Holy Spirit’s wind of change for new life. A sweet countenance is required for where God desires to lead you and with whom He desires to align you in His promised land. Choose to receive His big fruit (abundant) blessings. Remain in His Word.
I prayed . . .
Dear Lord, Regarding bitterness, please pluck up any root and rid me of all residue. Fill me with Your Holy Spirit of light, life and truth, in Jesus’ Mighty Name. Let me be a flourishing branch, a good tree with flourishing branches. Let my heart be Your beautiful garden that produces and attracts a sweet harvest of good fruit—Your goodness demonstrated—as I abide in You at the root level. As You water me with Your Word, continue to make me “a woman of strength and mighty valor, a radiant woman” (Proverbs 31:10, 31). One who “lives in the wonder, awe, and fear of The Lord” (Proverbs 31:30). An anointed cloud “carried by the wind of the Holy Spirit [to] bring refreshing truths to [Your] people” (Proverbs 25:14 TPT Note).
Funny thing, I don’t think I like those gingerbread cookies as much as I used to. God offered me something better: more authenticity in my relationship with Him.
He enabled me to receive more gratitude and true intimacy.
“For the natural realm can only give birth to things that are natural, but the spiritual realm gives birth to supernatural life! You shouldn’t be amazed by my statement, ‘You all must be born from above!’ For the Spirit-wind blows as it chooses. You can hear its sound, but you don’t know where it came from or where it’s going. So it is within the hearts of those who are Spirit-born” (John 3:6-8 TPT)!
“But when the truth-giving Spirit comes, he will unveil the reality of every truth within you. He won’t speak on his own, but only what he hears from the Father, and he will reveal prophetically to you what is to come” (John 16:13 TPT).
“As for us, we have all of these great witnesses who encircle us like clouds. So we must let go of every wound that has pierced us and the sin we so easily fall into. Then we will be able to run life’s marathon race with passion and determination, for the path has been already marked out before us” (Hebrews 12:1 TPT).
“You must catch the troubling foxes, those sly little foxes that hinder our relationship. For they raid our budding vineyard of love to ruin what I’ve planted within you. Will you catch them and remove them for me? We will do it together” (Song of Songs 2:15 TPT).
“These ‘foxes’ are the compromises that are hidden deep in our hearts. These are areas of our lives where we have not yet allowed the victory of Christ to shine into. The foxes keep the fruit of his Spirit from growing within us” (TPT Bible note for Song of Songs 2:15).
“And I pray that he would unveil within you the unlimited riches of his glory and favor until supernatural strength floods your innermost being with his divine might and explosive power” (Ephesians 3:16 TPT).
“Now my beloved ones, I have saved these most important truths for last: Be supernaturally infused with strength through your life-union with the Lord Jesus. Stand victorious with the force of his explosive power flowing in and through you” (Ephesians 6:10 TPT).