Dr. Stephen Phinney & Dr. David Jeremiah
It’s one of the most important messages to hear during our end times:
Yesterday, my wife (Jane) and I sat down over our morning coffee – as we do most days. Our topic? A challenge from our mentor, Dr. David Jeremiah, Are you bitter or better?
We first began to discuss the issues that tempt us to be bitter. We itemized them. Among our list was a leading issue that fronts us daily – that of what we call silencing of the lambs of God.
It is NO news flash that our little ministry communicates with thousands of “Christians” worldwide – daily. Our small team invests many hours per week providing Christ-as-Life Truths to a hurting world. Typically our response level is full-on silence. While this doesn’t seem like an issue that would tempt us with bitterness, it does.
We are an ‘old-school’ type of ministry. Meaning, we take the time to share while expecting most to take the time to reply, minimally with ‘got it’ or share a ‘transformation story.’ Secondly, when other ministries communicate with us, we typically take a moment to thank them for sharing their content with us.
In an age of disappointment, all authentic believers are faced with a decision to be bitter or better when fronted with failing expectations. You have yours, and we have ours. The question becomes, what will we DO with those disappointments.
Here is what Dr. Jeremiah says about this topic:
Our circumstances betray us in the worst ways. Unexpected expenses hamper our financial goals. Tempers flare, and solid relationships crumble. A diagnosis upends our efforts to live a healthy lifestyle. A global pandemic topples our sense of security...our ability to “move about “...our economic stability.
Keeping a biblical perspective about the world around enables us to face life’s circumstances with hope and understanding.
Bitter says, “No one understands me.” Better says that God is there when no one understands us. (1 Peter 5:7)
Bitter says that technology has led to moral decay. Better says we can harness technology to reach more people with the Gospel than ever before. (1 Cor. 9:22)
Bitter says, “Avoid those with whom you disagree.” Better instructs us to demonstrate His life and love wherever we can agree. (1 John 4:7-8)
Bitter says, “The world is godless and deserves God’s wrath.” The better perspective is that the world is lost and deserves God’s grace. (John 3:16)
This “better” point of view was very much the apostle Paul’s focus in the book of Romans—our ministry focus this month. In what is often called the greatest verse in the greatest chapter in the Bible—Romans 8:28—Paul encourages us: “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.”
Today and always, we as indwelt Christians must choose better, not bitter!
We’re keeping our convictions, walking out our faith, and living better so that the bitter doesn’t keep us from sharing the Gospel with others.
And there has never been a better time because our increasingly bitter world needs to know the God who can transform their life. People are angry, hurt, upset, disappointed, and they don’t feel safe anymore.
We, as authentic Christ-as-Life communicators, need to be there! By being available with strong Bible teachings on the identified Life of Jesus Christ, we can reach a whole world of people who are understandably growing bitter in these present circumstances and equip them to be better instead.
It is unrefutable that every day that passes, we get closer to a time in our church history where the end times’ events tempt us to cover ourselves with disappointment. A temptation that always results in bitterness.
What does it mean to be ‘better?’
Well, there are two perspectives on the answer to this question. First, it could mean that you pull yourself up by your bootstraps or a more long-term authentic answer is – release the Life of Jesus from within you to express His method of dealing with disappointment.
Disappointment organically means dis-appointment, meaning missing an appointment leaves the responsible party to wrestle with the thoughts and feelings of being ‘stood up.’ The reason Jesus doesn’t suffer from disappointment is He understands the full view of the sovereignty of His Father. When He moves in or upon a person’s life, and they default to silence, He looks upward – not downward or earthly. He authentically knows that all things work together for the good of those that love God. So…the question becomes that of loving God. Since Jesus, without question, loves His Father, all His actions of conviction and directives are thus understood through His Father’s sovereignty. When someone defaults to silence or stubbornness, He waits and waits until the person responds through brokenness.
And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. (Rom. 8:28)
The second and most critical theology in this passage is, Jesus only takes time to convict and direct those called according to His purpose. That takes a supernatural ability to understand sovereignty, which is a method humanity is void of understanding. Thus, creating a dependence on the indwelling Life of Jesus.
Your choice comes from one of two perspectives.
The bitter perspective is that the world is godless and deserves God’s wrath. However, a better perspective is that the world is lost and needs God’s Grace.
To keep our teaching personal, my internal view of technology, a bitter perspective of no-replies is that technology has led to moral decay. The better perspective is to harness technology to reach more people with the authentic Gospel, our objective for today.
To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak; I have become all things to all men, so that I may by all means save some. (1Cor. 9:22)
God has certainly called you and me for a purpose through our indwelling Life in Christ together—to deliver the unchanging Word of God and the identification of our life in Christ to an ever-changing world. Always remembering, the ever-changing world will ultimately mutate into a system of belief that is certain to multiply the plan of God’s greatest enemy, who is always bitter – Satan.
And this age of disappointment is our moment of choice: Will we, too, believe God works through us, through all things working for the good, or will we choose to be bitter? While my flesh identifies with bitterness as its norm, my Spirit in Christ Jesus intuitively knows that the better life in Him is the mode of goodness that Jesus Himself defaults to in all circumstances. I choose Jesus!
Bitter or Better Bookmark
Get your free Bitter or Better bookmark, sponsored by IOM America & Turning Point Ministries. We love this helpful tool. You will too.
During those moments when you are tempted to default to bitter, this reminder will assist you to choose better as the better option.