Sometimes I see people with angry, hard faces, and I wonder what has happened in their life. I wonder how they have been cheated or abused. No doubt they have not handled hardship well—as has sometimes happened with me. They have fought against it and are still fighting against it. And now they are bitter, bitter against certain people (maybe all people), against life, and against God.
That’s how it works. That’s how Satan wants to destroy us. His scheme is to convince us that all hardship is of no value and everyone is against us, and we are on our own. But it doesn’t have to be that way. God’s plan for us is that we would use hardship as a vehicle to be strong in faith, to be as a tool of God for His discipline and holiness.
With this said, let us be careful to not let bitterness overtake us. And let us be concerned for others too. If we see a bitter spirit in others or in ourselves, immediately pray for help. For ourselves, pray that we would submit to hardship as God’s discipline. And for others, reach out to them first in prayer, and also with a kind and gentle voice, assuring them that God is near and that what they are going through is for our good and His purpose—to strengthen them according to His will.
7 Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father? 8 If you are not disciplined (and everyone undergoes discipline), then you are illegitimate children and not true sons. 9 Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of our spirits and live! 10 Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness. 11 No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.
12 Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees. 13 “Make level paths for your feet,” so that the lame may not be disabled, but rather healed.
14 Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord. 15 See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many. 16 See that no one is sexually immoral, or is godless like Esau, who for a single meal sold his inheritance rights as the oldest son. 17 Afterward, as you know, when he wanted to inherit this blessing, he was rejected. He could bring about no change of mind, though he sought the blessing with tears.
If all this sounds strange to you, I suggest clicking on my blog page above entitled “Assurance of Salvation.” That information will show you step by step how to have peace with God and have an assurance of eternal life.