"Work at living in peace with everyone, and work at living a holy life, for those who are not holy will not see the Lord. Look after each other so that none of you fails to receive the grace of God. Watch out that no poisonous root of bitterness grows up to trouble you, corrupting many." Hebrews 12:14-15
The Monster: Bitterness
The Victims: Bitterness can corrupt me and many around me.
The Lie: My bitterness can make things better.
The Danger: Bitterness can destroy me spiritually, relationally, emotionally, and physically.
How To Escape The Root Of Bitterness:
1. Look in the mirror.
"We are all infected and impure with sin. When we display our righteous deeds, they are nothing but filthy rags. Like autumn leaves, we wither and fall, and our sins sweep us away like the wind." Isaiah 64:6
"If we claim we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and not living in the truth." 1 John 1:8
2. Focus on forgiveness.
"But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness." 1 John 1:9
"If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins." Matthew 6:14-15
3. Don't stop forgiving.
"Then Peter came to him and asked, 'Lord, how often should I forgive someone who sins against me? Seven times?' 'No, not seven times,' Jesus replied, 'but seventy times seven!'" Matthew 18:21-22
"Jesus said, 'Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing.'" Luke 23:34
Discussion: What things make you bitter? Are there things you are holding on to? Who do you need to forgive?
"But they lie in wait for their own blood, They lurk secretly for their own lives. So are the ways of everyone who is greedy for gain; It takes away the life of its owners." Proverbs 1:18-19
"Greed causes fighting; trusting the LORD leads to prosperity." Proverbs 28:25
The Monster: Greed
The Victim: Greed can consume anyone.
The Lie: The more I get for me, the happier I will be.
The Letdown: Greed never delivers on its promise.
The Danger: People consumed by greed are usually the most unhappy people of all.
"Then he said, 'Beware! Guard against every kind of greed. Life is not measured by how much you own.'" Luke 12:15
How To Break Free From The Grip Of Greed:
1. Learn to love God first and foremost.
"Jesus said to him, 'You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.' This is the first and great commandment." Matthew 22:37-38
"No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and be enslaved to money." Matthew 6:24
Discussion: What competes with God for your love?
2. Learn to love others second.
"And the second is like it: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.'" Matthew 22:39
"Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in
others, too." Philippians 2:3-4
Discussion: Who has taken an interest in your life? How did you recognize it? How did it impact you? How can you use that example to go and impact someone else?
3. Learn the joy of living for giving.
"You should remember the words of the Lord Jesus: 'It is more blessed to give than to receive.'" Acts 20:35
Looking for ways to serve and give? Let us know by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
"Pride goes before destruction, and haughtiness before a fall." Proverbs 16:18
The Monster: Pride
The Description: The worship of oneself.
The Lie: It's all about me.
The Victim: Pride can consume anyone.
The Letdown: Pride will never cure me of my insecurities.
The Danger: A person consumed with pride will be brought low by God.
"God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble." 1 Peter 5:5
"But all these things did happen to King Nebuchadnezzar. Twelve months later he was taking a walk on the flat roof of the royal palace in Babylon. As he looked out across the city, he said, 'Look at this great city of Babylon! By my own mighty power, I have built this beautiful city as my royal residence to display my majestic splendor.' While these words were still in his mouth, a voice called down from heaven, 'O King Nebuchadnezzar, this message is for you! You are no longer ruler of this kingdom. You will be driven from human society. You will live in the fields with the wild animals, and you will eat grass like a cow. Seven periods of time will pass while you live this way, until you learn that the Most High rules over the kingdoms of the world and gives them to anyone he chooses.' That same hour the judgment was fulfilled, and Nebuchadnezzar was driven from human society. He ate grass like a cow, and he was drenched with the dew of heaven. He lived this way until his hair was as long as eagles’ feathers and his nails were like birds’ claws." Daniel 4:28-33
How To Lose The Pride And Live In Humility:
1. I must repent of my pride.
"After this time had passed, I, Nebuchadnezzar, looked up to heaven. My sanity returned..." Daniel 4:34a
2. I must redirect my praise.
"…and I praised and worshiped the Most High and honored the one who lives forever. His rule is everlasting, and his kingdom is eternal. All the people of the earth are nothing compared to him. He does as he pleases among the angels of heaven and among the people of the earth. No one can stop him or say to him, 'What do you mean by doing these things?'" Daniel 4:34b-35
3. I must receive my purpose.
"'When my sanity returned to me, so did my honor and glory and kingdom. My advisers and nobles sought me out, and I was restored as head of my kingdom, with even greater honor than before. 'Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and glorify and honor the King of heaven. All his acts are just and true, and he is able to humble the proud.'" Daniel 4:36-37
Application: Take some time to take personal inventory and praise God for those things so that we can walk in humility.
"My guilt overwhelms me—it is a burden too heavy to bear. My wounds fester and stink because of my foolish sins. I am bent over and racked with pain. All day long I walk around filled with grief. A raging fever burns within me, and my health is broken. I am exhausted and completely crushed. My groans come from an anguished heart." Psalm 38:4-8 (NLT)
The Monster: Guilt
The Lie: God despises me and can never use me because of what I've done.
The Victim: Guilt can consume anyone.
The Danger And The Damage: Guilt will destroy my relationship with God and others, my self-worth, and ultimately my life.
Our Defense: The truth... God says I can defeat guilt in my life by...
1. Confessing my sin to him.
"When I refused to confess my sin, my body wasted away, and I groaned all day long. Day and night your hand of discipline was heavy on me. My strength evaporated like water in the summer heat. Finally, I confessed all my sins to you and stopped trying to hide my guilt. I said to myself, 'I will confess my rebellion to the Lord.' And you forgave me! All my guilt is gone." Psalm 32:3-5
Discussion: Take time to pray to the Lord and confess whatever sin is causing you to live with guilt.
2. Accepting God's amazing grace.
"But there is a great difference between Adam’s sin and God’s gracious gift. For the sin of this one man, Adam, brought death to many. But even greater is God’s wonderful grace and his gift of forgiveness to many through this other man, Jesus Christ. And the result of God’s gracious gift is very different from the result of that one man’s sin. For Adam’s sin led to condemnation, but God’s free gift leads to our being made right with God, even though we are guilty of many sins. For the sin of this one man, Adam, caused death to rule over many. But even greater is God’s wonderful grace and his gift of righteousness, for all who receive it will live in triumph over sin and death through this one man, Jesus Christ." Romans 5:15-17
Discussion: Take time to pray. Lay your burdens on him and truly accept his amazing grace.
3. Choosing everyday to believe what God has declared for me.
"He has removed our sins as far from us as the east is from the west." Psalm 103:12
"This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun! And all of this is a gift from God, who brought us back to himself through Christ. And God has given us this task of reconciling people to him. For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, no longer counting people’s sins against them. And he gave us this wonderful message of reconciliation." 2 Corinthians 5:17-19
"With this news, strengthen those who have tired hands, and encourage those who have weak knees. Say to those with fearful hearts, 'Be strong, and do not fear, for your God is coming to destroy your enemies. He is coming to save you.' Those who have been ransomed by the Lord will return. They will enter Jerusalem singing, crowned with everlasting joy. Sorrow and mourning will disappear, and they will be filled with joy and gladness." Isaiah 35:3-4, 10 (NLT)
The Monster: Fear
The Description: The barrier to God's best
The Lie: "Something bad is bound to happen"
The Victim: Fear can consume anyone
The Danger: That I will never realize that great things that God is calling me to
Our Defense: The Truth...God says I can conquer fear in my life by...
"And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free." John 8:32 (NLT)
1. Knowing God is always with me.
"Don't be afraid, for I am with you. Don't be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand." Isaiah 41:10 (NLT)
2. Knowing God is for me.
"The Lord is for me, so I will have no fear. What can mere people do to me?" Psalm 118:6 (NLT)
3. Knowing God is greater.
"God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble. So we will not fear when earthquakes come and the mountains crumble into the sea." Psalm 46:1-2 (NLT)