A root of bitterness flourishes in the person that takes offense easily. For when they feel that someone has insulted them…they react not with grace but with indignity and resentment. And if allowed to grow, this root of bitterness leads to a wounded spirit that is of no use to God. And when this happens among Believers in a Church setting…this is when we see division and disunity. As Believers, we need to fight for unity within the Body…not murmur, gripe, and easily take offense.
“It is God Who arms me with strength and makes my way perfect.” (Psalm 18:32) Yes, it’s only by God’s grace, His unearned and unmerited favor, that we are able to make it through trials and suffering. For this verse shows that it is God, not us, that accomplishes this for Believers…to prepare, repair, and perfect us during and after troubling times for His glory.
Jesus Christ is the embodiment of God’s loving kindness towards us. For as sinners, we have no right to claim that any of our good works will get us any closer to heaven…for they won’t. It is only by putting our faith and trust in Jesus that we can be saved…and it is only by His unmerited grace and mercy towards us that it can happen.
Jesus wasn’t cocky or arrogant. Nor was He condescending, even though He had every right to act in this manner. Just imagine, God came down from heaven and willingly became nothing. He humbled Himself to the lowest of social status…a slave or servant, as an example for us to follow. Servant-hood is probably one of the hardest things to do and do well. Our selfish human nature would rather be waited on, rather than wait on others. And the whole humility and obedience thing is in direct contradiction with everything the world tells us to do. But it all starts with our attitude as the verse says. For we can bring under submission our bad attitudes and then take on the role of servant for His glory. We can extend His grace and mercy with genuine love and concern if we become humble and obedient… with Jesus as our guide.
Our Heavenly Father is both benevolent and altruistic when it comes to blessing us. But we usually take that graciousness and turn it into prideful thinking. “Look what gifts the Lord has given me!” I Peter 4: 10-11 reminds us that we are to use those gifts to serve others, not flaunt them in front of people as trophies. The Apostle Paul warns us here that’s it’s all about our state of mind when regarding our giftings… it’s all about gratitude, not attitude and humility, not vanity.