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Grace bible Church
Pastor Robert McLaughlin
Tree Of Life
Lesson Review for Week Ending 03-21-21

An Appetite For Self-Destruction: Bitterness In The Soul”


Continuing Our Study Of The Defense Mechanisms

In this recap, Pastor looks at
- Defense Mechanisms # 21, “Reaction Formation,” and # 22, __________.
- What is the divine purpose of sex?
- The importance of faithfulness
- Overcoming unfaithfulness in life through the faithfulness of Jesus Christ
- Right Man/Right Woman
- The 7th Experiment Of Solomon/Waiting For The Right Man/Woman
- Bitterness and The Poisoning Of The Soul.

I. Defense Mechanism #21 – Reaction Formation

“Reaction Formation” is a Defense Mechanism which manifest itself as an ego-defense mechanism which includes a desire for a person over another with sexual desire for a certain man or a certain woman. It is also described as a desire for intimate sexual relationships. One must learn that same-sex relationships are are wrong or sinful as Rom 1:22-27 describes this pattern:


“Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and they exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible mankind, of birds, four-footed animals, and crawling creatures. Therefore God gave them up to vile impurity in the lusts of their hearts, so that their bodies would be dishonored among them. For they exchanged the truth of God for falsehood, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen. For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged natural relations for that which is contrary to nature, and likewise the men, too, abandoned natural relations with women and burned in their desire toward one another, males with males committing shameful acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error.”

In this lesson Pastor examines some scripture that shows us how these relationships are to be viewed.

1. What is the purpose of sex?

We begin by first looking at why God created sex in the beginning. Was it only for procreation? Or is that the primary purpose?

In other words, the human race is to be perpetuated out of something that should be great pleasure, and I say something that should be because often it is not. And this is because of every kind of mismatch, distortions in the soul which Satan tries to use to distort the plan of God in the sexual realm.

There are many reasons for these attacks. However, sex was designed by God for right man, right woman and it was designed for recreation, pleasure and enjoyment. It was not designed for manipulation, exploitation or personal profiting as it is used by so many today. There are three areas of intimacy that should take place in marriage between right man and right woman.

  1. Physical intimacy, which is coalescence of bodies or the sexual relationship in marriage.
  2. Compatibility intimacy, which is coalescence of souls or mental attitudes in the relationship of marriage.c.  Rapport intimacy, which is coalescence of human spirits or the spiritual relationship in marriage.God invented sex for two purposes: recreation and procreation. But God did not design sex for the creation of life. Biological life is created as a result of sex, but biological life is not human life. Our bodies can not create human life, only biological life. What separates human beings from all other living organisms? What separates us from primates? The soul. Self awareness, the ability to reason, and conscience are three unique characteristics that separate humans from all animals. Only human beings have these traits, because only human beings have a soul. Our bodies can not produce a soul, therefore they can not produce human life. Sex therefore creates biological life and also serves to transmit the old sin nature through the male chromosome. Biological life only becomes human life when God breathes the soul into the child at the moment of birth. Every person who has ever been born into the human race was given a soul by God at the moment of birth! So it can be said that every one of us is a miracle!
  3. The Great Example Of Sarah.Sarah was a phenomenal woman because of all the things that she had to overcome to reach spiritual maturity. And she is a perfect example and encouragement for every female that even though she was mixed up and flaky and jealous as a young woman, she snapped out of it and made it to spiritual maturity. She also had the disadvantage of having an unfaithful husband who did not protect her. But as we will see, she learned to trust in the One who is always faithful.

Look at HEB 11:11  By means of doctrine resident in the soul even Sarah herself received inherent ability for the deposit of sperm, even beyond the proper time of life, since she considered Him faithful who had promised;

The word “since” is the conjunction "epei" used in the causative meaning and it should be translated "because", in fact, a very strong because. Notice how she made God's hall of fame!

You'll never become an invisible hero and glorify God without that strong objectivity of divine viewpoint and encouragement from doctrine in your own soul which gives you an increasing occupation of the person of Christ. You must learn to respond to the Lord in spite of all the different problems you face. When we react by utilizing doctrine, as Jesus did in His humanity, rather than getting emotional and relying on human solutions and defense mechanisms, we are on our way to the high ground of spiritual maturity.

Whether you have your right man or woman and whether or not they are positive toward doctrine or is not even the issue, as Sarah proves. Sarah proves to all the ladies – you do not need a right man to reach spiritual maturity and glorify God to the maximum, all you need is your positive volition and your right Pastor-Teacher.

HEB 11:11a - By means of doctrine resident in the soul even Sarah herself received inherent ability for the deposit of sperm, even beyond the proper time of life,

The word ‘considered’ is the aorist middle indicative of he-ge-o-mai which means to conclude, to consider, to think on the basis of expertise.

It means to know something very well or to be an expert, and it means that Sarah, who failed in every part of her life, became an expert in the field of doctrine. When she had maximum doctrine in her soul, she was able to draw conclusions. Remember, Sarah was weak in the beginning. She was overcome by jealousy, bitterness, vindictiveness, implacability, she was overcome by a very contentious nature. She was a highly volatile unstable type of woman, but she overcame all of these by doctrine in her soul. As the doctrine increased in her life, she became an expert.

1PE 3:1-7 - In the same way, you wives, be submissive to your own husbands so that even if any of them are disobedient to the word, they may be won without a word by the behavior of their wives, as they observe your chaste and respectful behavior. And let not your adornment be merely external braiding the hair, and wearing gold jewelry, or putting on dresses; but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God. For in this way in former times the holy women also, who hoped in God, used to adorn themselves, being submissive to their own husbands. Thus Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord, and you have become her children if you do what is right without being frightened by any fear. You husbands likewise, live with your wives in an understanding way, as with a weaker vessel, since she is a woman; and grant her honor as a fellow heir of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered.

What did Sarah do with all that doctrine? She applied it! She drew conclusions about the Lord based on it. Sarah is the perfect illustration of how with all the handicaps of subjectivity and frustration and all of the mental attitude sins collected that it is possible to break through all these barriers and move into spiritual maturity. She lived by doctrine, it was her authority, her strength, and her comfort. Christ and His Word are one, as Jn 1:1 tells us. When your number 1 priority is doctrine, your number 1 priority is God. When your relationship with doctrine is right, your relationship with God is right. When you increase momentum by making doctrine #1, and do not let anything come between you and Him, you can not be stopped.

Your job won’t stop you! Your children won’t stop you! Your husband won’t stop you! Neither will the Kingdom of Darkness stop you!

11:11 - By means of doctrine resident in the soul even Sarah herself received inherent ability for the deposit of sperm, even beyond the proper time of life, *since she concluded Him faithful.*

Notice what she concluded, don’t miss it. She could have concluded that God to be a rewarder, or righteous, or loving – He is all of those things! But she chose faithful.

What does a woman desire above all else? Faithfulness. Her husband was not faithful. He sold her out, denied her, lied about her to save his own skin! But she concluded that GOD was faithful, the Lord Jesus Christ is always faithful!

We know that Sarah did not conclude Abraham faithful, especially in GEN 12:13 when Abraham said to Sarah concerning Wahkare Achthoes III, "Please say that you are my sister so that it may go well with me because of you, and that I may live on account of you."


Especially in GEN 16:2, when Sarah said to Abraham, "Now behold, the Lord has prevented me from bearing children. Please go in to my female slave; perhaps I shall obtain children through her." And Abram listened to the voice of Sarai.

She told him to go have sex with Hagar but he obeyed her! He evidently didn’t even argue. We aren’t told, and he probably didn't know it, but she probably circled that tent for hours, getting madder and madder and madder, as only a woman can. Abraham was not faithful. Sarah probably had a hard time trusting anyone, understandably!

So, Sarah had not seen any person who was humanly faithful and she had become very bitter because to her there was no such thing as human faithfulness. Human faithfulness is a very hard thing to find and when we find it in any area we admire it! Sarah was shot down on human faithfulness. She was bitter about it, just like many of you ladies are or have been. But, she began to take in doctrine because Abraham stuck it out with doctrine and she began to follow him and when she got doctrine in her soul, she had enough to know that God is faithful. Once she found someone who was faithful, she became positive and stuck with it and became one of the great women in all of human history. She was a noble, glorious, marvelous, beautiful woman who made it to spiritual maturity with doctrine in her soul!

So, how can you be faithful to God?

The same way as Sarah......your faithfulness to Him is in how often you take in Bible doctrine.

How often do you come to Bible class? Do you make excuses or do you hesitate to downsize your life to make time to study, and then when problems pile up you are feeling overwhelmed? When you are motivated by doctrine in your soul, you can't stay away! But it must be "free will" faithfulness. If you're bullied into being faithful, you're not faithful, you are enslaved!

But if you are faithful because you want to be faithful and you're motivated by true love for the Lord and because the true love in your soul is the doctrine in your soul, then you have it made. Bible doctrine is how you find out how long God has been faithful to you. And how long has He been faithful? Billions and billions of years ago in the doctrine of divine decrees He was faithful to you. Knowing that you were a failure and a flop and that we all are, He did something for you, He sent His uniquely born Son to die in your place so that you could live forever and ever in the eternal state.


HEB 11:11 - By means of doctrine resident in the soul even Sarah herself received inherent ability for the deposit of sperm, even beyond the proper time of life, since she concluded Him faithful who had promised;

"Had promised" is an aorist middle participle of ep-an-gei-la-me-non which in the aorist tense refers to that point of time in eternity past when God the Father made promises for every believer. The middle voice means that God the Father produced the action of the verb, He made a promise but we must respond to those promises if we desire to receive them.

How does He respond? By being faithful to what He has placed in the world. There was a time when God placed a tree in the world and said, don't eat it!

GEN 2:16-17 - And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, "From any tree of the garden you may eat freely; but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you shall surely die."

When man sinned and was driven out of the garden, he was cut off from the tree of life, Gen 3:24.

Gen 3:24So He drove the man out; and at the east of the garden of Eden He stationed the cherubim, and the flaming sword which turned every direction, to guard the way to the tree of life.

Now, He places another tree in the world and says eat it!

Pro 3:18 - "She [doctrine] is a tree of life to those who take hold of her, and happy are all who hold her fast."

Mat 4:4 - But He answered and said, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes out of the mouth of God.’”

Jer 15:16a – “I found Your words, and I ate them, and Your words became a joy to me, and the delight of my heart.”

We can all learn from Sarah how to overcome the problems and snares of life by reliance on God’s Word and Divine viewpoint rather than Defense Mechanisms and human viewpoint thinking.

In conclusion, here are 12 things Pastor showed that Sarah overcame “by means of doctrine in her soul” in order to become a winner in the spiritual life:

1. Sarah was the wife of Abram, GEN 11:29.

  1. She was barren and she had no child, Gen 11:30.
  2. She was betrayed by Abram to the Pharaoh in Egypt, GEN 12:15.
  3. She was rescued by the Lord in GEN 12:17.
  4. In GEN 16:1-4, She blamed the Lord for her barrenness and told Abraham go in to my her slave girl Hagar and have a child by her.
  5. In GEN 16:5, she blamed Abraham for obeying her and having sex with her female slave Hagar.7. In GEN 16:6, she tortured Hagar and almost killed her because of jealousy.
  6. In GEN 18:12, She laughed at the fact that the Lord said that she would bear a child.
  7. In GEN 18:15, she lied to the Lord and said that she didn't laugh, “Sarah denied it however, saying, "I did not laugh"; for she was afraid. And He said, "No, but you did laugh."
  8. In GEN 20:2, Abraham sold her out once again and told her to lie and let the King Gerah take her into his harem11. However, in GEN 20:3, once again TLJC was faithful to her and rescued her when he said to Abimelech in a dream, "You are a dead man because of the woman whom you have taken."
  9. In GEN 21:2, Sarah conceived and bore a son to Abraham in his old age as God had promised.III. Defense Mechanism # 22 -

“_________” manifests itself as sexuality and a desire for lusting after the opposite sex.

This is different than the life of Sarah, this is the life of any person, male or female, towards the opposite sex. This is a person who has been socialized to believe that intimate same-sexual relationships are wrong or sinful.

It is also described as a desire for intimate sexual relationships in COL 3:1-5 - If then you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory. Therefore consider the members of your earthly body as dead to immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed, which amounts to idolatry.

Now, in COL 3:5   Therefore consider the members of your earthly body as dead to immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed, which amounts to idolatry.\

  1. Solomon and The Seventh Experiment

This is the New Testament passage on this subject of sex, let also look at the Old Testament subject.   The first insight is this, we cannot understand ourselves nor can we make ourselves wise.

ECC 7:23 - I tested all this with wisdom, [and] I said, "I will be wise," but it was far from me..... he couldn't pull it off!

ECC 7:24 - What has been is remote [distant] and exceedingly mysterious. Who can discover it? We hear people say many times, "He just doesn't understand me" or "She just doesn't understand me!" And the truth is that we don't even understand ourselves!

Now, Solomon hasn't really gone all out and tried his trump card yet...… His trump card is going to be the one thing most men admired him for......SEX! That's going to be the big thing! He's tried almost everything else, so now he says it's time for sex!

So, in Ecc 7, verses 25-28, wisdom also reveals the fact that intimate relationships are compelling but often not satisfying. This is the beginning of Solomon's seventh experiment, the experiment of seeking happiness in sex.

He says in ECC 7:25 - I directed my mind to know, to investigate, and to seek wisdom and an explanation, and to know the evil of folly and the foolishness of madness.

He did his research, he interviewed people, he asked the ‘experts,’ he had discussions, probably stayed up long into the night seeking answers!

Notice what he says in ECC 7:26-28  And I discovered more bitter than death the woman whose heart is snares and nets, whose hands are chains. One who is pleasing to God will escape from her, but the sinner will be captured by her. "Behold, I have discovered this," says the Preacher, "{adding} one thing to another to find an explanation, which I am still seeking but have not found. I have found one man among a thousand, but I have not found a woman among all these.

Now, I'm going to give the corrected translation of verse 26 first and then work our way back and prove it to you later.


ECC 7:26  And I kept on discovering more bitter than death the woman who is a trap, and whose heart [right lobe] has destructive allurements and her hands are chains. One who is pleasing to God will be delivered from her, but the reversionistic carnal believer will be captured by her.


Now Solomon had a thousand women, 700 princesses as his wives and 300 mistresses! He thought he was a sexual athlete and none of that caused him to gain any sense of wisdom. Solomon found out many things.

First, he found out that he was trapped by sexual seductions. He went looking for love and he thought he would find it in an intimate relationship with a woman. He went looking for that which would support and strengthen him and make him feel that life was worth living. But what he found was nothing but a fleeting sexual thrill! He found himself involved with women who did not give him what he was looking for at all!

In Proverbs 5 we have the greatest treatise on why you should wait for your right man/woman and not give your treasures to anyone else! You are cheating on and robbing your correct mate, and damaging your unborn love! This chapter should be taught to all our youth! You can’t find a clearer message than this chapter where David instructs his young son Solomon (who did not heed and suffered greatly, which we also have in Ecclesiastes) on the real devastation of promiscuity. I will give just a few verses here but it is highly recommended to read the chapter yourself for reference.

PRO 5:3-4 - For the lips of an adulteress drip honey, And her speech is smoother than oil;
But in the end she is bitter as wormwood, Sharp as a two-edged sword.

PRO 5:6 - She does not ponder the path of life; Her ways are unstable, she does not know it.

PRO 5:8-9 - Keep your way far from her, And do not go near the door of her house, Otherwise you will give your vigor to others, And your years to the cruel one;

PRO 5:15-6 - Drink water from your own cistern, And fresh water from your own well. Should your springs overflow into the street, Streams of water in the public squares?

PRO 5:19-20 - Like a loving doe and a graceful mountain goat, Let her breasts satisfy you at all times; Be exhilarated always with her love. For why should you, my son, be exhilarated with an adulteress, And embrace the breasts of a foreigner?

The doctrine of right man/right woman is taught very clearly in Gen 2:18-25, Ecc 9:9, 1Co 7:17, Pro 18:22, 19:12, Pro 5, 31, just to name a few. Solomon did not wait for his right woman as his father had instructed, and paid the price. He became so bitter in his soul toward women! So it is vital that we save ourselves and do not spoil what God has prepared for us before we even discover it! Nothing we can ever experience with random partners can even compare to what we have waiting for us in our pre-designed partner!

Now, none of the other experiments left him bitter, but #7 sure did. Why? We are never more vulnerable than when we engage in intimacy with a person of the opposite sex. Would you take your clothes off in front of someone you don’t know? Why not? Because you don’t want to open yourself up in such a way, to lay yourself bear and open to shame and rejection, right? So you can get the idea. What happens when one does offer oneself up and is rejected? Deep wounds are inflicted, wounds that may never heal completely without the divine healing that comes from rigorous inculcation of doctrine. Our modern “enlightened” and “liberated” culture takes everything much too lightly. We are so very superficial. We take sex just as lightly and how does a person who is promiscuous avoid being hurt when they reveal their secrets and treasures to strangers? They don’t! They become callous, hardened by scar tissue, and then they think they are “tough.” They live in darkness and have no understanding. This scar tissue of the soul makes it extremely difficult for them to ever have the capacity to recognize or respond to their right man or woman even IF they were to become born again later in life.  Solomon had this problem, as he states in ECC 7:27, Behold, I have discovered this,” says the Preacher, “by adding one thing to another to find an explanation, which I am still seeking but have not found. I have found one man among a thousand, but I have not found a woman among all these.  He is saying that among all his 700 wives and countless concubines he had not found his right woman, he had not found real love. Imagine that! Sexual escapades are not the path to finding love! They only result in deep bitterness in the soul and scar tissue.

Now, remember that originally, when man was placed in the garden in perfect environment, God designed man to be happy and for happiness!


For example we read in Gen 2:18  Then the Lord God said, "It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him."

By the way, the phrase "I will make" is the qal imperfect of asah which describes something God keeps on doing. Asah means to manufacture something out of something! Out of the woman's soul, God manufactures a helper suitable for the man! "Helper" is the noun `eezer’ which means someone to aid the man, someone to help him, to assist, someone to respond to him! Someone just for him, they are tailored individually for one another. Ever notice couples complaining that the other “doesn’t understand” them or “doesn’t respond/reciprocate?” This can happen even with your right partner if you are sans doctrine and maturity, but it is guaranteed with your wrong man or woman!

So in Gen 2:18  Then the Lord God said, "It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him."


GEN 2:19  And out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the sky, and brought them to the man to see what he would call them; and whatever the man called a living creature, that was its name.


GEN 2:20-25 - And the man gave names to all the cattle, and to the birds of the sky, and to every beast of the field, but for Adam there was not found a helper suitable for him. And the Lord God fashioned into a woman the rib which He had taken from the man, and brought her to the man. And the man said, "This is now bone of my bones, And flesh of my flesh; She shall be called Woman, Because she was taken out of Man." For this cause a man shall leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave to his wife; and they shall become one flesh. And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.


The doctrine of right man/right woman is often referred to as the “doctrine of Adam’s rib.” This is where it comes from. Now, notice that word ashamed, it is a key word in our study!

They were not ashamed even though they were naked! However, this does not refer to the nakedness of the body only, there were no other people on earth to hide their nakedness from, so what's the big deal?This refers to the nakedness of the soul! They were not ashamed.


The word for "ashamed" is the hithpolel future of buwsh which means to be ashamed, embarrassed, disappointed, dissatisfied, with the soul as well as the body! In other words, originally God designed the man and the woman to be intimate with each other!

In other words, originally God designed the man and the woman to be intimate with each other!


There was to be and still is to be the coalescence of body and soul! Coalescence means to grow together and to come together!


So, the original relationship that God designed for the man and the woman was to be one where they would not be ashamed to share everything with one another. They would not be disappointed or embarrassed! And the reason is because their souls were attached before their body. Now, this is why I believe Solomon became bitter!

Now, because finding your right man or right woman is one of the three gifts God has made available to mankind, Satan has tried to destroy the principle of right man, right woman! The right woman is the oldest and one of many grace gifts to man. There are three prominent grace gifts from Christ to man delineated in Scripture, and these are the order in which they occur in the human race:


  1. Right woman, He built her, Pro 18:22, 19:13‑14.
  2. Salvation, He did it.
  3. Doctrine, He thought it, 1Co 2:16.\


In all of human history, right woman is the oldest human gift, for Christ brought the woman to the man, Gen 2:18.


The fall of man did not change their relationship. So, because the right man right woman relationship is one of the three gifts God has made available to mankind, Satan has tried to destroy the principle of right man, right woman.

1.  Reversionism, especially phallic reversionism is an attack on the concept of right man-right woman.


  1. Life in the cosmic system is an attack on right man-right woman.


  1. All mental attitude sins attack right man-right woman,

SOS 8:6, 8; Pro 27:4, 6:34.

4.  Negative volition to doctrine is an attack on right man-right woman, Jer 15:8‑9, 15‑21, 16:1‑2, 17:9‑11, 12:7‑9.


Negative volition to doctrine destroys right man-right woman relationship.


Abstaining from fornication protects the soul, so that it can have a soul climax and the fantastic happiness Christ wants every member of the human race to have. God isn't trying to keep you from having fun, but from missing out on greater fun than Satan and his cosmic system can provide. Fun is really a mere counterfeit for the true joy of living inside God’s perfect pre-designed plan. We think we know what is going to make us happy, but God who designed us actually knows what will, and what won’t! Shouldn’t we take His Word for it?


Now, Solomon stripped himself of his relationship with the women and that's why he became bitter toward them! He was hardened by scar tissue in the soul. Let’s look at some other causes of bitterness and the ravages of it on individual believers as well as the client nation.

2. Bitterness

Now, if we're really going to understand this passage, we need to note some of the original language!

ECC 7:26  And I discovered more bitter than death the woman whose heart is snares and nets, whose hands are chains. One who is pleasing to God will escape from her, but the sinner will be captured by her.

The phrase "I discovered" is a qal active participle of matsa which looks like this, Uwmowtse, it doesn't mean that he suddenly discovered it, in the qal active participle it means that he lived with this most of his life, he found it and it was a dogmatic finding. The Bible teaches that bitterness results in hatred, cruelty, antagonism, implacability, vindictiveness, and inordinate ambition and inordinate competition.

When Israel was under divine discipline, especially in Judah, it became apparent that they were a bitter people. Which came first? Were they under discipline because they were bitter, or bitter because they were under discipline? The bitterness came first. Bitterness destroys the spiritual life, and when the pivot in a client nation becomes infected by it, the pivot shrinks and the nation comes under discipline. In this way, not only does bitterness destroy the individual believer’s life, since the believer is not an island to himself, but is a part of a body, his bitterness contributes to the disease of the whole nation!

2KI 14:26 - For the Lord saw the affliction of Israel, which was very bitter; for there was neither bond nor free, nor was there any helper for Israel.

When believers operate reject doctrine and do not advance in the PPOG, they make bad decisions from a position of weakness, which results in suffering, both self-induced misery and discipline. Suffering causes bitterness in people who do not understand the Biblical principles and whose relationship with God is not number one priority.

DEU 32:24 They shall be wasted by famine, and consumed by plague and bitter destruction.

They were destroyed because of rejection and bitterness.

LAM 3:14 I have become a laughingstock to all my people, Their {mocking} song all the day.

LAM 3:15 He has filled me with bitterness, He has made me drunk with wormwood.\

The Jews ridiculed the message that Jeremiah was given. Why? Because they were bitter!

Arrogance and bitterness are two sides of the same coin. Arrogance is preoccupation with self. Preoccupation with self always results in bitterness, because the world never gives them everything they demand!

For example, in Acts 8:23, Peter is speaking to Simon the sorcerer and notice what he says.

ACT 8:23 "For I see that you are in the gall of bitterness and in the bondage of iniquity."\

The Twentieth Century Translation says, "for I see that you have fallen into the bitterness of envy." The Phillips translation says "you are a man bitter with jealousy."

Simon the sorcerer passed himself off as a spiritual giant and a person who could do good things for others. However, when Simon the sorcerer saw that Peter's ministry was prospering, he became jealous and bitter and so Peter said "I can see that you are filled with bitterness and jealousy. He was jealous because people were leaving him and going to hear the apostles.

Some other reasons for bitterness include rejection:

COL 3:19 Husbands, love your wives, and do not be embittered against them.\


ROM 3:14 "Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness"

Cosmic involvement

EPH 4:31 Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice.

Where does it take root?

PRO 14:10 The heart knows its own bitterness, And a stranger does not share its joy.

Even strangers can sense it and want no part!

Rejection of doctrine and reversionism is another cause

JER 2:19 - "Your own wickedness will correct you, And your apostasies will reprove you; Know therefore and see that it is evil and bitter. For you to forsake the Lord your God, And the dread of Me is not in you," declares the Lord God of hosts.

The book of James also warns us about bitterness in chapter three.

JAM 3:13 - Who among you is wise and understanding? Let him show by his good behavior his deeds in the gentleness of wisdom.\

In other words, let his behavior be motivated from the wisdom within. James is actually saying let the doctrine within motivate the outward behavior. Most people think outward action precipitates inner change, but the Bible teaches the opposite.

JAM 3:14 - But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your heart, do not be arrogant and so lie against the truth.

Don't lie against doctrine. Don't live in a lie.

Bitter jealousy is bitterness and jealousy combined and it is living in a lie produced by Satan and the kingdom of darkness. Selfish ambition refers to factions, party spirits and cliques. And please notice where all of this takes place, in your heart. All of these sins originate in your heart, the place where you do your thinking. This is why James says, "do not be arrogant and lie against the truth."

In verse 15 we are told by God where this thinking or wisdom comes from.

JAM 3:15 - This wisdom is not that which comes down from above, but is earthly, natural, demonic.


JAM 3:16 For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every evil thing.

The next time you get bitter, jealous, or arrogant, remember this. Where do jealousy and selfish ambition exist? They exist in the cosmic system of Satan!

Job even became bitter toward God directly. Bitterness is also a form of blasphemy as uttered by Job beginning in the last phrase of JOB 9:17-18,  where Job was complaining.

JOB 9:17-18 "For He bruises me with a tempest, And multiplies my wounds without cause. "He will not allow me to get my breath, But saturates me with bitterness.


Job was bitter and he was complaining. Bitter people love to complain. You can always tell the bitter person because they will be always complaining. Nothing is ever right or good enough. This is a rot in the soul! Anyone who has any real appreciation of the grace of God that he even lets us continue breathing, who truly understands that every breath and heartbeat, the sun, the rain, the very atoms in our body are all held together and made to sustain us solely because God wills it so should not be complaining! When a person says, `why did God let this happen to me,' that person is in a state of bitterness. Bitterness will even lead a person to the sin unto death, in fact it accompanies the sin unto death. It also causes the experience of death as well as the anticipation of it to be extremely bitter.

JOB 21:25 "While another dies with a bitter soul, Never even tasting anything good.”

Death is considered to be an experience with bitterness for the unbeliever or carnal believer.

Bitterness is also tied with self-pity and they are often found together. They go together like peanut butter and jelly!

JOB 10:1 "I loathe my own life; I will give full vent to my complaint; I will speak in the bitterness of my soul."

Woe is me! Oh my sorrow! I’ve done nothing to deserve this!” - as if!!

Bitterness destroys relationships, courtships, marriages, friendships and even local assemblies. In this passage bitterness is revealed by the sins of the tongue.

PSA 64:2-3 - “Hide me from the secret counsel of evildoers, From the tumult of those who do iniquity, Who have sharpened their tongue like a sword. They aimed bitter speech as their arrow,”

Notice what bitterness developed and produced in Psalm 64. In verse 2 they held a secret counsel. In verse 3, they gossip and malign with their bitter speech.

PSA 64:4  - “To shoot from concealment at the blameless; Suddenly they shoot at him, and do not fear.”

This means that they conceal their bitterness, while behind the scenes plotting and scheming how to destroy the object of their bitterness.

PSA 64:5 They hold fast to themselves an evil purpose; They talk of laying snares secretly; They say, "Who can see them?"

Notice the word "themselves."There is more than one bitter person involved here! They encourage each other in their evil purpose and all of this is because they are bitter. They develop plans and conspiracies as they talk of laying snares secretly.

PSA 64:6 - They devise injustices, saying, "We are ready with a wellconceived plot"; For the inward thought and the heart of a man are deep.

They seek out or create offenses, always playing the innocent victim. Sound familiar? However, in verses 7 and 8, they reap what they sow.

PSA 64:7 - But God will shoot at them with an arrow; Suddenly they will be wounded.

HEB 12:15 See to it that no one comes short of the grace of God; that no root of bitterness springing up causes trouble, and by it many be defiled;


Grace orientation and bitterness cannot co-exist. If you are bitter you have no grace orientation. Yet your life demands grace orientation, it is a major problem solving device. However, when one operates in grace orientation consistently, bitterness can not grow and destroy the believer’s spiritual life.

Bitterness establishes the habit of self-justification which results in total divorcement from reality. Once you are totally divorced from reality, you are locked into a system of arrogance so that the doctrine you have learned does not circulate.

When bitterness starts with self-absorption on the reverse path of the three arrogance skills, certain defense mechanisms begin to destroy the spiritual life.\


The result is reinforced self-justification in which the believer has buried all his bad decisions and falsely attributes to others his own sins, failures, and flaws, which accumulate garbage in his own self-conscious. You can’t solve a problem when you refuse to even acknowledge it. This system of thinking feeds the self-consciousness with the garbage of the soul. You see in others the cause of all problems. Every aspect of failure involves distorted thinking, thinking in terms of self-absorption, self-deception, and self-justification. You think there is nothing wrong with you, therefore, there is nothing to rebound. You do not look at bitterness as anything but the mere expression of your self-justification. But, any thought with regard to the situation creates an anger reaction. You justify the bitterness and justify the anger. You never think of anger in terms of sin. You think of anger in terms of, "I am right. “Why shouldn't I be angry?" The bottom line is vindictiveness, hatred, implacability, malice, revenge.

Much of what modern psychology covers and studies are really the ravages of rejection of God and God’s truth about who we are, why we are, where we came from and where we are going, and also how should we live. The more our culture and humanity in general rejects the truth, the more we embrace untruth, unreality. If God exists, then to reject that belief is to live in a false reality. Think about that for a few moments. Unbelievers, as a matter of fact, live in a false reality. The rejection of the existence of God is only the tip of that iceberg! Operating on false assumptions about the nature of reality causes wrong conclusions and choices to be made based on expectations that are not realistic. Such people almost invariably become damaged and discontented at some point and incur deep wounds to their souls which become toughened by impenetrable scar tissue. Such people pass these things on to their children and they begin living in bitterness and under defense mechanisms at an early age, before they know anything else. They are ingrained in the person. The cycle continues!

We are like refrigerators trying to be toasters, and we can see this in so many aspects of our culture. Everyone is rejecting reality, even at the most fundamental level, insisting on doing what we want, what feels right, instead of what IS right. We don’t even know what that is anymore! Scar tissue, unreality, unrealistic expectations and demands, arrogant preoccupation with self, arrogance complex of sins, emotional complex of sins, hatred toward God and objective truth/standards, rejection of reality, reliance on defense mechanisms, bitterness, implacability, vindictiveness, hatred, malice…. Not a recipe for peace and happiness! We live in one of the greatest times in all of human history to see the truth about living outside of God’s plan and the recompense of “independence” from God being dramatically revealed! Thank God for His Word to guide and shelter us! See you next time….




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