IV. HOW TO GET RID OF BITTERNESS! "All right," you may say, "This counsel on how to avoid becoming bitter is fine and good, but what do I do if I'm already bitter, if I've already allowed a `root of bitterness' to grow in my heart?--How do I get rid of it?" That's what our lesson will now deal with, how you can "Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you!"--Eph. 4:31. Once God has pinned down a spiritual problem and given the answer and prescribed the cure, you then need to put it into effect.--And that's usually the hardest part, the spiritual operation. But in the case of a problem like bitterness, if you don't cut out the malignant root, it will kill you! Of course, rooting out can be painful, it's not a very easy job. If you've ever uprooted a plant you know what I mean. Sometimes it tears out some of the earth with it, like tearing out part of your heart. It's up to you to decide to be or not to be a certain way. In getting victories over deep-rooted problems, a lot has to do with your own will, your own desire. You have to decide that you really want to change, because if you don't, you won't! Of course, only God can fully deliver you from bitterness and its ill-effects, but you must be willing and yielded to Him, and make the decision that you want to be delivered without reservations!--The choice is yours! A. Confess You've Got It! Whenever any of us are diagnosed as having a serious spiritual disease such as bitterness, we have to face the facts and admit that we've got a problem. If we won't even face and admit our problems, we're never going to get the victory over them. If you don't recognise and expose the Enemy's work, how are you going to defeat him and get the victory over it? The Lord promises deliverance and victory, and God says everything He can in His Word to encourage you to have faith to be delivered from your problems! But you can't be delivered and you can't even have faith for it unless you are obedient and honest and willing to confess your unrighteousness and your sins and your faults! You'll never be able to correct the problem or find the solution if you deny it exists and keep saying everything is all right, perfectly all right.--That doesn't solve the problem at all. In fact, it makes it even worse! You'll never get the victory over such a problem until you honestly face it and confess it. "He that confesseth his sins," God's Word says, "shall have mercy. But he that covereth his sin shall not prosper!"--Pro.28:13. So confess it and ask the Lord to forgive you for any bitterness you may be harbouring towards Him or others! If you're willing to recognise and face your problem, then you can attack it and overcome it! If you realise how utterly deadly a "root of bitterness" is, you'll certainly want to confess, forsake and get rid of it!--Regardless of what it may cost you to do so! If you love the Lord and you want Him to "build and to plant" His wonderful life-giving fruits of love and mercy in your life and heart, you will do all you can to cooperate with Him to "root out, pull down, throw down and destroy" (Jer.1:10) any and all of the Enemy's death-dealing evil weeds, seeds and bitter roots that may have found a place in your heart! "Ye that love the Lord, hate evil!"--Psa.97:10. It's been said that a good gardener has got to not only love flowers, but he needs to hate weeds as well. This principle aptly applies to you and the "garden" of your heart. Regardless of how justified you may feel about holding on to any hurts or resentments or wounds from your past, if you are a wise gardener at all, you'll believe the Master Gardener's Manual and its stern warnings about bitterness, and you'll realise that you must do all that you possibly can to rid your plot of this deadly root!--Lest your garden be absolutely overrun, destroyed and defiled by this horrible, nagging, choking "weed!" B. Attack, Attack, Attack! Once you've recognised that you have a problem with bitterness and you've admitted and confessed it, then you've got to take a positive and militant stand against it. God's Word tells us that we're "not to be ignorant of the Devil's devices," and once you recognise the poisonous root of bitterness for the deadly and soul-hindering device of the Devil that it really is, you've then got to launch an all-out spiritual attack against the Enemy himself! You can't do business with the Devil by giving the least place to his evil thoughts against others or God! The only kind of business you can do with him is against him!--Fight him, curse him, curse his work and ask God to rebuke him and deliver you! Get rid of him! That's what you've got to do when his evil "birds" have built a nest of bitterness in your hair! You've really got to go on the attack and you really have to be positive about it and resist the Enemy! Refuse to allow him any territory in your heart or mind. Rebuke the Devil and pray against any kind of critical spirit or bitter, proud and self-righteous attitude you may have developed towards others!--Or towards the Lord! You've got to let go of all of the damn doubts and fears and gripes and grudges and murmurs and resentments and devilish burdens put there by the Enemy, and hang on to the Lord with all your might! Hitch your wagon to His star and there'll be no stopping you! But if you weigh down your wagon with all the rocks the Devil would like to pile on, "the weights and sins which do so easily beset you," you'll sink for sure! You've got to "lay aside every weight" and just forsake them and roll'm overboard and let'm fall behind as you go on with the Lord! Of course, there's great power in united prayer together! So "call for the elders of the church," and have others pray with you and for you, joining together to "agree on Earth" to bind the Enemy and his evil roots of bitterness, and to "loose" and free you from its terrible negative effects! "One can chase a thousand, but two can put ten thousand to flight!" Then once you've confessed your problem and had united prayer against it, resisting the Enemy and forsaking your sins, you've got to be prepared to keep fighting! Once a root of bitterness has been allowed to grow and spread for any length of time, it usually takes a while to completely break all the negative thought patterns and bad habits caused by it.--Even though the main "root" is gone. You don't always get the victory over such problems handed to you on a silver platter. By faith you do get it, but you usually have to fight for it and do more than just claim it, you have to really practice it and appropriate it until the Enemy knows you're not going to give up.--Until he knows you're going to keep that victory and you really want it that much and you're not going to just throw it away.