I have never eaten an olive.
It’s something called “selective eating disorder,” or to most people, a picky eater.
- Ketchup only for burgers and hot dogs.
- Peanut butter, no jelly.
- Ham and bread. No cheese or condiments.
- Cheese or pepperoni pizza.
And all the moms with picky kids are wondering how a grown woman can still be this way in her forties.
I. have. no. idea.
So, I am reading about olives in the Embraced devotional by Lysa TerKeurst. I get distracted halfway through it, stop taking notes, and start writing about my eating habits?
Apparently, they are naturally bitter. I did not know this because I have the taste buds of a toddler.
When my youngest daughter was little, she would ask for bowl of olives – at Olive Garden. She would put those black things on all of her fingers and then eat them. I was mortified, and amused.
Do you know what has to happen to olives for them to be edible? You can’t normally eat them off the tree.
I like when she says, “If we are to escape the natural bitterness of the human heart, we have to go through a long process as well…the process of being cured.”
The heart isn’t a cutesy red emoji.
The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure.
Who can understand it?
So, throw away all of those “follow your heart” shirts and posters.
Let’s give a moment to that whole passage in Jeremiah. It’s good stuff.
We all know someone who is bitter, and we also have moments of bitterness.
Everyone starts out on equal ground by having a heart that is deceitful above all things.
But, we all have the same options for a heart transplant.
I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols.
I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.
And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.
I know a lot of people who are struggling with heart problems right now. It happens with children, spouses, friends and family.
At the center of it all…is this heart of stone…the natural bitterness.
If we haven’t been transformed by Christ, then we are treading water with our problems, because we are working with defective feelings.
Whatever you’re facing right now, know that Jesus has been where you are.
And He said to them, “My soul is deeply grieved to the point of death; remain here and keep watch.”
Mark 14:34 (NASB)
That night, in the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus was deeply grieved. The cross was coming, but He knew it was the only thing that would save us from a carnal, sinful heart, one that leads to death.
If we choose to remain bitter, then we risk infecting other people. It starts in our homes, in our workplaces – even in our churches – and it spreads.
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.
- This root of bitterness (Hebrew word: pikria) is defined as a bitter root that produces bitter fruit.
- The grace of God (Hebrew word: charis) is defined as:
- grace, which affords joy, delight, sweetness, loveliness
- good will and favor of the merciful kindness by which God, exerting his holy influence on souls, turns them to Christ
Even though the olive starts out bitter, something valuable and useful can still come from it after a slight transformation.
Even though we start out bitter, we can also be altered to produce good fruit. The fruit that reflects the Spirit, which is:
Just remember, in order to have the Spirit, we have to first have the Son, and the Father.
The Lord will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame.
You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail.
Isaiah 58:11 (NIV)
I am telling you this so no one will deceive you with well-crafted arguments. For though I am far away from you, my heart is with you. And I rejoice that you are living as you should and that your faith in Christ is strong.
And now, just as you accepted Christ Jesus as your Lord, you must continue to follow him.
Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him.
Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness.
Colossians 2:4-7 (NLT)
I woke up this morning and opened the First 5 devotion app.
This is what I saw:
How sweet God’s Word is, and His timing.
I’m sure this Facebook post corresponded with the devotion above this morning, but it still thrills me to see repeating, confirming messages…❤️🌳
This was the devotional email that I received today…