“For I see that you are in the gall of bitterness . . .” Acts 8:23
It’s an easy sin to commit. This sin is especially deceptive because it doesn’t feel evil, wrong, or dark. It happens in times when we envy what God is doing in the life of another believer. At once we feel bitter. Other Christians seem to be having more successful ministry than we are. Or when others seem more blessed than us. We think “I want what they have.”
The gall of bitterness is not resentment. It’s a state of coveting what another has. It’s an urge of unhealthy ambition to possess what someone else possesses. It’s bitterness, a feeling of disappointment toward God, a result of thinking God should give us the same gifts we envy in others. This kind of bitterness is easy to disguise.
But when Peter shows up filled with the Spirit, Simon’s bitterness is immediately exposed. Peter saw that Simon heart was not right with God. Simon was hopelessly, spiritually bankrupt. Simon’s statement revealed the inward wickedness of his heart. He wanted to use the Holy Spirit as a commodity to advance his own personal position, reputation, and sense of power.
Unless and until we see this sublet bitterness in our life, we will never discover the goodness of God and the unique gifts He gives to us.
The lesson is ours to learn. We are each designed and uniquely gifted to serve the Lord. No one gift, calling or ministry is more important than the other. Scripture tells us that we are to guard against any kind of bitterness taking root in our life. The best way to protect ourselves against this diabolical envy is to experience the work of the Holy Spirit in our life, then understand the way God has gifted us.
Instead of being bitter about how God is using others, take some time to thank God for how He is using others to build His kingdom.