Isaiah 5:20 Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!
A broken heart relishes otherwise than a whole or unbroken one doth. A man that has no pain, or bodily distress, cannot find or feel virtue or good in the most sovereign plaister, were it applied to arm or leg; no, he rather says, Away with these stinking daubing things. O! but lay the same plaisters where there is need, and the patient will relish, and taste, and savour the goodness of them; yea, will prize and commend them to others. – The Acceptable Sacrifice – John Bunyan
The Bitter Sweet
The bitter sweet shows the contrast between the things of life. The problem is when we are deceived by sin, we think good things are bad and bad things are good. The same is true of the heart. Until it is broken, the sweet things of God are often not desirable. As Bunyan uses the illustration of an arm, it is not until it is broken that a cast is something to be desired. What use does one have for a cast when your arm is whole? We must first have the bitter before we can appreciate the taste of the sweet. When we have no pain or bodily distress, the virtue or blessing of the heavenly plaster applied to a cast for the arm is worthless to us. We cannot enjoy the goodness of the cast or recommend it to others until the arm is broken. The same is true of the heart. Until we are broken, we cannot appreciate the balm of Gilead and the sweet comfort of the scriptures and prayer quite as much.
A Change of Taste
When we get saved, our tastes change. What once tasted good, now tastes bad. God changed our taste from unholy to holy. The same is true of trials and tribulations. When someone who is lost goes through troubles, all they can do is complain. Once a Christian goes through trials and experiences a closer relationship with the Lord, they start to like the trials. Almost everything in the Christian experience should be opposite of what the world thinks. A Christian is an oxymoron. He thinks bitter things are sweet and sweet things are bitter. He thinks the pleasures sweet of sin leave a bitter, gravely taste in his mouth. He thinks the bitter pill of troubles and trials afterward yield the sweet fruit of righteousness. It is almost like trying to convince a lost person that a Snickers Bar is the grossest, bitterness thing every produced. That is the way the world sees Christianity. Your spiritual taste buds need to be backwards. How are yours working today.
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