Do you feel like you have been wondering in the wilderness for years and years? Does your Christian walk seem to go no where? Do you trip over the same obstacle(s) time and time again to find no freedom from the bondage you are experiencing?
You could be a slave to something and you don't even know it. How can we be in bondage and not know it?
1. The way we think can make us experience slavery.
2. The way we react or don't react can create a prison for us.
I am sure you have heard the definition of insanity? "Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." This sounds crazy, but this is exactly what we do when we continue to respond the same way, over and over again, to situations and circumstances and expect our life to change.
Our response determines our future! God showed me this lesson recently by unveiling my heart and motives to me. I was having lunch with a couple of friends and one of them expressed to me that I get offended easily. She said that I had "The Spirit of Offense," and that God wanted to heal me of it. She also expressed she was healed of this very thing in her life. Well this was not a nice thing to say and I walked away from the lunch "offended" and frustrated with my friend. I went home and kept on thinking about what she said to me. I tried to be busy around the house but I couldn't shake the offense. I tried to take a nape as I was tired from attending an Endurance Women's Conference the last two days and there was still one more session that night. As I tried to go to sleep, I found my self rehashing the conversation I had earlier with my two friends. Finally, I got up and decided to do some research on "The Spirit of Offense." I found many scriptures in the Bible that talk about offense and being offended. All of which were not connected with a good response.
Mark 6:3 states; "Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, the brother of James, and Joses, and of Juda, and Simon? And are not his sisters here with us? And they were offended at him."
Mark 4:16 & 17 "And these are they likewise which are sown on stony ground; who, when they have heard the word, immediately receive it with gladness;
And have no root in themselves, and so endure but for a time: afterward, when affliction or persecution ariseth for the word's sake, immediately they are offended."
Jesus said, "It is impossible that no offenses should come," (Luke 17:1 NKJV). So we know that there will always be a temptation to fall into this sin. Jesus also said, "And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another. Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold. But he who endures to the end shall be saved" (Matthew 24:10 13 NKJV).
I looked up many more scriptures and also went on the Internet to see if there was anything on the phrase, "The Spirit of Offense." To my surprise there were many articles written on this subject. I read article after article from pastors and ministers. Each article I read was a confirmation that I did get offended easily. Then God began to show me the pattern I created in my life of being offended and cutting off relationships or leaving churches. It was hard to see. I wept and asked God to forgive me for this sin. I wanted to be free from the bondage of un-forgiveness it brought in my life. I was a slave to it. My thoughts and emotions controlled me and it affected my family as well. I asked the Holy Spirit to show me the people I was holding an offense with. One by one God gave me their name and face. I began to write their names down and asked God to forgive me for holding onto each hurt and offense. I didn't realize being offended was a trap the enemy was using to prevent me from being who I was in Christ. I wanted to be free from being offended, and free to be me.
After I asked God to forgive me for each name I wrote down, I released name of anything I was expecting from them. In other words, if I was expecting an apology, I released them in my heart. They don't owe me that any more. If I was expecting support or recognition, I released that person from expecting them to give it to me. I began to pray for them and asked God to give me His love to love them. Everyone on the list was a Christian. Isn't that interesting? Look how the enemy put a smoke screen in front of my eyes and prevented me from seeing the slavery and bondage I was in. Then, he twisted how I perceived a situation, and it became a hurt or offense in my mind. The enemy was using my own weakness to separate me from the family of God, and I would put up walls to protect me from this perceived offense. Crazy! Thank God He loves us so much to make us aware of our sin and the enemy's trap.
In the Strongs Hebrew and Greek dictionary and Thayer's Greek Definitions, the word "offense" is translated:
"A scandal, a trap stick, that is, snare (figuratively cause of displeasure or sin): - occasion to fall (of stumbling), stumbling-block, any impediment placed in the way and causing one to stumble or fall, (a stumbling block, occasion of stumbling), i.e. a rock which is a cause of stumbling
I was falling over and over this stumbling block all my life and never saw it was even there. Now that God has shed His light on it, I can't help but see it. Now, when the enemy tries to remind me or bring a twisted reality to my mind concerning someone, I quote this powerful scripture right back at him; "Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;" (2 Corinthians 10:5 KJV).
If you think about an offense over and over again becomes exalted in your mind. It takes the place of where God should be. It becomes an idol as you are thinking and "worshipping" that thought more than God. WOW! What a concept. Knowing this truth makes me all the more cast down any thought that would prevent me from exalting God in my thought life. God is who I adore and think about. He is the One I worship and dwell upon, not any twisted, offended, thought.
This brings us to the true reality of living. We are no longer entrapped by any offense and the possibility of a new one is no longer a threat to us. We see that stumbling block long before we come upon it and decide to walk around it!
I encourage you to allow the Holy Spirit to reveal any offense you have been holding onto. Write down the names of those involved. Ask God to forgive you for your un-forgiveness and release those that have offended you. Pray for them and if you have the opportunity, go to them and ask them to forgive you for your un-forgiveness. After all, Christ died and forgave all the wrong you've done, how much more should we forgive others?
Pastor Kris Belfils
Kris Belfils is an Author, Pastor, Singer/Songwriter, Speaker, and Worship Leader. She has a passion to see people transformed and set free. Her newest book, "The Garbage Man Always Comes On Fridays," is a powerful tool to help others overcome their past. www.krisbelfils.com
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