It is the glory of God to conceal a thing: but the honour of kings is to search out a matter. Proverbs 25:2

Archive for June, 2017

Being Offended – The Stumbling Block That Causes Many To Fall

The feeling of being offended is one of the most crippling snares. It is cloaked, disguised and concealed in the pretense of being right or defending one’s rights. When we take this natural life so personally, our sex, race, religion or culture we are offended in these areas. We feel we have every right to get upset and defend who we are. When we are insulted, overlooked or injured in some manner, we are offended because “self” sits on the throne of our hearts and not the love of God.

Mark 4: 17 And they have no root in themselves, and so endure only for a time. Afterward, when tribulation or persecution arises for the word’s sake, immediately they stumble. NKJV

The spirit of offense is so subtle, we hardly recognize its effect on our decisions, character or even our future. Offense happens because we have placed our attention on ourselves. When arguments or conflicts arise, those who are offended will respond most likely in a natural but fallen way and that is to defend or vindicate their own interest. Followers of Christ are told to renew their minds to a new way of thinking in light of God’s word and His love for all people. People are often offended when they look at things from a personal perspective and rather than God’s perspective.

John 15:18-20a If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. 19 If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. 20 Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you…

Followers of Christ are called to be dead to this life but to live their lives hidden with Christ in God. It is impossible to offend a dead person. They can be kicked, insulted and even injured, but there will not be a response. This is how a life hidden in Christ will respond because we trust Jesus. We know we can trust Him with our life and our situations. God is able to orchestrate circumstances and work them out for our good and His glory. Just as He provided and protected Daniel in the lion’s den and the three Hebrews thrown into the fire, He will bring us out of our horrible situations. God did not keep them from going through their difficult times but He was with them in them and He will vindicate us. God will bring the high and lofty things down and the lowly up. God knows the plans He has for us to give us hope and a future.

Colossians 3:2-3 Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. 3 For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God

Many feel they must vindicate themselves because they do not trust God and believe He will fail them. Many blame God for all the hurt, wrong and death in this world. They do not understand it is because of the fall of mankind and sin that these things exist. Many may trust God with their souls and their eternity but not with their present hurt, pain and life conditions.

When our minds have been renewed to God’s way of thinking, we know we are seated in the heavens with Christ. Our perspective should be different when we are seated high above the things of this world as kings and priests with Jesus. We should no longer view situations as personal attacks and allow life to offend us. We are to see these concerns and problems as opportunities for us to display the love and the life of Christ. It is when we are no longer offended by life that we can respond in love. The world will be taken by surprise by our actions. They will ask the secret to the strength, which allows us to forgive and love those who misuse or even hate us.

It is when we lay down our lives for another and act from a position of love and not self, that others may see God’s heart. When we respond in love, the love of God is planted into the lives of people. The pain of life may have hardened some people’s hearts because of what they have been through. When we display God’s love, though there may not appear to be a change or acknowledgment of our acts of kindness, the seed of God’s love will be sewn in their lives. Everything has a season; a time to plant and a time to harvest. It is God who changes lives with the seeds sewn by His children into the hearts of those who are lost.

Matthew 11: 6 And blessed is he who is not offended because of Me.” NKJV

John 16:1 These things I have spoken to you, that you should not be made to stumble

We should not be so easily offended. When we understand our battles are not with people but with the principles of this fallen world, then we are able to show the love of God. When we die we must entrust our bodies and the fate of our bodies to others. So it is with those who trust God with their fate and even their vindication. God knows the beginning from the end; He is Alpha and Omega and knows the motives and intentions of a man’s heart. Jesus is the One who lives for eternity and His heart is to love those who are created in His image. We must dethrone “self,” our pride and our egos so Jesus may reign on the throne of our hearts. As Jesus gave His body to save others, we as the body of Christ on the earth, must live in love and not offense.

John 15:33 These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”

Love Is Our Motive

Motives are important, the why behind our actions, the reason behind our lives and the purpose of our behavior are more important than the actions themselves. Why do we do the work we do? Why do we pray? Why do we minister? Is it for the praises of the people around us and/or for the confirmation of our importance? The motive of our service is more important to God than the service itself. The love of God in us and His love shared with others through our actions should be our motivation. This is for God’s glory and for His name namesake.
Most of us have loved someone or experienced someone expressing their love toward us. In that experience, in a very small way, we have seen a glimpse of the love God has for us. In fact, it is God who is the very essence of love, who has given us the ability to love and to be loved. God loved us so much He gave Jesus to bring us, His most important creation, back into fellowship with Him. God displayed His love for us when we were at enmity and hostile toward God, He sent Jesus to save us.

This fallen world has tried to distort the meaning of love and the purpose of love into some narcissistic, self-centered practice. It has taken the thought of love, acts of love and expressions of love and misconstrued these into being perceived as something distasteful, unmentionable and frowned upon by God. This is not so, it is God Himself who has given us the capacity to love, to express love and to receive love because God is love.
If our motive is God’s kind of love, then we will give our best so others may know Him. God loved the world so much that He gave His only Son so those He loves may not perish but have eternal life. God’s love does not want to condemn the lost, but God wants to seek and to save the lost. God is still sending His sons and daughters to live a life so others may see Him through their lives.

John 3:16-17 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. NIV

Love is something so deep and so strong that it can entangle a person’s mind, soul and body. This is why God gives us an example of what love is in the life and person of Jesus. God’s love is why He sent Jesus to save us from our depravity. It is the love God has for us that would not allow Him to leave us in our destruction even after we rebelled against Him. God paid a very high price, the blood of His Son Jesus, to retrieve us and bring us back into our created purpose and to be an expression His love on the earth.

Matthew 22: 37-39 Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ NKJV

When we love God with all that we are, our soul, our minds and our bodies, then we have the ability to love others as we love ourselves. This is why God gave us a commandment to first love Him and then we will love others. It is only through a love for God that we can love others the way we should. If we do not love God, we cannot love others as we love ourselves. The fallen state of mankind and his self-focus will not allow him to think of anyone above himself.

Without the love of God in us we would not have a capacity to truly love others well. Many people have passion, likes, and strong desires for those they hold dear but only God’s love will humble self so another may live even at the cost of ones ego and pride. After the fall, self-preservation became mankind’s first priority. The love for others is motivated by the love of God. When we love God we want to bring glory to His name on the earth and live a life that is pleasing to Him. There is no greater love than the love that gives oneself for another.

2 Corinthians 5:14 For Christ’s love compels us, because we be are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again. NIV

The motive behind our actions, as Christ followers, is the love of Christ in us. The love of God in us, makes us want to constrain, restrict and limit our actions so we may love others well. We understand we are dead to our old life, habits and prejudices and we no longer live to satisfy selfish ambitions. We are now alive in Jesus, the One who raised us from the dead, so we may live for Him. We should live is such a way, that the love of God will be seen in and through our lives so others may come to know and love Him.

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