“Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them.” Psalms 119:165 (KJV)
I’m kicking off 2018 by re-reading John Bevere’s Book, The Bait of Satan, and using the 30-day devotion as fodder for my daily quiet time. I was first introduced to this book about twelve years ago, and it had a profound impact on my life and future ministry. As with many things in the Christian life, sometimes you have to repeat lessons.
I cannot do justice to Bevere’s work in a single blog, but for those unacquainted with the book, the “bait” Satan uses to entrap believers is offense. Many have suffered offenses at the hands of family members, church members, leaders, pastors, etc. Feeding on these offenses (real or imagined) leads to isolation and a poisoning of the soul.
Jesus taught us that it was impossible for offenses NOT to come. (see Luke 17:1-5). Christian, you WILL have the opportunity to be offended at some point. It is going to happen. Take it to the bank.
The question is, when presented with offense, how do we respond?
The answer to offense is the love of God. This “agape” love is completely unrestricted. It flows to everyone, regardless of sins, weights, and offenses given or received. Spirit-filled Christians are purveyors of this great love, and are charged to extend the unfailing love and amazing grace of God to all. Those in relationship with Jesus Christ will return this love back to Him–“If ye love me, keep my commandments.” (John 14:15). Love for God equals love for His commandments (law). The Psalmist tells us that we will not be offended if we love His law.
As I was exercising this morning, I listened to a message by Bro. Wayne Huntley on YouTube entitled “We’re All Shot–Shut Up and Drive!” In this message, Bishop Huntley reminds us that our wounds are not unique, even when we think no one else has experienced what we are going through. Yet, how many of us use our wounds and offenses as reasons to skip church and withdraw into isolation from the assembly of the faithful?
It is precisely BECAUSE we are all wounded that WE ALL need each other–and WE ALL need to freely and unreservedly worship our God and Savior.
One of my five “prayer goals” for 2018 is that I would be remade into a man of peace and discipline. I crave the “great peace” that accompanies a love of God’s ways. I want to be “unoffendable” because I don’t want a root of bitterness to take hold in my life.
How about you?