Paul’s prayer for the Ephesians is God’s same desire for us today, “I pray out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through His Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power together with all the Lord’s Holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge – that you may filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.”
I believe in these days and the times to come, it is imperative as believers to walk closely with God, to get in His word and seek His guidance. And to do everything we can to not let anything come between that. He is calling us to greater things and in the process the enemy is sending out bigger distractions because he knows that his time is short.
My heart friend Niki said yesterday, “We do not have time for the distractions, too many lives are at stake, too many need salvation. We need to stay true to what our purpose is.” She lives out her call of being set apart by keeping her eyes on Jesus. She can do this because she lives loved, she knows from studying His word that she is loved and has a purpose and she walks closely with Him everyday.
I think one of the most destructive distractions the enemy uses to steal our victory, kill our spirits and destroy people and churches through is offense. As Jo Naughton says,”Offense is a test every one of us has to pass again and again if we are to fulfill our destiny. Life is full of opportunities to be offended.” She goes on to say that the thought we have when we pick up an offense is not the issue but our negative response is. It is when we put a judgment on the action or non-action that we see is when we actually put on offense. For example, someone walks by you and you are offended they did not say hi. Thinking that is not necessarily a problem but when you decide why they did and they are ignorant because of it and out of that grows resentment, there lies the issue. Love believes the best about people, a better response may be, they must have been distracted or had something on their mind. I will get in touch with them later to see.
This is just a simple example but I have seen offenses this silly become magnified through someone’s words or judgment. It is the beginning to an end if it is not nipped in the bud. We are the answer to offense, our humility and keeping watch over our hearts and lips, submitting them to Jesus will keep us in a place devoid of offense.
“Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord.” Hebrews 12:14
God calls us to unity with other believers and sometimes we need to fight for this. We need to put on our big girl/boy pants and pursue the peace and unity that He wants in us. We need to recognize a rip in the fabric of what makes up the body of believers is very easily torn in pieces. Our enemy, the devil, does not even need to do anything if he can get believers against each other. We need to guard our hearts against offense.
I struggle with this sometimes daily but I am learning to submit things to Him to keep my heart clean.It is a habit of repentance. It is an intentional act of putting on love instead of offense. When I fail to see right away it is an act of submission and humility to give it to God and let Him change my heart. Resentment and bitterness like to get settled quickly, but one turn of your heart toward God will change that in an instant.
Jo Naughton writes that there are four sources of offense. Read through this list and see if there are any places you need to bring your heart before God.
- What people say
- What people do not say
- What people do
- What people do not do
Where have you picked up offense from any of these things? Really ask God to search your heart. Has pride stamped your offenses in concrete and you need God to extract them to heal? Ask God to show you where you need healing. Remember, we don’t have time for distractions, people are dying without the good news of Jesus and they are getting distracted by the things we are holding against others.