Anyone who has trapped animals knows a trap needs one of two things to be successful. It must be hidden, in the hope that an animal will stumble upon it, and it must be baited to lure the animal into the trap’s deadly jaws.
Satan, the enemy of our souls, incorporates both of these strategies as he lays out his most deceptive and deadly traps.
They are both hidden and baited.
Satan, along with his cohorts is not as blatant as many believe. He is subtle and delights in deception. He is shrewd in his operations, cunning, and crafty, Don’t forget he can disguise himself as a messenger of light. If we are not trained by the Word of God to divide rightly between good and evil, we won’t recognize his traps for what they are.
One of his most deceptive and insidious kinds of bait is something every Christian has encountered -- offense. Actually, offense itself is not deadly -- if it stays in the trap. But if we pick it up and consume it and feed on it in our hearts, then we have become offended.
Offended people produce much fruit, such as hurt, anger, outrage, jealousy, resentment, strife, bitterness, hatred and envy. Some of the consequences of picking up an offense are insults, attacks, wounding, division, separation, broken relationships, betrayal, and backsliding.
Often those who are offended do not even realize they are trapped. They are oblivious to their condition because they are so focused on the wrong that was done to them. They are in denial. The most effective way for the enemy to blind us is to cause us to focus on ourselves.
This series of studies expose this deadly trap and reveals how to escape its grip and stay free from it. Freedom from offense is essential for every Christian because Jesus said it is impossible to live this life and not have the opportunity to be offended (Luke 17:1).
In churches across America and in other nations where I have preached this message, over 50 % of the people have responded to the altar call. Although this is a high response, it still is not everyone. Pride holds some people back from responding. I have seen people healed, set free, filled with the Holy Spirit, and receive answers to prayers when they are released from this trap. They usually report that they have sought for years what they received in a moment, once they were free.
In the last part of the twentieth century knowledge has greatly increased in the church. But even with this increase it seems we have experienced more division among believers, leaders, and congregations. The reason: Offense is rampant from a lack of genuine love. “Knowledge puffs up, but love edifies” (1 Cor. 8:1). So many are snared in this deceptive trap that we have almost come to believe it is a normal way of life.
Before the return of Christ, however, true believers will be united unlike anything in the past. I believe that today countless men and women will be released from this trap of offense. This will be one of the main links in seeing revival sweep this nation. Unbelievers will behold Jesus through our love of one another where they had been blinded to Him before.
I do not believe in writing a book just to write one. God has burned this message into my heart, and I have seen its fruit remain. One pastor said to me after a service in which this message was preached, “ I have never seen so many set free at one time.”
God has spoken to my heart that this is only the beginning. Many will be set free, healed, and restored as they go through these lessons and obey the Spirit’s prompting to them. I am believing as you read the words on this screen that the Teacher and Counselor will apply them personally to you. As He does, this revealed word will bring a great liberty to your life and ministry.
Let’s pray together as we begin:
Father, in the name of Jesus, I ask that You would reveal, by Your Spirit, Your Word, to me as I read these lessons. Expose any hidden areas of my heart that have hindered me from knowing You and serving You more effectively. I welcome the conviction of Your Spirit and ask for Your grace to carry out what You desire of me. May I come to know You more intimately as a result of hearing Your voice through these lessons. Amen