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The Bait of Satan

I can see why offense is one of Satan's top traps. It can hide under layers and layers of other things that we don’t even realize have crept in. No matter what the scenario, offense will be in two major categories: 1- people who have been treated unjustly and 2- people who believe they have been treated unjustly and they are hurt in their belief and their understanding is clouded. When that happens our attitude can become, “I was mistreated and misjudged; therefore, I am justified in my behavior” and then we hold back forgiveness. No matter which category we find ourselves in, God sees it all. 

Jesus instructs the church at Laodicea on how to get out of their deception in the book of Revelation. “Buy from Me gold refund in the fire” -Rev. 3:18. Gold, when it is purified, is soft, tender, and pliable. Our hearts are easily hardened because of the sin that produces fruits of bitterness, anger, and resentment. These things are like adding substances to the pure gold that make the gold harder and less pliable. So how does God refine our hearts and make it pure again? By fire.  “Behold, I have refined you, but not as silver; I have tested you in the furnace of affliction” -Isaiah 48:10. Yikes! But there is good news… “In this you greatly rejoice, through now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it it tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ”-1 Peter 1:6-7. 

Later Jesus counsels, “Anoint your eyes with eyesalve, that you may see” -Rev. 3:18. It is through the council of the Holy Spirit that we are able to see the truth that brings freedom. When the Spirit shows us our sin, He brings conviction, not condemnation. Praise God! Later in the book John Bevere talks about the process that takes place after the impurities are revealed in the furnace - the sifting. “And the Lord said, ‘Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat” (Luke 22:31). How I missed this scripture before is a bit shocking. But there it was and it jumped out at me clear as day through the revelation of the Holy Spirit. God allows us to be handed over to Satan to be sifted. 

The Greek word for sift is siniazo. It means “to sift, shake in a sieve; by inward agitation to try one’s faith to the verge of overthrow.” Then Jesus says, “But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren” -Luke 22:32. Wow, Jesus is praying for Paul, and us, during the siniazo. Even when the enemy thinks he has us, God is alway ahead of him. Jesus has already prayed over us so that the shaking will bring us closer to our foundation in Christ, remove anything that is dead within us, harvest ripe fruit, awaken anything that has been asleep, and to unify or mix us together so we can no longer be separated. 

The Bible teaches us “If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins” -Matthew 6:14-15. Peter asked, “Lord, how often should I forgive someone who sins against me? Seven times?’ ‘No, not seven times,’ Jesus replied, ‘but seventy times seven!” -Matthew 18: 21-22. So… we should seek the Lord to help us forgive because getting hurt is going to happen a lot by big and small things, from people who mean to hurt us or when we take things the wrong way. How do we do this? Through the help of the Holy Spirit. He is the only one who knows us, better than we know ourselves. It is easy to recognize places where someone has hurt us but we need the Holy Spirit to reveal the hidden places that we have been offended, hurt, or placed blame on someone else. Walking through the hurt in our lives will be painful. With the Holy Spirit will bring healing and release to our hearts through repentance of our unforgiveness, and releasing/canceling any debt over those people.  

One final though. It takes work to stay free from offense. Hear the words of Paul, “ And herein do I exercise myself, to always have a conscience void of offense toward God, and toward men” -Acts 24:15. For there will be many times we'll be hurt by others or take offense to something we don’t see rightly. The more we exercise our hearts and ask the Holy Spirit to help us forgive, the softer our hearts will be. After His revelation it is time to pray for and bless the person who has hurt us. This will truly be an exercise of our faith. “But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you”- Matthew 5:44. It may take some time before this process yields the fruit of faith and healing but we mustn't lose heart or give up. 

-From Joy Holifield 

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