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Do you walk in the spirit of offense?
All of us at one time or another, have either been offended or offended someone.
And the good news is, we all have the opportunity to SHIELD UP!
Before we get into what it means to Shield Up, let’s first identify if we have the spirit of offense.
Even though we’re told in James 1:19 to be slow to take offense, we’ve seen relationships destroyed and people leave their church family over the spirit of offense.
Understand [this], my beloved brethren. Let every man be quick to hear [a ready listener], slow to speak, slow to take offense and to get angry. ~ James 1:19 (AMPC)
So how can we tell if we walk in the spirit of offense? Let’s start by asking ourselves a few questions:
How do I respond to the truth?
When I’m confronted with the truth (God’s word), do I accept it as instructions for my development, or do I make excuses for my behavior?
Do I submit to those in authority over me?
Am I teachable?
How do I respond to those placed in authority over me that try to teach me? Do I take heed to their instructions or do “my own thing?”
No matter which one of these questions you may struggle with, there’s one common denominator to all of them; and that is HUMILITY.
In our opinion, humility is the catalyst to our discipleship. Many of us want to be Disciples of Christ, but we don’t want to submit to the process.
That’s mostly because the word submit is perceived as a negative word. However, we are told in scripture to submit.
“Be submissive to every human institution and authority for the sake of the Lord, whether it be to the emperor as supreme…” ~ 1 Peter 2:13 (AMPC)
Let’s be clear, submission isn’t meant just for wives to submit to their husbands. Submission is for every believer. As God expects us to submit to Him, to each other, our spouses, employers, and our government!
“Remind the believers to submit to the government and its officers. They should be obedient, always ready to do what is good.” ~ Titus 3:1(NLT)
The slippery slope here is that without submission, we can almost guarantee that we will walk in the spirit of offense.
That’s because to be discipled is to be mentored. To be mentored is to be held accountable.
However, you cannot be discipled without being teachable. You cannot be mentored without yielding to submission. And you cannot receive accountability without humility.
In other words, when you walk in humility you will avoid walking in the spirit of offense!
Sometimes we’re quick to walk in the spirit of offense when we’re already hurting. This is why it’s so important to get to the root of our wounds.
But, what happens when you offend someone who hasn’t dealt with the root of their wounds?
A few months ago we attended a leadership conference and heard this analogy that truly resonated with our spirit. We trust this will bless you, as much as it blessed us.
The spirit of offense is similar to a sunburn.
If you’ve had a sunburn before, you know that when you touch it, it hurts.
When you have a sunburn (a deep seeded wound or hurt that hasn’t been dealt with), and someone touches your sunburn (by either speaking a truth or holding you accountable); your sunburn will hurt even more. As this is reflected when we respond with a spirit of offense.
You see, it’s not that the person hurt you; as you were already hurt. But, because that person touched your wounded spot, it stung or hurt you even more.
At that moment, you have an opportunity to take offense or SHIELD UP.
If you are the wounded one, you can choose to Shield Up no matter how bad it hurts. You can choose to humble and submit yourself to correction if necessary.
On the other hand, if you’re the one doing the correcting and your brother or sister takes offense to you; choose to shield up and not take offense to their offense. The truth is, they were already wounded.
Responding to their offense, in offense, is still offense.
When you choose to Shield Up and walk in love, it will have a greater impact.
“A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” ~ Proverbs 15:1 (NKJV)
When we heard the power behind #ShieldUp, we loved the phrase so much we made hats with the phrase embroidered. And let’s just say the conversations it starts with others is very interesting!
When we choose to be offended that’s a sign (or the evidence) that we’re NOT walking in the spirit.
“But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!” ~ Galatians 5:22-23 (NLT)
When we purpose to walk in the spirit, the evidence of our walk will be seen in how we love, our patience, gentleness, and kindness towards others.
At the end of the day, the choice is ours. We can justify walking in a spirit of offense or we can choose to Shield Up.
Which will you choose?
~ André and Timberley Gray
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