I have discovered in my walk with God that there are times when we are seeking Him through the Scriptures, and He will lead us to verses or passages that serve to warn us about something that we will be confronted with in the days ahead. I had read the account of the Canaanite woman in Matthew's Gospel countless times, but the last time I read it, the Lord used it to warn me to resist getting offended. I had no idea what it was that God didn't want me to get offended about, but I knew that when that occasion arose, the Spirit of God would remind me of His warning.
In Chapter 15 of Matthew's Gospel, we meet a Gentile woman who approaches Jesus with a plea to heal her ailing daughter. At first, the Lord totally ignores the woman. And when He finally does answer her, He does it with an insult. He tells her, "I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel. It is not right to take the children's bread and toss it to their dogs." (v. 24,26 NIV) Instead of getting angry and offended at the insult, the woman replied, "Yes, Lord, but even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters' table." (v. 27) Jesus was so impressed with the woman's response, that He paid her a very high compliment, and rewarded her with the answer to her plea. "Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted." (v. 28)
As I meditated on this passage, I began to appreciate for the first time the kind of humility the woman in this account demonstrated. And the Lord spoke to my heart and told me that if I don't cooperate with Him to be more resistant to offense and indignation, I would never be able to fulfill my God-given purpose and potential. God showed me that there are times when I am sulking over an offense, and He has to pass me by, and call on someone else to use for His purposes. I can almost imagine Him saying, "I can't use my servant, Joanne, today, because she's too busy pouting and feeling sorry for herself!"
The fact is that indignation imprisons us. It stifles our spiritual growth, and our relationship with the Lord. We can't see God clearly or accurately when we're blinded by indignation or self-pity. If we saw God as He truly is - a just and righteous God - we would not waste time feeling offended. Instead, we would pray about our hurts and wounds, and we would place them in God's hands, knowing that He would right our wrongs, and rise to our defense, at just the right time. Scripture reveals how Jesus dealt with situations like these. First Peter 2:21-23 (NLT) says: "[Jesus] is your example, and you must follow in His steps. He never sinned, nor ever deceived anyone. He did not retaliate when He was insulted, nor threaten revenge when He suffered. He left His case in the hands of God, who always judges fairly."
If you are a follower of Christ, then you have the power of the living God on the inside of you, because of His Spirit who dwells in you. And you don't have to tolerate lingering feelings of offense or indignation. My prayer for you today is that you will lay hold of the truths and principles in this message, and that you will walk in the freedom that belongs to you in Christ!
Prayer: Lord, forgive me for the times I have been touchy and overly sensitive. Please work in my heart and mind so that I can quickly let go of offenses and hurts from now on, and experience the unshakable peace You have for me. Teach me how to cooperate with Your Spirit, and to be sensitive and obedient to His promptings. Thank You that as I walk closely with You on a day-to-day basis, You will lead me along Your pathway of freedom and wholeness!
Promise-Power Point: If I insist on being easily offended, God cannot use me the way He desires to, but if I rely on His Spirit to strengthen, comfort, and guide me, I can resist indignation, and experience all the good plans and purposes the Lord has for me.
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