I've noticed a not-so-subtle spirit rising in the body of Christ in the past few months. It's not-so-subtle to the one who is not under its attack, but its target often doesn't see the assignment until it's too late.
That not-so-subtle spirit is offense. I've been witnessing believers getting offended over slight corrections, unreturned phone calls and even the way certain people say "Holy Spirit." I've heard about believers getting offended over new relationships forming, being asked to sit out travel trips, or not being invited into a back room meeting.
A couple of months ago, the Spirit of God showed me clearly that these aren't immature isolated incidents. There's an actual spirit rising that's causing these unreasonable offenses. It's Satan's plot to divide believers in an hour of church history when it's more vital than perhaps ever before that we unite on our common beliefs.
Running Rampant in the Church
When I asked the Lord about this, He explained what is going on:
"A spirit of offense is rising and running rampant through the church. Those who are easily offended are candidates for the Great Falling Away. Those who cultivate and maintain an unoffendable heart will escape many of the assignments the enemy will launch in the days to come.
"For my people must band together in this hour and refuse to allow petty arguments and soulish imaginations separate them. This is the time to press into community and relationship and reject the demonic notions and wisdom the enemy is pouring out.
"The love of many is waxing cold. Brother is turning against brother and sister against sister—in My body. You must come to the unity of the faith in order to accomplish what I've called you to do in this hour. The time is upon you. The opportunity is before you. Lay aside the resentment, bitterness and unforgiveness and, as far as it depends upon you, seek peace with all men.
"Humble yourselves even among those who you feel are your enemies and I will work to bring reconciliation that sets the scene for unity from which the anointing flows. You need My anointing to combat the antichrist spirits rising in this hour.
"Many of My people are wrestling in their flesh, engaging in works of the flesh, and otherwise letting the flesh lead in battle—and they are battling flesh instead of the spirits influencing the flesh. This is the result of offense. Forgive, let go, embrace your brothers and sisters despite their flaws and sins. I have."
Battling the Spirit of Offense
John Bevere has a classic book about offense called The Bait of Satan. I'd highly recommend picking up a copy in this hour, especially if you find yourself getting easily offended.
How can you tell if you are easily offended? Here are some markers: you are quick to argue and defend yourself; you are quick to anger; you get your feelings hurt easily; you keep playing comments or actions over and over in your mind and growing resentful; or you don't want to talk to a certain person anymore.
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Offense is dangerous because "a brother offended is harder to be won than a strong city, and their contentions are like the bars of a castle" (Prov. 18:19). But love is not touchy or easily provoked (see 1 Cor. 13:5-6). We know that, "good sense makes one slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook an offense" (Prov. 19:11). And the Preacher offers some really good advice: "Do not give heed to everything people say, lest you hear your servant cursing you. Your heart knows that many times you have spoken a curse against others" (Eccl. 7:21-22).
Ultimately, if you are offended the only way to escape that trap is to spit out the bait. Forgive. There are many, many Scriptures dealing with the forgiveness, which is a commandment, not an option. But here's one I'll leave you with: "You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the children of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the Lord" (Lev. 19:18).
Walk this way and you will walk free of offense—and avoid it all together to begin with: "Love suffers long and is kind; love envies not; love flaunts not itself and is not puffed up, does not behave itself improperly, seeks not its own, is not easily provoked, thinks no evil; rejoices not in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, and endures all things" (1 Cor. 13:4-7). Amen.
Jennifer LeClaire is senior editor of Charisma. She is also director of Awakening House of Prayer in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, co-founder of awakeningtv.com, on the leadership team of the New Breed Revival Network and author of several books, including The Next Great Move of God: An Appeal to Heaven for Spiritual Awakening; Mornings With the Holy Spirit, Listening Daily to the Still, Small Voice of God; The Making of a Prophet and Satan's Deadly Trio: Defeating the Deceptions of Jezebel, Religion and Witchcraft. You can visit her website here. You can also join Jennifer on Facebook or follow her on Twitter. Jennifer's Periscope handle is @propheticbooks.
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