Growth That Leads To Maturity
Currently I am re-reading for the fourth or maybe even fifth time; and now teaching a Bible Study series based on a book entitled, The Bait of Satan by John Bevere. The book is one of those that I recommend as a staple for everyone’s personal library. It is one of those books that periodically can and should be revisited for personal check up and check in. The author has successfully achieved an incredible approach that prompts the readers to hold themselves accountable for their actions, reactions, and interaction with others. Trust me, it is not an easy read, not due to the complexity of how it is written, but from the perspective that the content digs deep.
I think it best that I give you a heads up at this point that this blog may turn into a short series, if not a series, I can almost guarantee that next week will be a continuation. The book exposes one of the most deceptive snares of Satan, and its goal is to educate readers how to live free from the deadly trap of offense.
Since the time of my first reading of this powerful book, I have come to understand that many people do not understand the devastating and sometimes debilitating effects of offense. Therefore, oftentimes offense is either handled incorrectly, or not handled at all. By not handling it at all, it can be dismissed for lack of attention or one can literally flee from the situation. Neither of which is a viable solution. Mr. Bevere states that all offended people can be divided into two major categories:
1) Those who have been treated unjustly
2) Those who believe they have been treated unjustly. Therefore drawing
conclusions from inacurrate information or their information is accurate
But their conclusion is distorted or darkened by assumptions, appearances,
Some actions and reactions are expected from children and even young people who experience offense. We can not expect their first response or knee jerk reaction to be the advice so appropriately given to the nation by our former First Lady, “when they go low, we go high”. Yet, as one learns, grows, and matures we are earnestly moving toward that. The Word of God in Ephesians 4: 14 & 15 (NIV) states:
“Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by
waves, and blown here and there by every wind of
teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people
in their deceitful scheming.
Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to
become in every respect the mature body of him who is
the head, that is, Christ.”
It is evident that Satan intentionally sets up schemes that result in offense – and he has to use people for his dirty work! The question then vividly presents itself as to how the situation is dealt with. The response will answer and prove indicative of the individuals’ level of maturity. One thing is clear, you cannot gauge the other person’s response, nor should you anticipate their receptivity. You can only determine how you will respond in word or deed. Many times, a person will respond to offense from the viewpoint of their “right”, or the present seat of their emotions. Both viewpoints can prove to be problematic and even escalate the situation. Interestingly, the above passage of scripture does not encourage us to ignore the situation or to flee from it, but it admonishes us to speak the truth in love! Even those most difficult things when addressed from the foundation of genuine love will shed light where darkness attempts to prevail. Love is portrayed through tone of voice, physical gestures, timing and motive in the approach, and content of one’s conversation. Speaking the truth in love does not equate to weakness or concession. It is the basis of seeking an amicable resolution. I have learned in my walk and relationship with God, that He does not allow difficult things in our lives to happen to intentionally hurt us, but it is within those experiences that our growth will be either stunted, become stagnant, or accomplish His plan of growth that leads to maturity.