From the Pastor
Pastor Mike Burns
903.567.2072 (Ext. 3002)
Psalm 119:165 in the KJV reads, "Great peace have they which love Thy law; and nothing shall offend them." Some modern translations will replace the last phrase with something akin to "nothing can make them stumble." Nothing can entice them to sin, nor can the sins of others cause them to fall.
Notice what this verse says. As a fruit, the love of God's instruction—paying attention to and keeping His law (His Word)—produces peace, which is a wonderful, strong sense of well-being, stability and confident assurance in what we already have. Thus, the enticement to go another way holds no attraction. Why exchange something we have proven to be eternally good for something else of very nebulous and doubtful short-term value (like an offense)?
The psalmist writes in Psalm 149,verse 49, "Remember the word to your servant, upon which You have caused me to hope." Why turn aside from a way that gives hope? "This is my comfort in my affliction, for Your word has given me life... I am a companion of all those who fear You, and of those who keep Your precepts" (verses 50, 63). Peace, hope, comfort in affliction, fellowship with wonderful, like-minded people also submitting to God and life all come as a result of loving God's law, His Word. In other verses he adds delight, understanding and wisdom on how to navigate through the minefields of offenses.
Herein lies the defense against offense. When we strive to lavish our affections upon God, we show it by submitting to Him. We show our affection by obeying Him, talking to Him and meditating on what He says to us through His Word. We will strive to discover ways of using His advice in our lives.
We will not do these things to "get" blessings from Him, even though blessings will come. We do them because we admire, respect and desire to honor Him (I John 4:19). We do this to improve the relationship so that we are closer to Him than ever before.
The best defense against offense is a healthy and growing relationship with God. We must nurture this relationship on a daily basis, and not allow it to degenerate through a lack of care. And then, when the pressure is on because offense has come, we can cry out in our anguish and desperation for help and receive the help we need (Hebrews 4:16).
A good relationship with God does not insure that offenses will always be easy to deal with. In fact, they may even get more difficult! More frequent opportunities both to offend and be offended may spring up. God rewards those who are growing with greater responsibility (Luke 12:48).
But know this: If we are devoting our lives to God, we will be able to meet offenses with the loving, confident, hopeful, peaceful, and yes, even the joyful attitude of the poet who wrote Psalm 119. When we have grown to this point, we will see our offenders through the eyes, as it were, of the One who so loved the world He gave His only begotten Son. And this is the first step in the right direction.
Published on Thursday, September 29, 2022 @ 2:42 PM CDT