One way the enemy keeps a person in an offended state is to keep the offense hidden, cloaked with pride. Pride will keep you from admitting your true condition.
Once I was severely hurt by a couple of ministers. People would say, “I can’t believe they did this to you. Aren’t you hurt?” I would quickly respond, “No, I am fine. I’m not hurt.” I knew it was wrong to be offended, so I denied and repressed it. I convinced myself I was not, but in reality I was. Pride masked the true condition of my heart.
Pride keeps you from dealing with truth. It distorts your vision. You never change when you think everything is fine. Pride hardens your heart and dims the eyes of your understanding. It keeps you from the change of heart—repentance—that will set you free. (See 2 Timothy
Pride causes you to view yourself as a victim. Your attitude becomes, “I was mistreated and misjudged; therefore, I am justified in my behavior.” Because you believe you are innocent and falsely accused, you hold back forgiveness. Though your true heart condition is hidden from you, it is not hidden from God. Just because you were mistreated, you do not have permission to hold on to an offense. Two wrongs do not make a right!
In the Book of Revelation Jesus addressed the church of Laodicea by first telling them how they saw themselves as rich, wealthy, and having need of nothing, then by exposing their true condition—“wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked” (Rev. 3:14–20). They had mistaken their financial strength for spiritual strength. Pride hid their true condition.
Many are this way today. They do not see the true condition of their hearts just as I was unable to see the resentment I carried toward those ministers. I had convinced myself I was not hurt. Jesus told the Laodiceans how to get out of their deception: buy God’s gold and see
their true condition.
Buy God’s gold.
Jesus’ first instruction for breaking free from deception was to “buy from Me gold refined in the fire” (Rev. 3:18).
Refined gold is soft and pliable, free from corrosion or other substances. It is when gold is mixed with other metals (copper, iron, nickel, and so on) that it becomes hard, less pliable, and more corrosive. This mixture is called an alloy. The higher the percentage of foreign metals,
the harder the gold becomes. Conversely, the lower the percentage of alloy, the softer and more flexible the gold is.
Immediately we see the parallel: A pure heart is like pure gold—soft, tender, and pliable. Hebrews 3:13 states that hearts are hardened through the deceitfulness of sin! If we do not deal with an offense, it will produce more fruit of sin, such as bitterness, anger, and resentment.
This added substance hardens our hearts just as alloys harden gold. This reduces or removes tenderness, creating a loss of sensitivity.
We are hindered in our ability to hear God’s voice. Our accuracy to see is darkened. This is a perfect setting for deception.
The first step in refining gold is grinding it into a powder and mixing it with a substance called flux. Then the mixture is placed in a furnace and melted by intense heat. The alloys and impurities are drawn to the flux and rise to the surface. The gold (which is heavier) remains
at the bottom. The impurities or dross (such as copper, iron, and zinc, combined with flux) is then removed, yielding a purer metal.
Now look at what God says: Behold, I have refined you, but not as silver; I have tested you in the furnace of affliction. —Isaiah 48:10
And again: In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory
at the revelation of Jesus Christ. —1 Peter 1:6–7, emphasis added
God refines with afflictions, trials, and tribulations, the heat of which separates impurities such as unforgiveness, strife, bitterness, anger, envy, and so forth from the character of God in our lives.
Sin easily hides where there is no heat of trials and afflictions. In times of prosperity and success, even a wicked man will seem kind and generous. Under the heat of trials, however, the impurities surface.
There was a time in my life when I went through intense trials such as I had never faced before. I became rude and harsh with those closest to me. My family and friends began to avoid me.
I cried out to the Lord, “Where is all this anger coming from? It wasn’t here before!” The Lord responded, “Son, it is when they liquefy gold in fire that the impurities show up.” He then asked a question that changed my life. “Can you see the impurities in gold before it is put in the fire?”
“No,” I answered.
“But that doesn’t mean they were not there,” He said. “When the fire of trials hit you, these impurities surfaced. Though hidden to you, they were always visible to Me. So now you have a choice that will determine your future. You can remain angry, blaming your wife, friends, pastor, and the people you work with, or you can see this dross of sin for what it is and repent, receive forgiveness, and I will take My ladle and remove these impurities from your life.”
See your true condition.
Jesus said our ability to see correctly is another key to being freed from deception. Often when we are offended we see ourselves as victims and blame those who have hurt us. We justify our bitterness, unforgiveness, anger, envy, and resentment as they surface. Sometimes
we even resent those who remind us of others who have hurt us. For this reason Jesus counseled, “Anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see” (Rev. 3:18). See what? Your true condition! That’s the only way we can “be zealous and repent” as Jesus commanded next. You will only repent when you stop blaming other people. When we blame others and defend our own position, we are blind. We struggle to remove the speck out of our brother’s eye while
there is a log in ours. It is the revelation of truth that brings freedom to us. When the Spirit of God shows us our sin, He always does it in such a way that it seems separate from us. This brings conviction, not condemnation.
It is my prayer that God’s Word will enlighten the eyes of your understanding that you will see your true condition and become free from any offense you are harboring. Don’t let pride keep you from seeing and repenting.
John Bevere is a popular speaker at conferences and churches and the author of best-sellers The Bait of Satan and The Fear of the Lord. He is host of The Messenger TV show and directs Messenger International ministry. This article was excerpted from his popular book The Bait of Satan.