Don’t Take the Bait
April 5, 2019
I heard about a man and his friend who walked into the corner store where this man bought the newspaper every day. The clerk behind the counter was unfriendly, cold, inconsiderate, and treated this man like he was bothering him. The man bought the paper, smiled, and said, "I hope you have a great day." The clerk didn't even look up to acknowledge that he had said anything. The friend said to the man, "Is that clerk always that rude?" The man said, "Every morning." The friend said, "Are you always that nice?" He said, "Every morning." The friend looked puzzled and said, "Why?" The man said, "I've made up my mind that I'm not going to let another person ruin my day."
Jesus said, "Offenses will come" (Luke 17:1). He didn't say they might come. He didn't say that if you're kind, you pray and quote the Scriptures, you'll be exempt from grumpy people and people who cut you off in traffic. He said offenses will come. You will have opportunities on a regular basis to get upset, to become offended and bitter, to argue, to try to pay people back. That word "offense" comes from a Greek word that means "to bait," referring to the bait that's used to lure animals into a trap. When you're tempted to be offended, someone leaves you out, they say something derogatory to you, recognize that's the enemy trying to deceive you into his trap, saying, "Come on, get upset, argue with them, tell them off." Instead of letting it upset you, say, "No, thanks. I'm not taking the bait. I'm going to enjoy this day."
The Scripture talks about how we should put on the whole armor of God. One part of that armor is the shoes of peace. It's interesting that God chose our feet for peace. It implies that everywhere we go, we're going to have to choose to stay in peace. You can have on your helmet of salvation, your belt of truth, your shield of faith, but if you don't put on your shoes of peace, if you don't make the decision that you're not going to let other people bait you into conflict, then even though you have on all the other armor, without peace it's not going to be effective. Every morning make the decision that nothing that comes against you is going to get you upset—that's putting on your shoes of peace. You're saying, "God, my life is in Your hands. I believe that You're directing my steps. Everything may not go perfect today, but I trust You. I know You're working all things for my good."