Obstacles to Intimacy Series
~Exploring God’s Gift of Intimacy~
In the Obstacles to Intimacy Series, we discussed Obstacle #1: Sex Addiction, Tips & Tools to Overcome Obstacle #1, Obstacle #2: Intimacy Anorexia, How We Become Intimacy Anorexics, Reactive Intimacy Anorexia, The Anorexia Cycle, Tips & Tools to Overcome Obstacle #2, Obstacle #3: The Offended Heart, The Victim/Victor Cycle, and Living IN Offense.
Now, we are going to review examples of those living on offense – meaning those trying to win. The goal is to move from a victim mentality to that of a victor or winner mentality. Here are some biblical examples below.
JOSEPH (King of Dreams)
Many of you know the story of Joseph in the Bible. He was the one who wore the Coat of Many Colors. Because of his father’s favoritism, his brothers were not too fond of him. They plotted to kill him; but later, they sold him into slavery.
Joseph was sold to Potipher and lived the life of a servant. He could have been offended by his brothers though he never complained. He never even disobeyed what he had been taught. Daily he was tempted by Potipher’s wife. Until one day, she had enough. She claimed he had done something he had not. She accused him of what she herself was guilty of – attempting to seduce him. Joseph overcame the temptation of lust and remained obedient to his God. He then had the opportunity to be offended with Potipher’s wife for lying about him; but again, he was not. He was blamed for something he didn’t do. In fact, he chose the right thing and still got thrown into prison.
While he was in prison with two other men, a baker and a steward, he interprets their dreams for them and asks that they remember him when they are released. One is released and killed for his actions, and the other is taken back into the safety of the palace. However, he forgets and does not keep his promise to Joseph. Here we see yet again when Joseph could have been offended by yet another person in his life. Yet, he chose forgiveness, grace and mercy.
For nearly 12 years of persecution, he continues to obey God and chooses the path of righteousness regardless of the ramifications. However, had he been offended with any of these individuals placed along his path or with God himself, he would’ve lost the opportunity to experience true physical and spiritual freedom. Not only does the steward remember Joseph’s ability to interpret dreams, Pharaoh then puts him in charge of all of Egypt and the distribution of food during the upcoming famine he warned them of during the interpretation of Pharaoh’s dream. God pours out His blessings upon him and bestows the ability to use his power to serve and bless others – namely his own brothers, who began the betrayal years ago. Not only did he not harbor a grudge, he celebrated with his brothers and welcomed them with open arms of forgiveness. Joseph lived on offense.
DAVID (The Man After God’s own Heart)
Many of you may have also heard the story of King David in the Bible. He is probably best known for his ability to fight off the giant, Goliath, at a very young age. David is often described as a man after God’s own heart.
As the story goes, David became bosom buddies with Jonathan, King Saul’s son. David was an outstanding warrior and became known to the people as the “best” warrior. He killed tens of thousands whereas the King was only credited with killing thousands. King Saul began to become offended with David. Eventually, his hate grew so deep that he desired to kill David. Do you see how offense often turns into betrayal?
David began to run for his life as King Saul began to pursue him. David had two opportunities described in the Bible where he could have sought revenge and killed King Saul first. Once in a cave, where he only took a small portion of his garment to prove he was able to get close enough to the King to harm him. Then again, God put King Saul’s army into a deep sleep, and David had his second opportunity to destroy him. Yet, he did not harbor his offense or let it fester. He chose to live on offense. God blessed his obedience and compassion for Saul numerous times. David even went out of his way to bless Mephibosheth, a relative of King Saul’s. He truly was a victor!
Daniel is probably best known for his time in the Lion’s den. He was one of the four young men chosen who was handsome with no physical defects, who displayed great skill in learning, who was quick to understand and qualified to serve in King Nebuchadnezzar’s palace.
God gave Daniel great knowledge and discernment to understand visions and dreams. Daniel begins by standing up for his faith and refuses to eat foods the king provides. Instead, he and his friends chose the wise over the foolish to nourish their bodies. When the king saw no difference in their physical appearance, he commended them. Later, Daniel is requested to interpret a dream for the king.
As you can imagine, someone became offended with these young men who were able to serve their God and still maintain a heart at peace with the king. So eventually King Nebuchadnezzar is informed these four young men will not bow to the statue that was created in his image. Because of the decree he had previously issued, he was forced to place these young men in the fiery furnace for their betrayal. They had such faith in their God they were not afraid to be thrown into the furnace.
As my husband often says, “God doesn’t just show up – He shows off!” Well, that was the case in this situation as well. Rather than be offended that the king threw them into the furnace in an attempt to kill them, they literally had to walk through the fire of purification. Daniel could have been offended by the king or by those who were seeking to discredit him, but instead he had faith in His God who he knew would take care of him.
Later, Daniel was appointed as one of three administrators to oversee the kingdom. He was so blessed and anointed by God for his obedience that many others were becoming offended by him. They were looking for something corrupt about him. They only thing they could find was his loyalty to his God. Another edict was given that anyone who prayed to anyone else besides the king for 30 days should be thrown in the lion’s den.
Here again we see Daniel being obedient – even to death. He could have harbored unforgiveness in his heart against those who plotted against him or against the king, but he did not. In fact, he was respectful and was a testimony of God’s great love, grace, mercy and compassion.
JESUS (The One & Only)
Many of you may remember the words of Jesus on the cross, “Forgive them for they do not know what they do.” As you may recall, Jesus had been tempted by the devil for 40 days prior to his journey here at the cross. He prayed for hours up until Judas turned him over to the authorities. He knew what was about to occur.
My husband believes the cross is the final and ultimate temptation for Christ. He has the power to overcome the world, and yet he withholds his judgment and accepts an unjust punishment. In essence, Christ is ultimately saying, “I cease to accuse, blame or criticize all who are physically present in this moment and all future generations to come of my death.” He does not play the role of the victim, nor will He ever. He is the Victor! He is the One who wins in the end. Death cannot destroy who He is. Nor can anything you do separate you from His love. His forgiveness knows no boundaries. He reigns victorious regardless of anything. He is the only One who can redeem, restore and renew. He is the only One who can rescue you from eternal damnation.
In closing, John Bevere makes many powerful statements in his Bait of Satan curriculum. However, there are a few I want to close with today. No one can get you out of the will of God. You are the only one who can destroy the call of God on your life.
Have you ever noticed that God brings the greatest test of our life right before he delivers us or right before we can see the harvest? We need to realize when we have an opportunity to be offended, God desires for us to choose righteousness and obedience so He can lavishly pour out His blessings upon us. Will you accept the challenge to be unoffendable? If so, I guarantee you will be blessed!
In my next blog article, we will be discussing bitterness.
Kerry Schortzman is the Director of Operations at Transformed Hearts Counseling Center as well as an author and speaker. She has traveled the road of recovery alongside her husband through the wildfires of intimacy anorexia. She has a heart and passion to see healing and restoration in relationships and marriages as well as to bring public awareness to eliminate sex and human trafficking. Kerry has been married since 1998 and lives in Colorado with her husband and four daughters. She and Cory have been seen on the CBS Early Show, Inside Edition, and ABC Good Morning America, Fox 21 News, and TLC/Discovery discussing the harm of sex addiction and the joys of recovery.
Cory’s books include: Out of the Darkness, Into the Light the Workbook, Into the Light the Steps, Ashes to Beauty the Steps, 301 Dating Ideas, 301 Conversational Ideas, 301 Ways to Say I Love You, 301 Ways to Love Your Children & 301 Recovery Tools & Tips.