Don’t Get Caught in the Trap

mousetrap

We’re back today to talk about the traps set by the devil to ensnare us and distract us. By way of review, (and because I LOVE lists!) here are four steps for dealing with the traps which frustrate us:

Your Very Own Trap Checklist

1.______Understand who sets the trap.
2.______Recognize the bait.
3.______Realize Jesus can release you from the trap
4.______Stay close to Jesus so you can avoid traps in the future

Today, we are finishing up with items # 3 and #4. Hold on to your hat! Here we go!

3.______Realize Jesus can release you from the trap

Once we’ve been trapped by some unwanted feeling or emotion, we do NOT have to stay there. As I’ve said before, take time to slow down and figure out what Jesus has to say.

Sometimes, we can crawl out of the trap by asking for forgiveness. Let’s face it, if we’re trapped, we might have let ourselves get there.

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.-1 John 1:9

We also need to remember we can’t worship or share gifts effectively if we’re trapped:

Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift.-Matthew 5:23-24

Sometimes, we need to forgive others to get out of our trap. Jesus had a lot to say about this. Just check out the following. You probably remember the Parable of the Unforgiving Servant. We all know how THAT turned out. Here’s Jesus’ intro to the story (be sure to read the whole thing in the Bible):

Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?” Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.
-Matthew 18:21 – 35

Here’s another good thought from Jesus for all us beautiful little church-goers. We often let the devil trap us in foolish warring indignation inside, then have the gall to pray our “peaceful” prayers at church on Sunday. Hmm…. something does not compute here.

And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.-Mark 11:25

Jesus demonstrated the most touching act of forgiveness when he hung upon the cross. I think of this so often when this Type A lady draws her sinful self into an indignant hissy fit. I picture my Savior hanging on the cross, facing his accusers:

When they came to the place called the Skull, they crucified him there, along with the criminals—one on his right, the other on his left. Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”-Luke 23:32 -34

Thank you, Jesus, for showing me words of forgiveness will actually set me free. You release me from my trap with a peaceful flow of forgiving words:

“I am sorry.”
“I forgive you.”

4.______Stay close to Jesus so you can avoid traps in the future

Guess what? If you really draw close to Jesus in prayer and Bible study, He can help you avoid getting trapped in the first place!

Think about what you get trapped by. You might even make a list. That’s always fun!

Jesus basically guaranteed we’d be tempted and trapped by offenses. Just check out what He said:

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”-John 16:33

Opportunities to take the bait of offense are all around us in this world. You may be unjustly wronged, but don’t take Satan’s bait and get trapped there. Here’s a list to remember:

1. Stay away from temptation. Sometimes you have to avoid people or situations which continually dangle Satan’s bait in front of you.
2. Focus ! Read Psalm 16:7.8:
3. Put on your armor! (Check out my article under the topic: Armor) – Ephesians 6:10-18
4. Let God bring judgment. That’s not your job.
5. Learn from adversity. For example, if your heart has been broken, you now have a tender heart. You can say, “Now I have a listening ear because I have a broken heart”
6. Forgive
I feel so much better now that I’ve shared a lot of lists with you. I’m also remembering how much Jesus loves us. He’s not surprised by our struggles. (To tell you the truth, sometimes I think He giggles and shakes His head at my petty ones!)

Jesus waits with open arms for us to run away from our traps – directly into His arms.

I’m reminded of the good old hymn: “O How He Loves You and Me.” I’m listening to it as I finish this.

Ahh….sigh…..

WOW – It’s so comforting to know I don’t have to be trapped. I am set free by Jesus love.

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. -John 14:27

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