Zion minister

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Sunday, August 11, 2019

best ways of response to provocation


Text: Mathew 18:6-7

“Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were drowned in the depth of the sea. Woe to the world because of offenses! For offenses must come, but woe to that man by whom the offense comes”


As long as we live in this world, we cannot but offend one another. There are people who have abandoned faith in Christ today just because they were provoked by some other fellows in the Church. It is not a light issue that a sinner finds a refuge in the Church but that through the action of someone the same person is provoked to leave the Church. We can help people gain better understanding on how to handle aggression. 

Provocation, from the root-word, provoked, means an act or something deliberately or non-deliberately put forth to incite, stir the feelings/emotions of the recipient and thereby elicit a reaction or response, which can be negative or positive. Provocation can however be either positive or negative. When it is positive, it stirs or encourages the recipient towards the right response. When it is negative, it incites the recipient to react and respond negatively.


1 A person can be provoked positively to take some positive, expected actions. Examples include

 2 1 Kings 3:4 Kings Solomon’s exceptional offering provoked God’s exceptional blessings

 3 Heb. 10:24 Believers are to provoked one another into love and good works

 4 Rom. 11:14 Apostle Paul provoked the Jews to jealousy so as to save them

Provocations, similar to temptations, are mostly negative. They act like stimuli geared towards eliciting physical, emotional or moral reaction from the one receiving them. 

According to the above text (Matt. 18:6, 7) uttered by our Lord Jesus, provocations can be seen as offenses. And provocations, or offenses, must come! Meaning that, provocations are inevitable, at whatever age and stage in life, and at some degree of frequency during everyone’s life-time, as a believer in Christ Jesus. But we are not meant or expected to stumble or fall from grace and faith through provocations, offenses, or call it temptations,. 

There are peculiar provocative actions, events, sight, words and other experiences which everyone will be exposed to. It is not as sin when we are exposed to provocations. However, the way we react to or handle instances of provocations will determine whether we sin or not


 1 Adam and Eve provoked by the serpent into lust (of the eye, flesh and pride of life) Gen. 3:1-16; 1 John 2:16

2 Cain provoked by jealousy into murdering his brother Abel. Gen. 4:3-8

 3 Joseph provoked by Potiphar’s wife, but successfully resisted fornication. Gen.39:7-9

 4 Hanna provoked by her rival Penninah for being childless. I Sam. 1:6,7

 5 David provoked by King Saul, but wisely resisted killing the anointed of God I Sam. 24:4ff

 6 Abner provoked into killing Asahel, and Joab’s wicked revenge of his brother’s death. II Sam.2:19-23,27

 7 Our Lord Jesus was also provoked by the people’s profaning of the Temple Matt.21:12-13


1 provocations through offenses, such as taunts from fellow believers (see the case of Moses versus Miriam/Aaron in Numbers 12:2ff; Matt.18:6,7). “Are you the only born-again Christian in this Church?” syndrome

2 provocation towards inordinate ambition. II Sam. 14:25ff; 15:1ff

3 provocations towards sexual impurity. Gen.39:7-9

4 provocation of temperament towards into lerance, quarrelsomeness and loss of self-control/testimony. I Sam.25:2ff; (Nabal/David) II Sam. 2:19-23; 3:26:26,27 (Abner/Asahel/Joab)

5 provocation through wrong counsel to further perfect evil. II Sam.13:3ff (Jonadab’s counsel

6 provocation from Satan towards pride and haughtiness. I Chron. 21:1ff

7 provocations through worldly pleasures, ungodly entertainment, dressing/wears, and so on, that lure Christian away from loving or walking with, and serving the Lord faithfully, II Tim.4:10;5:6

8 provocations through lack, delay of legitimate things, outright denial of one’s right as a worker in an establishment, or citizen of the nation. Prov.30:9;1 Sam. 25:2ff

9 provocation to compete and compare one’s self with others

10 provocation to deny God/the faith Job 2:9,10


1 Be not the channel/agent of provocation. Do not allow the devil to use you as a tool to provoke others to stumble. Matt 18:7

2 Study yourself well. Identify your weak areas that are easily provoked into ungodly behaviors or reactions

3 As much as possible avoid sights, events, places, discussions, peers or ‘friends’ and associations, and so on and so forth, that easily bring provocations

4 Do no overestimate yourself-ability

5 Consciously discipline yourself Heb. 12:4,12

6 Learn when to talk and when to keep quiet. Isaiah 53:7b; Prov. 17:28

7 Subject your thoughts/reactions to the obedience of Christ 1 Cor.10:4-5

8 Focus on Christ. Desire to react to situations as Christ would. Heb.12:1-4

9 Pray earnestly and constantly for grace (CACGHB 633)

10 Abandon yourself to God and to doing His pleasure. Psalm 37:4


The giant anyone fails to conquer will eventually defeat that person. Provocation/offenses will inevitably come to our doorsteps. They are not meant to master us, or make us fall. We are to master and rule over them. Therefore, let us move on to maturity. Proverbs 24:10 stressed that “if you fail in the day of adversity your strength is small”. Always remember that Satan the evil one rejoices whenever he has successfully facilitated a provocation that eventually sends a Christian out of the Church is reduced, and brethren may be discouraged. In this resurrection season therefore, may we receive new strength from the Lord, and overcome all provoking giants that are after our fall from grace and faith, in Jesus’ wonderful name. Amen.