…and I can’t sleep… today I finally finished Joyce Meyer’s book, ‘Ashes to Beauty’. I kept getting interrupted several times. One of the last chapters I read today had this…
“Almost every time God is ready to promote you and bring you to the next level, you will experience an attack of rejection at the place where you are now. Satan will use rejection to try to keep you where you are or even to bring you down from there…. It is possible that the bigger the call on your life, the greater the abuse that comes against you.” Joyce shared from her own experience how her home church rejected her when her ministry took off. She and her husband had to find another church. 😦 She then also wonderfully draws from the story of Joseph, betrayed by his brothers, and Daniel, thrown into the lions’ den.
Joyce’s words ring loudly in my head…. “Almost every time God is ready to promote you and bring you to the next level, you will experience an attack of rejection at the place where you are now. Satan will use rejection to try to keep you where you are.”
Joyce emphasized how Satan can use church people to tear us down – that’s the scary thing. She even writes…
“If you are going to be used by God, or if you are going to walk with God, you will experience a certain amount of rejection. And more likely that rejection will come from people who matter the most to you. It may come from family members or close friends. If God touches you, and you want to go deeper with Him than some of your church friends, even they are likely to reject you. People just do not want others to go where they are not willing to go themselves. If they want to pursue carnal interests, and you want to walk in the Spirit, they may openly hate you for your choice.”
Oh how I have felt this at times in my few years of ministry! It is one thing that has ripped me to the core as a pastor. One pours out and prays for people and yet they turn and speak or do evil to you. Perhaps it’s simply a glimpse of how Jesus loved us and yet we rejected Him? Well… I have not been crucified by my own people. Not yet. 😉
I reflect on this passage in Acts 13:49-52… (Amplified Version)…
49 And so the Word of the Lord [concerning eternal salvation through Christ] scattered and spread throughout the whole region.
50 But the Jews stirred up the devout women of high rank and the outstanding men of the town, and instigated persecution against Paul and Barnabas and drove them out of their boundaries.
51 But [the apostles] shook off the dust from their feet against them and went to Iconium.
52 And the disciples were continually filled [throughout their souls] with joy and the Holy Spirit.
I pray I will be continually filled with joy and the Holy Spirit – keeping my mind, will and emotions fixed on the joy available through the indwelling presence of the Lord. Less of me, more of Him! May I draw continually from my favourite stories of Joseph, betrayed by his brothers, and Daniel, thrown into a den of hungry lions by his own colleagues.
I choose to claim the promises of Matthew 5…
10 Blessed and happy and enviably fortunate and spiritually prosperous (in the state in which the born-again child of God enjoys and finds satisfaction in God’s favor and salvation, regardless of his outward conditions) are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake (for being and doing right), for theirs is the kingdom of heaven!
11 Blessed (happy, to be envied, and spiritually prosperous—with life-joy and satisfaction in God’s favor and salvation, regardless of your outward conditions) are you when people revile you and persecute you and say all kinds of evil things against you falsely on My account.
12 Be glad and supremely joyful, for your reward in heaven is great (strong and intense), for in this same way people persecuted the prophets who were before you.
I do not serve for the glory of others, but for the glory of God and for the building of His kingdom! Lord, I claim your protection as I seek to be faithful in Your ministry!