1 Timothy 4:10 For therefore we both labour and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Saviour of all men, specially of those that believe. (KJV)
Deuteronomy 33:29 How blessed you are, O Israel! Who else is like you, a people saved by the LORD? He is your protecting shield and your triumphant sword! Your enemies will cringe before you, and you will stomp on their backs!” (KJV)
Are you allowing the enemy to quiet your voice?
Your responsibility, to carry the gospel everywhere you go, is your labor of love for the Lord. You carry the good news of Jesus in everything you do: your personality, your stand on issues, your willingness to stand up for what you believe in (even when you are standing alone), your refusal to go with the flow just because everyone else is doing it, etc. The enemy will try to stop you and make you conform. One of his most useful weapons is rejection and criticism.
John 15:18-19 If you find that the world despises you, remember that before it despised you, it first despised Me. 19 If you were a product of the world order, then it would love you. But you are not a product of the world because I have taken you out of it, and it despises you for that very reason. (The Voice)
The devil will come against you with everything in his arsenal. How does he do it?
John 10:10a The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. (New King James Version
What is his methodology? He will start at the outer circle of your life and make his way all the way to the inner circle, using people to create circumstances and problems. It is not flesh and blood you are fighting against; it is spiritual wickedness manifesting in people who allow themselves, knowingly or unknowingly, to be used. Initially, the damage won’t be as much because he is using people whose opinions don’t really matter to you: new acquaintances, short-time associates, long-lost relatives, co-workers, etc. As he makes his way to the inner circle, he enlists the help of long-time friends, mentor, pastor, husband, wife, and children. The hurt gets more and more painful the closer the person is to you. You tell yourself, it’s one thing for an almost stranger to say or do something to you. It’s another thing when it’s your child, your spouse, or your friend from kindergarten.
“Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.” -Victor Frank (Holocaust survivor, neurologist, psychiatrist)
What intensifies the hurt you feel and causes you to back down? You take it personally. The Bible tells you, nothing will by any means hurt you; but you have to believe it and choose your response. (Yes, you choose how you will respond to any situation.)
Proverbs 19:11 Good sense and discretion make a man slow to anger, And it is his honor and glory to overlook a transgression or an offense [without seeking revenge and harboring resentment]. (Amplified Bible AMP)
Maybe you have not mastered that level of self-control yet, or you do not have the strength, on your own, to stand up to criticism or rejection. Because God is He your way, He will give you what you need to keep going. You will not stop because of the hurt and one day you will choose not to hurt. You are an example of the power of God, in what you say, in how you respond, and in the love you share, in spirit, and in faith.
2 Corinthians 12:9-10 But he answered me, “My grace is always more than enough for you,[a] and my power finds its full expression through your weakness.” So I will celebrate my weaknesses, for when I’m weak I sense more deeply the mighty power of Christ living in me.[b] 10 So I’m not defeated by my weakness, but delighted! For when I feel my weakness and endure mistreatment—when I’m surrounded with troubles on every side and face persecution because of my love for Christ—I am made yet stronger. For my weakness becomes a portal to God’s power. (The Passion Translation)
Take advantage of the opportunity to raise your voice on behalf of the Lord. As you pray, ask Him to grant you the wisdom and grace to speak His truth by faith every day. He will not allow His word to return unto him void and He will cause it to accomplish His will in all that you think, say, and do. Take time to give Him praise now and forevermore because he is Jehovah Chereb [ja-hō-va cher-reb] (The LORD the Sword) and He is with you.
Please agree with me as I pray:
Father God, I smile when I think about how much I didn’t really know about my Christian walk and what it would be like when I started. I also repent because I should have come to You. I smile because as I read the word and begin to spend time with You; I saw it was not a cakewalk. It wasn’t for the prophets of old. It wasn’t for Jesus. It wasn’t for the apostles. I also repent for complaining because I thought it should be easy for me. For some reason, I thought things would always be great; I would always be happy; and there would never be any contention. That was just crazy. You taught me I needed to change my perspective on what it means to be a Christian. If I did, I would walk with more power. You send me to speak to people, churches, and ministries on assignment. The enemy has an assignment also; to kill, steal, and destroy what You have placed in me. You are my sword. When he tells me what You have given me to say will not be heard; I’ll say it, anyway. When he tells me I am being disregarded because of my temperament or tone; I’ll say it, anyway. When he tells me I am being mistreated; I’ll say it, anyway. When he tells me, I will be alone; I’ll say it, anyway. When he tells me to leave without completing my assignment, I will not allow him to stop me from being a vessel You can use. You are my strength and my sword. You are Jehovah Chererb…
Ask the Lord what He wants to say to you about today’s devotional and journal His response as described here.