I have been in ministry long enough to know that no matter how good your intentions are, and no matter how closely you follow the Lord's leading, sooner or later, someone is going to criticize you. Even if you don't have what most people consider a "ministry," you are still called by God to do the Lord's work, and to make a difference for Him in this world. And it's in making a difference that you will encounter obstacles that are designed by the devil and his crew to discourage you and to get you to stop. How we respond to these attacks will determine how much the Lord can use us, and how much of an impact we will have on this earth. It is my desire to give your confidence a boost in this area, so that you can fulfill your God-given purpose, and become all that the Lord created you to be.
In order for us to be effective witnesses for Christ, we need to have a working knowledge of the Word of God. Scripture says: "Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth." (2 Timothy 2:15 NASB) When we diligently and prayerfully study God's Word - planting its truths in our hearts - the Holy Spirit will bring to mind exactly what we need to know for each situation. Jesus said: "God will give you the right words at the right time. For it is not you who will be speaking - it will be the Spirit of your Father speaking through you." (Matthew 10:19-20 NLT) This is a promise that we need to claim and depend on often. Whether we are ministering to thousands of people at one time, or a single person, we should say, "Lord, give me the right words at the right time by Your Spirit." As we do our part, God is faithful to do His.
The apostle John wrote: "You have an anointing from the Holy One, and all of you know the truth." (1 John 2:20 NIV) If you are a follower of Christ, then you have been anointed by God to know and share His truth. And if you will abide in Christ - living for Him, and walking in close fellowship with Him on a daily basis - you will receive counseling and instruction from the Holy Spirit that you can apply to your own life and impart to others in life-changing ways. As John wrote: "As for you, the anointing you received from Him remains in you, and you do not need anyone to teach you. But as His anointing teaches you about all things and as that anointing is real, not counterfeit - just as it has taught you, remain in Him." (1 John 2:27 NIV) This does not mean that you don't need to receive instruction from godly people who will help you to grow up in God, but it does mean that you will receive revelation from heaven directly from the Spirit of God so that you won't walk in spiritual ignorance as the unsaved do. And here again, a working knowledge of the Scriptures is vital, because you will want to make sure that what you are hearing does not contradict God's Word.
As you minister to others and have an impact on their lives, Satan and his evil cohorts are going to try to discourage you. Make up your mind now that when he puts people in your path who criticize you and find fault with your message that you are going to go straight to God with your doubts, fears, and insecurities. Ask, "Lord, is this from You, or from another source? Help me to respond exactly the way You want me to." Be open to correction - but not to condemnation. If after heartfelt communication with God, you discern that the criticism is not from Him, shake it off and move on. Remember that you've got a job to do. The last time I went to the Lord after receiving some criticism, He asked me several questions: "Did you pray and ask for My help beforehand? Was your heart right when you delivered the message? Was your goal to help others, to draw them to Me, and to glorify Me?" As I answered yes to all of them, He told me - "Then enter My rest and leave the consequences to Me."
It's my prayer that you would take this word from the Lord to heart today, and that you would move on into all the blessings, rewards, and promotions He has in store for His faithful servants!
Prayer: Lord, help me to devote myself to prayer and the study of Your Word, so that I may know You and Your ways better each day. Show me how to respond to criticism in a Christlike manner, and keep me from getting doubtful and discouraged. Thank You that as I am faithful to You and Your cause, You will enable me to reach more and more people with Your truth!
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