August 24, 2007

The Rejection and The Praise of Man

These are the main points from the book Dealing with the Rejection and Praise of Man by Bob Sorge that I just read. This helped me personally but it also applies in ministry and how we respond to people (and their responses to us). I wanted to share these with you all.... If this whets your appetite to learn more, I highly recommend that you read this book (it's short! :^) God bless. Kayla

1.All of us will know rejection until our dying day. It's an unavoidable dynamic of our human existence.

2.No one knows rejection better than Jesus. Jesus proved that even if you're perfect you'll be rejected.

3.The more like Jesus you become, the more rejected you'll be.

4.If we respond properly to rejection, we gain eternal treasure.

5.Rejection is one of God's specialty tools in the school of the Spirit, reserved for those He especially likes.

6.Rejection is a trial-but the acceptance of the Father is the healing ointment.

7.Rejection stings, but it doesn't have to wound your heart.

8.We must forgive those who reject us.

9.We must learn to believe and receive the Father's love.

10. When God accepts me and approves, I need acceptance and approval from no one else.

11.Although I need only God's acceptance, I desperately need proper relationship and connection to my brothers and sisters in Christ.

12.One of the greatest challenges of Christian maturity is to make myself vulnerable to your kindness and affection while not allowing myself to be wounded by your rejection.

13.Its a sign of maturity when we can receive correction without interpreting it as rejection.

14.You won't be healed of rejection by analyzing the source of your rejection, but by looking at your Source of acceptance. Whose acceptance do you seek?

15.When I yearn for your acceptance, I open myself to your rejection.

16.You cannot seek the acceptance of both God and man. You cannot serve two masters.

17.Rejection and praise are opposite ends of the same continuum with identical root issues.

18.Two reasons why we should not be touched by the praise of man: people are undependable, and the opinions of people are insignificant.

19.The fear of man (the desire for man's praise) is a snare. (see my last blog "The Trap").

20.Jesus did not receive the honor of man

21.When we're energized by men's praises we lose our discernment.

22.Don't receive the cheap replacement of man's praise when you can contend for the highest praise- the honor of God Himself

23.To feed off the honor of man is idolatry.

24.When I no longer receive the praise of man, I become free of all men- free, that is, to love all men equally and unconditionally.

25.Living in a place where we are totally free from the praise and rejection of man is a lifetime pilgramage.

26.I do not seek the praise of other people, but I do seek to honor and encourage other believers as much as possible.

27.I can praise others by giving thanks to God for what His grace has accomplished in their lives.

28. We should affirm what God is doing in those around us, even when we see their shortcomings.

29.When you praise me, I do not receive your praise, but I do receive you.

August 12, 2007

The Trap!

Jeremiah 17: 5-8
“ 5 This is what the LORD says: "Cursed is the one who trusts in man, who depends on flesh for his strength and whose heart turns away from the LORD.
6 He will be like a bush in the wastelands; he will not see prosperity when it comes. He will dwell in the parched places of the desert, in a salt land where no one lives.
7 "But blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, whose confidence is in Him.
8 He will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit."

Proverbs 29:
“ 25 Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the LORD is kept safe.

Psalm 25:

12 Who, then, is the man that fears the LORD ? He will instruct him in the way chosen for him.
13 He will spend his days in prosperity, and his descendants will inherit the land

Proverbs 27
“ 21 The crucible for silver and the furnace for gold, but man is tested by the praise he receives.

The fear of man versus the fear of the Lord has been a subject that has been working in my heart lately. The acceptance and praise of man compared to the acceptance and praise of God has taken up my thoughts a lot lately. There are so many scriptures about this, these are just a sampling… But I am so convicted, and so encouraged. God is revealing His heart to me. That’s always exciting. It’s always been there in His word, but I guess it’s fresh to me just now.

The fear of man is a snare! It's a trap! Those who trust in man, will be trapped into barreness and isolation and unaware of the blessing of God, unaware of prosperity, even when it’s right in front of their face. I think the reason for that is because they aren’t looking for it in God… they are looking for it in man. I've been guilty of this. When will we learn? The best friend, the most loving family member, the Godliest saint, will each disappoint us and even at times (unknowingly or knowingly) may reject us… Why? Because they are not God. HE alone is trustworthy and pure of heart. Man may try, but we will always come up short.

Jesus said, “I do not receive honor from men.” (John 5:41). He didn’t say, “I don’t go around seeking the honor of men”. He said He did not even receive it! Why? He knew what was in man’s heart. He knew that the same crowds who were singing “Hosanna” one week, would in the next week be screaming, "Crucify Him!" He knew that even His closest friends who swore their undying love and devotion, would deny Him and reject Him when their own lives were put in jeopardy. He knew what was in man’s heart. And we should too. And He also knew what was God’s heart. And we should too! Jesus chose to not trust in man. He chose to not fear man. We should too.

But in choosing the praise of God alone, in choosing the fear of God and not man we are not to form a “me and Jesus club”. Although Jesus knew what was in man, He still chose to partner with us and He has commanded us to not forsake assembling together and working together. He could have done it a lot faster and better without us. But He’s chosen to use us… That amazes me. That testifies of His love for us and His surprising enjoyment of us. We are to work together as a Body, to lift each other up and to encourage and to bless one another… but our approval and acceptance is going to have to be found completely and only in Him.

We are to fear Him alone. We are to seek His approval alone. And why would we even desire to rely on the praise and approval of man when we can have the highest honor of His, “Well done thou good and faithful servant”? Yet the sad truth is that most of us do seek the praise of man over the praise of God. "The one whom we fear, is the one whom we will serve". And a man cannot serve two masters…

In his book Dealing with the Rejection and Praise of Man Bob Sorge asks, “Are you trying to please God or man? Do you seek acceptance from man? When people compliment you, does it strengthen your sense of self-worth and self-fulfillment? Do you feed off the praise of man? “

Bob Mumford once said, "Praise is food for God, but poison for man". It is one of the biggest tests that reveals who we are looking to, whom we fear. The praise of man is a snare! The fear of man is often the result of rejection that drives us to seek man’s validation. Am I significant? Am I loveable? Am I of value? Those questions can only be answered through the revelation of the love and acceptance of God.

In Ephesians, Paul talked about being “rooted and grounded in God’s love”… That’s stability. Then obedience and the fear of the Lord will come more naturally… It is a joy and a pleasure to serve someone who you KNOW loves you and accepts you! Out of Relationship, will come obedience and holiness…

I do not want to be defined by the approval or rejection of man any longer. I do not want to trust in man. I do not want to be led by the fear of man or to waste the time I've been given seeking man's praise and avoiding their rejection. I want to be free from this common snare. Satan cannot make us sin, but he surely can lure us into his traps. I believe that the fear of man/ the seeking of man's approval is one of satan's most successful traps that he uses against the body of Christ. I want to steer clear of this path and to travel down the Lord's highway of holiness.

So I want to invite you to join me in this quest to know the fear of the Lord, to seek after only His acceptance. When we are rejected or praised by men, we need to consider the source- yes to be appreciative of the encouragment- but to run to our only true Source. If we fear and trust in Him, if we seek to please Him alone and not people (whose opinions and moods can change from moment to moment and who in their flesh may reject us) – in Him we will find security, confidence, fulfillment and joy! And His rewards are not fleeting, but eternal and everlasting! I want that! Amen!