Have you felt persecuted because of your Christianity, scorned or humiliated for your faith, ostracized or laughed at because of your Biblical values? Well, you are in good company. Jesus was despised and rejected of men (Isa. 53:3). In His own home town, He could do no good, except for a few small miracles. Why? People refused to receive His message (Mt. 13:53-58; Mk. 6:4). They saw Him as a mere carpenter’s son, and focused on His familiar presence to them, His natural heritage, rather than looking at Him with spiritual eyes. They were mired in the norm and couldn’t see the supernatural blessing in their midst. When you walk according to the Word, under the unction of the Holy Spirit, you are a supernatural blessing in the midst of this world, and sometimes people just won’t accept what you have to offer. Do not become offended.
Think about the Sadducees and Pharisees, the religious leaders of Jesus’ time. They were jealous of Jesus’ wisdom and the anointing of the Holy Spirit upon Him. They tried to ensnare Him because He went against the grain of their religious traditions. His message was woven with grace, and it didn’t fit into their religious boxes. For instance, they couldn’t understand healing on the Sabbath (Luke 13:10-17; John 7:1-24). Not only did Judas betray Jesus, but at one point the Bible says many disciples or followers of Jesus, other than the twelve disciples, left Him because they could not accept His teaching. (See John 6:35-66).
John the Baptist was looked upon by some as a man with a demon (Mt. 11:1-19). The Sadducees and Pharisees disliked him because of the baptism he preached. It didn’t agree with the traditions of the church or of society at that time. It was something new; John was paving the way for the new covenant – Jesus, the ministry of grace, repentance and baptism by water rather than the tradition of circumcision (Mt. 3:1-11). Herod had imprisoned John because John had told Herod it was unlawful for him to take his brother’s wife. Consequently, when Herodias’ daughter asked for John’s head on a platter, Herod obliged (Mk. 6:17-26).
John the Baptist was different, and oftentimes people don’t receive those who are different, those who bring a different message, and as a result, they totally miss out on what God has to say to them. When it comes to standing up for the message of Jesus, dare to be different…different from societal traditions, different from the world of spiritual apathy, different from those who simply follow worldly wisdom. Stand up and be counted for Jesus! Remember, we are in this world, but not of it. “Ye are of God little children (1 Jn. 4:4),” not of the world. We are strangers in a strange land. Thank the Lord. Do you really want to be “of this world” with all of its dysfunction, violence, anger, sickness, lack? I don’t think so. I know I sure don’t, and praise God, He has given us a way out, a way of redemption from all of the lack in this world. Why did He do that? Not only because He loves us so much, but because He loves everyone so much, and when we get ahold of our fullness, our completeness in Him, we can take it to the world!
So, if someone ridicules you because you have faith for healing or finances or the deliverance of your children or friends or family members from any number of oppressions or problems, if someone chides you because they say, “Oh, you are one of those faith people,” say “Yes, Hallelujah, I am! Thank you! My faith in my God will see me through! He has never failed me, nor forsaken me! He is my Rock and my Protector! He is the Almighty, and He is with me in every situation! I am so glad, and He will do the same for you!” If someone turns on you and perhaps even encourages others to reject you because they are offended by the gospel you live or preach, because you are standing firm in the teachings of Christ, forgive them and move on. Plant the seed of the Word in their lives and trust God to water it and bring the harvest! Whatever you do, don’t let it change the faith you have or the Christ you share or the way you stand on the Word. Don’t let it offend you or drag you into the pit of bitterness. Keep standing! Keep believing! Move on out; move on up; move to a new level of faith! (See Mt. 10:14-22.)
Use those times of opposition to grow deeper and stronger in the Word. When rejection, opposition, or ridicule comes, go to the Word. Seek out God’s direction there. Let Him talk to you and guide you through His Word. Let Him take you to the secret place. He will share intimate truths with you. He will hold you close to Himself and reveal secrets and mysteries. He will be your peace. Let Him talk to you and encourage you and correct you if need be. Let Him reveal His heart to you.
Stay strong and keep moving up in faith,
If you have never made Jesus the Lord of your life and desire to, pray this: Dear God, I believe that Jesus is your Son, that He died on the cross for me and was resurrected for my redemption. I choose to make Jesus the Lord of my life. I thank you for forgiving me and for filling me with Your Holy Spirit. I thank You that I am Your child, that You are my Father, and that You have great things planned for me. Amen.