Choosing the Right Mate (Sacred Sex Series Part VI) 

  

  

Morning Devotion: God loves to pair people for mutual blessing and a catapulting of destiny. A look at Godly connections for marriage. 

Marriage is more than sex and fun, it’s a Kingdom partnership to help establish God’s Kingdom on earth. 

When people look for a car or to buy a house, they do some research. Most homebuyers do a home inspection. Car buyers may get a Carfax report. They examine the condition of the inside. Yet when people are thinking about marriage or even friendship, there can be minimal to no research on the character or inner workings of a person. There may be an assessment of 1. Do we have fun? 2. Do I like this person? 3. Am I attracted to what is on the outside? 

Here are some problems with ignoring what’s inside. 

1. When storms come and they do, pretty/handsome and fun mean nothing. Beauty fades. What happens if your significant other is injured, their beauty taken away, and you have to care for them. A shallow person may jump ship, abandon, or leave you hanging. Why? Challenges and storms are not fun. To be in a place to care for someone who can do nothing for you is not fun to the flesh. 

What happens if that person can no longer meet your physical needs? Will you abandon them to get your needs met someplace else. Covenant says, “For better or worse, in sickness and in health, I am going to love you and stand by you.” 

Our culture focuses so much on chemistry, sex, fun, and the flesh. I am so not against those things. Yet if they are the foundation, they are a very shaky foundation. 

The married couples I know who lasted 40-55 years focused on friendship, learning to love, forgiveness, compromise, and doing what was best for the other person. They sought to honor God through their interactions with the other person. Even when they did not like the other person, they chose love. 

Does the person you are interested in demonstrate noble character and unselfish love? Do they exhibit faithfulness? Are they loyal? How do they treat people who can do nothing for them? How do they love God? How do they handle finances? How do they spend their free time? How do they feel about themselves? 

If they are unloving, unkind to other people and loving to you, that is a red flag. If they only connect with God for what they can get, they will do the same to you. If they are unfaithful in other areas of their life, that’s something to investigate. 

The flesh will easily go along with what it thinks will please it. Flesh does not do so well when it is challenged, there is pain, delayed gratification, or challenges. The flesh tries to avoid pain or challenges. You will be surprised how many divorces or infidelity happen after a major sickness, trauma, or tragedy in a marriage. 

2. After all the hormones subside and the flesh is gratified, you are left to live with their character. 

When we first meet someone and we like them, hormones are high. If there is chemistry it makes a person feel on top of the world. The hormone high does not last. Scientists have studied the hormones involved in attraction. After a year, the intense high starts to lower. After 7 years your body becomes accustomed to them. Hence the phrase “The 7 year itch.” Then if you do not have real love, many jump ship for what’s new. The first year, after the 7th year, after kids, and after kids leave the nest are markers for marriage. If you only have lust and fun, your building will not stand. 

3. Destiny is not examined. 

Every person has a divine purpose for being born. Some seek God for destiny, some choose their own. Yet examining a potential life partner just for what’s outside and fun can lead to a wrong choice. 

Example (names changed): 

Lisa and John met. John loved her beauty and love for Jesus. Lisa married John. Lisa always felt called to teach and impact the world through teaching children. John after several years of marriage makes Lisa quit teaching school and stay home. They have over a half dozen children and it leads her to have a total mental breakdown. She recovers, yet feels her dreams are not even considered. They are not considered. John is about building his Kingdom. Lisa is there to serve him. She can do nothing without John’s approval. Lisa eventually dies. She was happy to die, she was tired of being drug around by her husband. 

Some may say this was a good marriage. I disagree. God looks to advance and enhance our destiny, not diminish our destiny. Lisa wanted to teach. She taught John many things. He, however, felt men are the only ones to work. He also felt headship meant boss instead of support/servant/the one who sacrifices the most. He modeled worldly dictatorship not the Christlike love of Jesus that seeks to elevate, sacrificially serve, empower. 

I believe Jesus would have empowered Lisa to teach, cheer for her dream, support her, and be her greatest support. Head also means source or support. Yet many use head to mean dictator, boss, parent. Jesus did (does) not model dictatorship. He modeled support, a source of life/encouragement, and sacrificial love. Jesus never tries to kill my dreams to benefit himself. Why? Jesus is not selfish nor insecure. 

I have had people try to push me into marrying a certain person, yet I know part of my destiny. When I was quite young God told me why I was born, some of the countries I would travel to, and my purpose. He has confirmed His words through many people and it matches my heart desires. When men come wanting to diminish who God says I am or negate what He told me to do, I say no. Why? A man is not more important than God. 

Any person who wants to diminish who you are is insecure and insecure people make relationships challenging and in many cases toxic or one sided. Insecurity is self focused, “What about me? Me! Me! Me!“. It’s fruits are jealousy, constantly needing affirmation/validation, easily offended, suspicion, selfishness, rejection/self rejection, emotional instability and can cause abuse (verbal, physical, or sexual). 

How can two be joined together lest they agree? I know part of my destiny involves global missions and actually going into other countries to share the Gospel, part of my destiny involves evangelism/teaching/and doing what Jesus did. 

Men who think women can not do those things is not for me. Men who believe women were only created to be their slaves and sex partners are not for me. Men who care nothing about who I am and focus only on their fleshly attraction are not for me. Men who do not truly love God and seek to honor Him are not for me. Men who are grossly selfish and do not care about the poor are not for me. My life is centered around a passionate love for God and intimacy with Him. My ministry in the world is seeking to heal, feed, deliver the oppressed, least, last, lost. 

May all the singles spend time with God when choosing a life partner. It is a more important decision than buying a car or house. Everything that glitters is not God. The flesh will say, “Pick the fun, super attractive one.” The Spirit will say, “Pay attention to their character. What will you build together?” 

May singles look with eyes of the Spirit. This person will either draw you closer to God and help catapult your destiny or diminish it. 

Enjoy Your Season (Relationship Series)

  
I have learned how to be content with whatever I have,~Phil 4:11 (Apostle Paul)

There’s beauty in contentment. It’s the ability to express gratitude in the moment, in the season. It’s a choice to look at what God is doing, what God has done, and find joy in Him alone. 

I’ve met so many people on my walk with God who are waiting for something to happen to enjoy life. If only I could, “Have a boyfriend or girlfriend.” If only I could, “Get married or have children.” If only I could, “Have a best friend or tons of friends to do things with, then I’d be happy.” 

The problem with this type of thinking is it negates that every blessing brings a new set of challenges. Adding people to our lives reduces the amount of free time we have. We have a new level of sacrifice that is required if we want to be good, quality friends and not deadbeats. We have to learn the other person’s strengths and weaknesses. 

The movies often do a poor job of expressing the reality of real relationships. They don’t show the seasons, the learning, the growing, the akwardness, the suffering, disappointment, or sorrow. What is painted is non stop Magical Kingdom. Who doesn’t love adventure, fun, good times all the time? The reality is anything worth having takes effort. 

Healthy relationships are also based on two people having their own lives and identies. Unhealthy relationships are codependent. When relationships are used as a means to find identity and happiness it leads to heartache. 

I’ve had long term relationships. My happiness did not come from that person. It came from God. So when God let me know that relationship wasn’t headed in the right direction I could step away and still live a fulfilled, joyful life. 

People don’t complete us, God does. Any source of identity or fix for contentment outside God leads to pain. People are not God. God never intended for others to fulfill us. 

Contentment in God is the best place. God does not change. God is stable. God’s love and affection is not wavering. He doesn’t love one minute and then withhold love another. God’s love isn’t shallow, based on our appearance or what we can do for Him. God’s love isn’t selfish. He’s not simply looking out for Himself. God’s love isn’t based on merit, it’s independent of our behavior. 

An identity rooted in Christ is rock solid. An identity rooted in relationships with people is like the shifting sands. It can fade away. Spouses can pass away, children too. Friends can come and go. Dating or courtships can end. No one can separate us from God’s love. 

Joy rooted in God grows with relationship and abiding in Him. Joy rooted in what’s happening is simply happiness and can be taken away or shifted based on circumstances. 

Contentment rooted in who God is lasts for eternity. 

I’m unmarried…so I continually give thanks for the following. 

  • God’s unfailing love and friendship. 
  • As much time as I want with God.
  • The ability to truly invest in people’s lives without distractions. 
  • The ability to be present without wondering what a spouse or children need. 
  • Sleep and rest.
  • Traveling wherever I want to go, whenever I want to go. 
  • The ability to be involved in and lead multiple ministries. 
  • Time with my family that’s undivided-there’s one not two families to keep up with.
  • Serving others by opening my home, giving of my time. 
  • A clean house. 
  • Money to bless others in need. The ability to sow into others without checking in with someone. 
  • Peace. 
  • Quiet. 
  • The ability to work and go to school.
  • Learning more of who I am in Christ and my individual destiny with God. 
  • Feeling loved and cherished every day by God. 
  • Being under God’s authority which is always used to love and protect, not out of selfishness or control. 
  • Being loved for who I am not what I have to offer or my physical appearance. 
  • Growing in Godly confidence and wisdom.
  • Writing and lots of time to write/create. 
  • Adventures with God and friends.
  • Building a business with God. 
  • Time alone with Holy Spirit to be taught by Him.
  • Having my heart, mind, body protected.

I also give thanks for the basics: food, water, shelter, and clean clothing. I give thanks for everything! God is good all the time. In every single season, God is good. 

Whether you are married or single, theres something to be thankful for and contentment can be found in God. I encourage everyone to make a list of things they are thankful for and thank God. 

God bless you! 

Erin Lamb 

The Idol of Serving God (Worship Series Part 8)

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You might think this post is strange. Aren’t we supposed to serve God? Yes we are! Like anything in this world it can become an idol or source of identity.

The picture at the top of this post was my status for today. Many people don’t realize I’m internally motivated. I’m not driven to do things based on outside influence. God has helped my heart for serving Him to remain pure by placing me to serve where there’s been no love, honor, reciprocation, appreciation, or validation. I’m not talking short seasons either. I’m talking years. And sometimes love was met with persecution. What I learned is that God never wanted serving to be an idol or source of identity. I love loving on people and blessing them. Love, love, love! However, service met with opposition or apathy forces us to rely fully on God for identity. If my motives for serving were to be loved by people, I would’ve stopped when they didn’t reciprocate or even say thanks.

God is interested in our hearts, why we do what we do. Is it out of love or fear or selfishness?

My life is about loving God and knowing Him. Our relationship isn’t built only on serving… It’s Father to daughter. It’s love. Out of relationship flows service. I don’t serve to gain relationship or love. I worship God, not what I can do for Him or others. Often we are just hanging out together, talking, and listening. I journal what He speaks. He’s my Father. Being with Him is more important than doing for Him. Though being with Him causes me to grow to love people more and to serve.

Our true identity is child of God. It’s not about the other titles that come along with serving God. God doesn’t love a pastor more than a lay member. They may have different things they do for God, yet the love He has for them is the same.

Truth : there’s nothing you can do to make God love you more or less.

You can serve all day every day and not earn more love.

Not only is love not earned, neither is righteousness.

We are not to serve to gain the applause of people or to win their love or approval, that’s a selfish motive.

Our service to God and others is a response to His great love for us. If we are serving Him to try to win His love or approval it’s pointless. Approval is given through relationship with Jesus Christ. He’s the only way we obtain righteousness (right standing with God).

Does this mean we don’t have to serve God or others? Does this mean we only serve when we feel loving towards God or people? No.

Obedience is better than sacrifice. If God calls us to do something we submit to His Lordship. Love is not simply a feeling, it’s also a choice.

We don’t make serving our source of identity, security, a means to feel good about ourselves, or for selfish gain.

Sweet friends, it’s great to serve. Yet God invites us into His family. We are no longer slaves, but friends. He’s not bossing us around. He invites us to know Him, to love Him, and to enjoy Him! May God alone be the center of our worship. He’s worthy. May our satisfaction be in Him, not what we do for Him. May being with Him be the highest priority!

Love in Christ,

Erin

Jesus in You!

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The purpose of being a follower of Jesus isn’t to become filled with head knowledge and have no application. Jesus intended for us to step into our identity and live it out. It’s a tricky road when you start talking about living like Jesus. The WWJD bracelets and mantra “what would Jesus do?” can be a catalyst for legalism. It’s not a bad thing to think about what Jesus would do, however, if I begin to rely on my efforts to be like Jesus there lies the problem. We are saved by faith and it’s dangerous to rely on ourselves. It fuels a belief that if I keep the rules, then I will be like Jesus. The truth is the Holy Spirit in us enables us to live like Jesus. You take Him out of the equation and you have modern day Pharisees; keeping the law without abiding in a Savior.

Let’s read what Jesus had to say in John 14:9-21. We pick up where Thomas asked Jesus where He is going and Phillip asked to see the Father. Jesus told the disciples He was going away (speaking of His death and resurrection). I recommend reading and studying the entire chapter.

Jesus answered: “Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you I do not speak on my own authority. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work. Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the works themselves. Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.

Jesus Promises the Holy Spirit

“If you love me, keep my commands. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever—the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.”

There are people who try to be like Jesus without the Holy Spirit, by human will. It’s like trying to drive a car without the engine. You can have the manual and a map (God’s Word), but without the engine (the Holy Spirit) you won’t get very far. If we could do what God said without Him, we would have no need for a Savior. We need His Spirit to live a holy life and to fully understand His Word (the Bible). There are people using the Bible as a tool to destroy others because the revelation is not filtered through the Holy Spirit. The Bible can help or hurt depending on who is using it. The devil used scripture when he tempted Jesus in the wilderness (Matt 4).

Identity before activity:

God comes to change our identity. He doesn’t enter our lives to make us better people who can keep the rules. He comes to crucify the old man and resurrect us into a new creation (Romans 6:6). We cannot live like Jesus without accepting Him as Savior. Yes, we may have some good traits, but only God in us can fully imitate Jesus. It’s His power in us transforming us from the inside out. Being (Identity in Christ) leads to doing (Living like Jesus). If you get them out of order, it leads to self reliance instead of God reliance.

Doing what God says:

Obedience is never optional for the believer. God doesn’t give us a pass that says, “Pick what you want to do, and l give you permission to ditch what you don’t like.” God gives us His Spirit so our desires change, our nature is transformed (sanctification), and we are empowered to do His will. Yes, even with the Holy Spirit living in us we will find there are things God tells us to do that we don’t want to do. In those moments, we are able to cry out to Jesus for help. God responds to our cries for help. He forgives us when we repent. He cleanses us from our sins. He empowers us to turn from sin.

Help, I’m not acting or living like Jesus:

God doesn’t love us based on our behavior. He is love, and God’s love is unconditional. No one expects a toddler to drive a car. God knows our hearts, our maturity level, our weaknesses, and how to grow us up in Him. Life with Him isn’t supposed to performance based. The Bible is filled with people who have failed. I’ve failed at many things, and I’m sure you have to. We are humans relying on an amazing God. God longs to help us live like Him, not demand we imitate Him without His help. He wants to live through us! He asks us to seek Him first; receive His love, wisdom, insight, peace and power! He gave us His Spirit! The most powerful Being in the Universe resides in born again believers. Our role is to let God live through us.

Next time we will take about the ways the Holy Spirit operates through us…

Prayer:

Father, help us to rely on You and not ourselves. Help us to allow the Holy Spirit to live in us and through us. Help us to cease performing, relying on our efforts or human intellect, and help us to abide in You! May we seek first Your face. May those who encounter us, encounter Jesus! Thank you for our new life in You. Amen.

Comparison (Killing Insecurity Part 14)

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Comparison fuels insecurity. It’s easy to look at other people’s lives and compare what you see to the reality of your own life. Like the quote states above, We compare our behind the scenes to other people’s highlight reel.”

The problem comes when self esteem is tied to comparison with other people.

Comparison can lead to putting others down to feel better about ourselves, feelings of inferiority, or even wanting what other people have (coveting or envying).

What are we comparing?

There is not only the comparison of possessions, qualities, looks, or status. We as humans also compare sins. Have you ever looked at someone and said, “At least I’m not as bad as that person, or that person seems so spiritual, connected to God and I am not?

What does the Bible say about comparison, judging, and wanting what others have…

You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male or female servant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor,”~Exodus 20:17.

What does it mean to covet?
1.yearn to possess or have (something).

synonyms: desire, yearn for, crave, have one’s heart set on, want, wish for, long for, hanker after/for, hunger after/for, thirst for more.

Do not judge so that you will not be judged. For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you. Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?~Matthew 7:1-3.

Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma,~Ephesians 5:1-2.

It’s okay to admire qualities we see in others. However, scripture tells us to be imitators of Christ.

Last post I talked about allowing Christ to live in us. Jesus is our model. Any good we see in people comes from Him. Any blessings or spiritual gifts we see in people’s lives, we can admire and praise God. Every good and perfect gift comes from Him. Also what He does for one, He will do for another.

Why do we compare ourselves to others?

We don’t realize how valuable, special, and unique we are.

God loves you friends. Every person has a special purpose and set of gifts given by God. God longs to give us good things. He withholds nothing good. So, the greatest thing we can do is seek God for identity.

Comparison normally does not lead to anything good. Everyone has problems, troubles, struggles, and only God is perfect! And He is crazy about you! He delights in who He made, you! He has great plans for you.

Handling Rejection (Killing Insecurity Part 6)

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God chose us in Him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in His sight. In love He  predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with His pleasure and will—to the praise of His glorious grace, which He has freely given us in the One He loves, Ephesians 1:4-6.

Rejection is something we all have to deal with in life. I have not met a person untouched by rejection. God deals with rejection daily, and I can assure you it does not feel good on His end either. He’s not destroyed by rejection, but it does touch His heart. Read about His relationship with the Isrealites. The old testament is filled with stories of God’s chosen people rejecting Him, building idols to worship instead of Him, complaining about Him, and walking away from Him. God knows intimately what it feels like to be rejected. He is rejected every day, all day. Many love Him, and many refuse Him.

In our own lives rejection comes in many forms. You apply for a job, they say “No.” You try to make a new friend, the person seems uninterested. You may have even put your heart out on the line only to have to other person say, “Not interested.” Your family may reject you. Your peers may reject you.

Rejection hurts. There are no cute quotes that make it feel better. It hurts. It hurts us to be rejected because as the picture shows above we often view rejection as the opposite of approval. Our minds may think, “This company did not approve of me. I was not good enough, my product/art/manuscript/design/ (fill in whatever you want) was not good enough, this person did not or does not want me. I am not valuable…” Or the response may be, “They don’t know what they are missing, I am awesome and they just can’t see it!Misplaced value makes rejection hurt so much more.

Here’s Key Number 1:

It is NOT always about you! God allows people to make choices. For the most part, people do what’s best for themselves. They are not thinking about you, your feelings, your heart, your ego. Most human beings assess a situation and say, “Will this benefit me? Is this good for me? Is this what I want? Is this what I need?” If the answer to those questions is no, guess what? You may be rejected.

The company that says no, isn’t always rejecting you as a person. You may not fit what they need or have not represented that you do fit what they need. The person who does not want to be your friend, may not have room for more friends or time for more friends or feel compatible with you. They may be going through a rough spot in life and can’t handle more relationships. The person who doesn’t want to date you or marry you, thank GOD they rejected you. Though it hurts up front, it’s so much better than a lifetime of hellish experiences with someone who doesn’t love or want you. To sum it up…it’s not always about you or me. People approve of what best suits themselves. I don’t know many people who sign up for relationships where they see no self benefit, employees that don’t fit what they need or want, or a mate who they cannot benefit from. Human are born self-focused and self-centered.

Here’s Key Number 2:

If you are in Christ, you are already approved of. Your value and worth does not come from what people say, think, feel about you, or how they treat you. God cannot lie. He calls you chosen, loved, and His beloved. It’s not about man’s opinions, it’s about God’s opinions. He determines where everyone will spend eternity.

If our worth is tied up in people’s approval we will never have joy. We will be destroyed by their criticism and rejection. Jesus was hated by people, yet completely approved of by the Father. We live from an already approved of state. So when rejection comes, we cling to our true identity and sense of worth in Christ.

Here’s Key Number 3:

God may be protecting you or have something better up the road. You’ve heard the phrase, “Rejection is God’s protection or redirection.” I agree that sometimes it is. There have been many situations in my own life where a door shut and I didn’t find out why until years later. I was SO thankful for God’s no.

God loves you. He will not give you anything or anyone that will destroy you or your relationship with Him. He also loves to bless His children. So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good gifts to those who ask Him, Matthew 7:11.

Final Thoughts:

Rejection will come. I’d love to tell you that everyone will love and adore you. The truth is, in this sinful world, that is not going to happen. Rejection can cause insecurity or it can be used as a tool. Sometimes we are rejected because we need to learn. Maybe that company needed someone with more experience or a particular skill set. Maybe our approach of people causes  them away to shy away. I don’t recommend too much introspection, as it can be dangerous. 🙂 I do recommend resting in an identity in Christ, finding worth in who God says we are, and if possible learning something from the experiences. Next post I will give you some examples from my own life and how God helped me navigate through them. You are and will always be DEEPLY loved!

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Surviving the Critics (Killing Insecurity Part 5)

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Fearing people is a dangerous trap, but trusting the LORD means safety,~Proverbs 29:25

One of the reasons people struggle with insecurity is due to being surrounded by critical people. God doesn’t want us to be insecure. The problem comes when you are bombarded with real life experiences with people who are curt with their tongue, critical, and some even abusive.  Here are some things I have learned along the way.

1. The way a person treats you or talks to you is a reflection of their heart.

It has nothing to do with you. You may be the target of the day or week, but the Bible says the mouth speaks what the heart is full of (Matthew 12:34). Someone who is rude or cruel to you is most likely rude or cruel to other people. We give what we possess. If there is no love or compassion in a person, they can not give it to you.

2. Insecure people are easily offended and often the greatest offenders.

When we are insecure with who we are, we put other people down.  When we love who we are, we  build others up. I had an old acquaintance who was constantly making fun of other people, one day as a side experiment I begin to lovingly tease her about something (not mean, cruel, or embarrassing,… just teasing). She became extremely offended and stormed off. She had spent the entire night making fun of others, but she couldn’t handle it being dished back. I don’t recommend my little experiment. I was at the time very annoyed she was picking on people. The right response would have been to pull her aside or ignore her. I mind less people picking on me, than to see them picking on other people, especially for things they can’t help (ie. being bald, or their ethnicity, etc…).

3. The criticism hurts the most where you are the most insecure.

If we are secure in Christ and confident, then the criticism doesn’t bother us as much. I had a secretary who was very critical. She would call me bald (though I have long, thick hair) or she’d call me pale, old, or critique my clothing. None of her comments bothered me.

I have found the hardest criticism to get over has come from being involved in ministry, mainly because I am young and learning along the way. Leaders are expected to be perfect, and I am not. Only God is perfect. You expect (though may not be a good idea) for Christians to be loving, encouraging (like God), helpful, supportive, to speak the truth in love (for redemptive purposes), and to want to see you be the best for Jesus. I’ve found there are people in church who will hate you without cause, speak negative words over your life, gossip about you, criticize your every move, question your motives, feel free to give you their opinions on who you should be, how you should live, etc…it takes thick skin to be involved in ministry and even Christian community. If you are not firmly secure in Christ, you will be destroyed by people.

So what do you do with the critics when they come?

  • Respond in love. It’s easy to retaliate and say, “Oh, you want to tell me about me. Let me tell you about you.” Don’t go there. Take the high road if you can. Sometimes you have to say to people, “You are being rude and disrespectful. When you can talk to me in an appropriate tone, then we can talk. ” Or ask them what the real problem is. Hurting people go around hurting other people. Though not easy, you don’t have to defend yourself. I had a lady from a church curse me out in a public restaurant, and I did not respond at all. I continued to walk in grace and love. That was hard, because I don’t like being called names and normally I would’ve defended myself. However, God is my defense. He’s yours too! Here’s a quote I love, “It’s not what people call you, it’s what you answer to that matters.” A gift is only yours if you take it. So let people keep their hatefulness. It doesn’t belong to you.
  • Measure what they say against God’s word and character. God speaks life. Even His correction is to lead to redemption, restoration, and to help us. Is the word leading you to a closer walk with Jesus? Is the feedback something you’d imagine God giving you? Do you leave the situation feeling like there’s hope or do you feel hopeless?
  • Take the criticism to God.  God sees the deepest parts of our hearts. He’s the best person to talk to about the criticism or negative words. “God is this true of me? If so help me.”  Whatever He says to throw in the garbage, pitch it!

I will say that there are constructive and helpful assessments that we should be open to. If you are headed off a cliff and someone yells, “Don’t jump, this isn’t a good decision,” it’s because they love you. Sometimes people get offended when they need corrected and someone genuinely tries to help them. We must be open to people providing feedback, but also take that feedback to God and measure it against His word. Feedback when it’s done right, helps us grow.

Don’t let people define who you are, God defines who you are. What He says about you is absolutely true! May we find our identity in Christ. It is the only secure identity and source of true confidence.

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