I recently had an interesting dream where I was in our auditorium preparing to preach on a Sunday morning but I quickly realized that I didn’t have any notes prepared. I thought “I guess I just have to go up there and flip the Bible open and preach from whatever passage it lands on.” So I went up to the pulpit, looked up at a full crowd in the church, then I opened my Bible and it fell to Luke 6:22-23 which says:
“Blessed are you when people hate you, when they exclude you and insult you and reject your name as evil, because of the Son of Man. “Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, because great is your reward in heaven. For that is how their ancestors treated the prophets.”
I immediately wanted to turn the pages to a different passage because that’s not always a pastor’s favorite scripture to preach from if you know what I mean. I even tried to physically turn the pages but for some reason I was unable to, the Holy Spirit wouldn’t let me. So the dream ended with me yielding to the Holy Spirit and boldly preaching the passage. The interpretation when I prayed was basically that even though I am doing what the Holy Spirit is leading me to do as the pastor of the church, not everybody is going to like it, and some will seek to attack me. But nevertheless, according to Jesus, being attacked for obeying God is a sign of His blessing.
We often like to define being blessed along the lines of having financial provision, a good marriage, good health, and all of the rest. And these things are a blessing. But we must also embrace the fact that obedience to God will always lead to opposition from the enemy. God wants us to view opposition from His perspective and not our own. He wants us to see it as a sign that we are His favored children.
1 Peter 4:14- “If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you.”
God wants us to have our minds renewed into understanding that the reason we are under attack is not because He isn’t blessing us, it’s because He IS blessing us! Sometimes the greatest blessing a person can receive is a battle that shapes them into a person who looks more like Jesus! The scripture makes it clear that facing attacks is a normal part of the Christian life, but the way we respond to it will determine how far we can go with God. Are we following the command of Luke 6:23 and leaping for joy when people attack us after we have obeyed the voice of the Lord? Or are we moping around in self pity resenting people and ultimately resenting God? When under attack we must choose to get better, not bitter.
Luke 6:26–28- “Woe to you, when all people speak well of you, for so their fathers did to the false prophets. “But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you.”
The approval of God is more important than the applause of people. When we live to make people like us or get people to applaud us we will always end up sinning against God in the process. This is because nobody can serve two masters. When we are submitted to God we will always be criticized by those who are convicted by the lifestyle we lead. The best thing that we can do is ask God to take the wrong people out of our life and put the right people in our life. Having people around you that are willing to correct you when you are wrong is wisdom and it will help you walk close to God, but if you surround yourself with people who only tell you how great you are then you can never fully grow into spiritual maturity.
Prayer for today: Father, thank you for using my battle to grow me into the person you want me to be. A person who looks more and more like Jesus every day. Help me to seek to please You above all else. Give me a hunger and thirst for righteousness instead of a craving for the applause of people. I ask you to renew my mind to see how you are using opposition to take me higher. Thank you that Your love is always enough. In Jesus name, amen.