Are you measuring yourself against unrealistic expectations? Do you constantly put yourself down about how you act, or what you say, on a daily basis? God doesn’t measure you the way you measure yourself. God sees us in spite of our pains, weaknesses, and shortcomings. God loves us and is for us. Today, we’re going to discover how God uses pain and how to start living life with meaning and value.
In Acts 18, the Bible tells us about Paul’s struggle in Corinth.
Corinth was a corrupt city, filled with worshipers of the goddess Aphrodite – a goddess who condoned sexual vices and temptations. Paul was surrounded by temple prostitutes serving a sinfully sexual and selfish society. Upon arriving there, Paul sought out some faithfully sound people; people Paul could rely on to follow God’s laws and keep him accountable, too.
The people you hang around have a huge impact on the way you want to live. Paul knew that, so he found two grounded people who could help him stay the course and encourage him when he felt down. If you feel like you’re in an impossible situation, friends are an amazing way to inspire and boost your confidence to continue to be a light for Christ.
Paul definitely needed his friends. He faced serious opposition from the Jews in Corinth.
Yet, Paul’s reaction to rejection in this circumstance can teach us how to handle our own rejections in life.
In Acts 18:5-6, the Bible says that Paul shook the dust from his clothes and moved on from the place where he was facing rejection. Why?
Sometimes, you have to let folks walk away. There were millions of people who hadn’t heard the gospel yet. Paul left the synagogue because he knew he’d done all he could there. We judge ourselves for leaving but it’s part of our responsibility to know when to move on. Paul also knew that he couldn’t force anyone to believe. He could only tell the truth.
Paul was just doing what the Old Testament had explained hundreds of years before…that Christians would face opposition, yet that they should not be discouraged because the important thing is to enlighten people, not get people to like them.
Christianity is not a popularity contest.
Paul was too afraid of God to pick the “feel good” messages…Instead, he knew his responsibility was to tell people the truth.
Paul knew that when you’re really doing something for the Lord, the opposition is just part of the job. You may not be convinced that the way you’re living is effective for His kingdom, yet, whenever you face negativity or attacks from the enemy, you’re doing something right for the Lord.
The kingdom of God was gaining momentum because Paul was able to reach more people after moving on. The rulers of the synagogue believed in Christ because of Paul’s preaching.
Paul was fighting depression and despair in the midst of this victory. God spoke to Paul’s area of need, saying, “Do not be afraid; keep on speaking, do not be silent. For I am with you, and no one is going to attack and harm you, because I have many people in this city.”
The Lord knew what was going on in Paul’s heart and spoke to Paul so that he’d be encouraged and not cut himself down. You can live the same way.
Too often, we succumb to the pressures we place on ourselves. I want you to remember that God doesn’t expect you to be perfect; God sees you for who He made you to be – not for who you want to be. In spite of your pains, weaknesses, and shortcomings, God loves you. Whenever you’re feeling down about a situation or circumstance, know that God is for you and that you’ve got His Word to guide your every step.
Living in Grace and Peace,
Dr. Derek Grier
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