Jesus said in John 14:26, “…the Helper, the Holy Spirit, Whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you” (ESV). In the classroom of life, the Holy Spirit assigns to us different seasons with different “tutors”. The tutor called “Waiting”, for example, is used to teach us patience, as we sometimes are required to do nothing but wait on something or someone. Standing in line at the cashier’s register, sitting long minutes in a doctor’s office, or watching the mailbox for a long-expected check to arrive, all allow us to exercise the discipline of resting though surrounded by a world that strives. “But they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint” (Isaiah 40:31 ESV).
Another tutor known as “Uncertain Circumstances” instructs us in the matter of trust and faith in God. How fortunate for us that our heavenly Father allows such circumstances into our lives so that we may trust Him indeed. A life of faith isn’t much of one if such faith is never allowed to surface and develop in our experience. Since we know that “without faith it is impossible to please God” (see Hebrews 11:6), let us rejoice in our opportunities to have occasions to please Him through an active and vital faith that grows as we learn that there really are no such things as “Uncertain Circumstances” for a child of God: the one who walks hand-in hand with God, has solid ground to tread upon and sure footing for his journey though fogs and mists may veil the path. “We know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28 ESV).
The tutor known as “Loss” teaches us appreciation for our blessings, particularly when our losses are weighed against the things we gain as the children of God. And if that isn’t enough, Loss has a “sister” called “Grief” who provides us with the curriculum by which we most profoundly learn “joy”… inasmuch as Grief provides for us a context for celebration: we most pointedly know what it means to have something or someone special in our lives when we’ve known the piercing sorrow of losing something special to us.
One instructor with which nearly all of God’s children are met at some point in their lives is the one called “Rejection”. To Rejection is given the assignment of radical transformation of our faith. His is a comprehensive course that covers such deep subjects as “Heavenly Sociology”, “Foundational Priorities”, and “The Chemistry of Forgiveness”.
In Heavenly Sociology, Rejection takes God’s Word, the Bible, and puts our lives into perspective, bringing to light the social dynamics of the kingdom. God is Lord over all the universe, including my tiny corner of it. Rejection teaches us that, as we are carefully and faithfully abiding in close union with God through Christ, that it is God that our world rebels against. It isn’t about me. When someone reacts against my life’s testimony and even seeks to harm me, I’m not really the target: it is God they are reacting against (directly and indirectly). “It is not you they have rejected, but they have rejected Me, my child,” (adapted from 1 Samuel 8:7).
“If the world hates you, know that it has hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you. If they kept My word, they will also keep yours. But all these things they will do to you on account of My name, because they do not know Him Who sent m….. Whoever hates Me hates my Father also” (John 15:18-21, 23 ESV).
Rejection provides us a lab experience for seeing up close the cosmic battle being waged here on earth: that of the human will set against the mercy and might of God. An attack upon me isn’t really upon me; it’s upon God. As a child of God who seeks to walk closely with Him, you also will find yourself sometimes attacked (perhaps verbally, emotionally, or even physically). But it isn’t about you. Don’t take it personally. God is the One that the world is rejecting.
Through “Foundational Priorities”, Rejection examines, under the control of the Holy Spirit, why we follow Christ in the first place. Do we follow Him for the acclaim of others? Rejection either transforms our motives as we persevere in following Him or it weeds us out should we choose to be like those mentioned in John 12:43 who, “loved the glory (or praise) that comes from man more than the glory that comes from God.”
Rejection sifts our motives and causes us to ask the question in our walk with Jesus, “Is this new life in Christ really worth it? Am I really willing to give up caring about what others think of me and risk the approval of others in order to please God?”
Consider that this is a tremendous opportunity for a genuine act of worship in your life. Because “worship” is all about the “worth-ship” of the One being worshiped, daring to sacrifice your consideration of the approval of others can be a fragrant offering indeed. The esteem of God chosen over the esteem of other men and women may be seen as radicalism, but in the spiritual realm, it is the only logical conclusion one can really reach when weighing his or her priorities in life.
“…Any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be My disciple” (Luke 14:33).
Finally, the tutelage of Rejection is used by the Holy Spirit to cause a “chemical reaction” in the spiritual realm in us who have placed our faith in Christ Jesus to become the recipients of unbelievable forgiveness, the fruit of truly “amazing grace”.
“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…. If you love those who love you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them…. But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for He is kind to the ungrateful and the evil. Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful…. forgive, and you will be forgiven” (Luke 6:27-28, 32, 35-36, 37b ESV).
Once we’ve been set free from condemnation by God through His forgiveness, Rejection in our experience allows the dynamic of forgiveness to attack the strongholds of condemnation in other people’s lives as well, and shed the glow of hope into the dark dungeon of despair that unforgiveness, bitterness, and anger would otherwise build for them.
Essentially, Rejection in your life provides you a door by which you may enter into a deeper and more meaningful walk with God while simultaneously allowing the Gospel of Christ to be lifted up for others to behold and also receive.
So in light of all this, “fret not yourself because of evildoers; be not envious of wrongdoers! For they will soon fade like the grass and wither like the green herb. Trust in the LORD, and do good; dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness. Delight yourself in the LORD, and He will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the LORD; trust in Him, and He will act. He will bring forth your righteousness as the light, and your justice as the noonday” (Psalm 37:1-6 ESV).