Jesus said in John 14:25, “…The Counselor, the Holy Spirit, Whom the Father will send in My name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you” (NIV). 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 that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” (Isaiah 40:41 KJV).
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 in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28 NIV).
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, keep in mind that it hated Me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen out of the world. That is why the world hates you. Remember the words I spoke to you: ‘No servant is greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed My teaching, they will obey yours also. They will treat you this way because of My name, for they do not know the One Who sent Me….. He who hates Me hates My Father as well” (John 15:18-21, 23 NIV).
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 (whether 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 tutors us, under the control of the Holy Spirit, to evaluate 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 praise from men more than praise 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 of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be My disciple” (Luke 14:33b).
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 tell you who hear Me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you…. If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even ‘sinners’ love those who love them…. But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, because He is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful…. Forgive, and you will be forgiven” (Luke 6:27-28, 32, 35-36, 37b).
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, “do not fret because of evil men or be envious of those who do wrong; for like the grass they will soon wither, like green plants they will soon die away. Trust in the LORD and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture. 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 do this: He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn, the justice of your cause like the noonday sun” (Psalm 37:1-6 NIV).