We’ve probably all had people verbally attack or try to disqualify us. Those types of encounters can hurt deeply. If we give their words more weight than God’s, we can easily allow other people’s criticism to leave us feeling defeated. We might even feel tempted to withdraw roles and relationships.
Letting God’s Voice Speak Loudest
Guest Post by Grace Fox
Friends and family supported Sailor-Man and I when we prepared to move to Nepal to volunteer with a faith-based organization for three years. Everyone, that is, except one nay-sayer.
“You’re making a terrible mistake. You have no experience. You’re not qualified to serve overseas,” this person said.
I believe that the enemy of our souls hoped the criticism would cause us to question God’s calling and cast it aside. His ploy failed. We determined to follow the path God laid before us regardless of what others said. His voice alone mattered.
David Endured Criticism
David is one of my favorite Bible characters because he experienced many of the same things I’ve experienced. Dealing with criticism was one of those things.
On one occasion, David went to see several of his older brothers who were in the Israelite army and engaged in battle with the Philistines. That’s when he witnessed the nine-foot bully, Goliath, taunt the Israelite soldiers as he’d done twice a day for the past 40 days. As soon as the Israelites saw the giant, they ran away in fright.
When David offered to fight Goliath, his oldest brother levied criticism against him. “What are you doing around here anyway? What about those few sheep you’re supposed to be taking care of? I know about your pride and deceit. You just want to see the battle!” (1 Samuel 17:28 NLT)
When King Saul heard about David’s offer to fight Goliath, he said, “Don’t be ridiculous! There’s no way you can fight this Philistine and possibly win! You’re only a boy, and he’s been a man of war since his youth.” (1 Samuel 17:33 NLT)
When Goliath saw David approach him, he hurled insults and curses at the boy: “Am I a dog,” he roared at David, “that you come at me with a stick?” And he cursed David by the names of his gods. “Come over here, and I’ll give your flesh to the birds and wild animals!” Goliath yelled. (1 Samuel 17:43-44 NLT)
Perhaps the enemy of David’s soul hoped criticism would cause him to lose courage and run away in defeat. If so, his ploy failed. David wasted neither time nor energy trying to figure out a smart comeback. Instead, he chose to be unoffendable and to keep his focus on the truth—God’s voice alone mattered.
Let’s Respond Well
Friend, others will say unkind and undeserved things about us. They might question our integrity and calling. They might mock our God-given dreams, strengths, and passions. Rather than offering support to our Spirit-led endeavors, they say, “You’re making a terrible mistake. You have no experience. You’re not qualified.”
Let’s choose not to listen to those voices. Let’s not let criticism deter us from doing what God has called us to do. Let’s choose to be unoffendable to keep our focus on the truth—God’s voice alone matters.
Get to Know Grace Fox:
Grace Fox is a career missionary, the award-winning author of 13 books, and a popular Bible teacher at international women’s events. She’s also a member of the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA) and a member of the “First 5” Bible study writing team (Proverbs 31 Ministries). She lives on a sailboat near Vancouver, British Columbia.
Check out her latest release, Fresh Hope for Today: Devotions for Joy on the Journey:
Sometimes the road we travel feels lonely or too steep. Often, it winds through dark valleys, follows unfamiliar ways, and leaves us weary from the inside out. With warmth and wisdom, Grace Fox offers you ninety daily devotions to refresh your soul and lead you to a place of joy on the journey. Read and reflect on these gems; let their truth remind you of God’s presence and care. You don’t walk alone, my friend. Each day’s devotion offers a key Bible verse, insights on which to pause, an application question to ponder, and a sentence prayer. You’ll also find an encouraging quote from others who walked a difficult journey but discovered joy along the way.
Readers of these devotions are facing difficult circumstances and need spiritual encouragement in bite-sized pieces. Their greatest need is hope. They need reassurance that God’s love will never let them go. His presence will never leave them, and his strength will carry them through. Fresh Hope for Today addresses these needs as follows: Its overall message directs their minds to God’s character and promises. These bite-size bits of truth will feed their souls and give them the strength and encouragement needed for that day. Devotions are short enough to read and keep their focus even when their minds are on overload. All segments work together to make it easy for readers to recall truth. Relevant quotes reinforce the day’s teaching.
Fresh Hope for Today: Devotions for Joy on the Journey, is available wherever Christian books are sold. Purchase an autographed copy from her website. https://www.gracefox.com/books/fresh-hope-for-today-devotions-for-joy-on-the-journey/