Moving Forward in the Face of Criticism
For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ. Galatians 1:10
Before I became an author, I realized I’d been waiting for someone to encourage me to write a book. I thought if another, more successful writer validated me, then I could start moving toward the dream that God had placed in my heart. Deep down I didn’t want to look foolish and I feared the criticism of others.
One day as I browsed the bookstore for inspiration from an accomplished writer, I sensed that still quiet voice I had heard so many times speak to my heart: “Why are you looking for a leader outside yourself? Write what I have given you.”
No matter who you are, or what you want to accomplish, the only leader you need to move toward your purpose is the Holy Spirit.
“If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31).
Even Jesus knew when to ignore naysayers who wanted to prevent Him from accomplishing God’s plan for His life. In Luke 4:30, those in His hometown became furious when He said He was sent by God. To destroy Him, they drove Him out of town to the top of a hill so they could throw Him over a cliff. What did Jesus do? He walked through the crowd and went on His way.
Because He knew who He was and who His Father was, He decided He would fulfill His purpose, even if no one but His Father agreed.
Sometimes the best way to move on to God’s plan for you is to ignore negative evaluations and comments and, just like Jesus, go merrily on our way.
Can you imagine what Christ’s life on earth would have been like if He had been self-protective and feared criticism?
He would have kept His mouth shut when He was falsely accused. He would have defended Himself. When His enemies spit in His face, He would have retaliated. When they called Him names, He would have called down a legion of angels to defend Him. When they marched Him to Golgatha, He would have run. And rather than laying down His life to give His all to those He loved, the redemption of the human race would have been lost in His misguided passion of self-protection and the fear of criticism.
When we fear criticism and are overly self-protective, we can miss out on being a gift to others. You see, what God wants you to accomplish is not just about you; it’s about many people that God wants to influence and help through you. Ask the Lord to give you the strength you need to move forward in faith in the face of criticism. And remember, you are living your life for the approval of just One.
“But Peter and the apostles answered, ‘We must obey God rather than men’” (Acts 5:29).
Prayer: Lord, thank you that you will enable me to do what you have called me to and that I don’t need to fear the criticism of others. Amen.
Application: Write one phrase that stood out to you from today’s devotional and place it somewhere you can focus on it each day this week.
Related Readings: Daniel 3:18; Exodus 1:17; 1 Timothy 2:3