Do you take things personally?
Oh, I bet you think I mean accusation. I do, but there’s another side.
Do you take
also personally? Both are equally dangerous. Accusation or flattery, if taken personally, sets you up for a fall, a roller-coaster life.
Because you have set aside faith in Christ. What Christ says about you is the final, ongoing and refreshing word. The Gospel is not only a past event—when the Holy Spirit converted you—but an ongoing refreshing stream of life-giving water to your soul (see Psalm 1:3). Your God-given faith is sustained solely by the Good News of Christ as Savior from all sin. God designed faith this way, as needing the external power source of the Gospel.
Paul argues this persuasively. “I have been crucified with Christ (a baptismal reference). It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me,’ (Gal. 2:20).
What Jesus did to you matters; He connected you through baptismal splashing to His Cross and Resurrection (Rom. 6:3-4).
Christ can’t be put aside; your eyes must be fixed solely on Jesus, for self-esteem. Turn your ears daily to the Father’s Word of blessing.
Criticism may indeed have merit, causing a self-reflection and often a needed repentance. Flattery should be taken as an opportunity to praise the One who works all good through His believers (Phil. 2:12-13). Criticism or flattery is not the final word for your worth.
Any goodness goes as credit to the Holy Spirit who’s worked it through the Word and the Sacraments. Any sin is yours and mine, and both are owned by Jesus. “But He was pierced for our transgressions…” (Is. 53:5).
The above was one of the many topics I learned last week at Doxology, a training to make me a better pastor.
Oh, one more thing I learned of the above: The Devil will use others to accuse you; it’s his game plan. God, however, uses these slanderous schemes to keep you humble, and trusting only in Jesus.
So, hear a brother’s or sister’s words; consider them kindly, not defensively.
Consider them only as one daily immersed in the blood of Christ.
Pastor Golter is Trinity's Senior Pastor