Has your walk with God, brought condemnation by the crowd around you that is walking in the opposite direction? Have you asked God to move you away from the mockers and scorners that ridicule your walk? I know I sure did.
I remember when the Holy Spirit caught my eye and radically changed my heart. It was hard on my friends at the time, because my direction took a one-eighty-degree turn overnight. I began disengaging from my old patterns of bad behavior that everyone expected from me and it happened quickly.
I stopped organizing all the parties and the work gatherings that led us off the plank to disaster. Instead, I started sitting alone at lunch and reading my Bible in the car. I helped organize a Bible Study at work. I
began to use my gathering and organizational skills for God as many looked on in disbelief. I don’t blame them for the looks I got back then; it was hard for me to understand at first. But when the Holy Spirit comes and says “Times Up!” you either change or you go up in flames. I had teetered long enough on the edge of flames!
One day, a holy boldness came over me, and I brought my Bible in from the car and began reading it at my desk. At the time I sat in the middle of 300 employees, who were used to seeing me read anything BUT the Bible. The minute I opened it, one of my workmates screamed at the top of her lungs, “Are you really reading a Bible in here? You are kidding me right?” I instantly began praying that God would just rapture me ahead of time. He chose not to.
Those early days were rough. You have heard me refer to them as the “rock tumbler” years. Tons of flesh had to be removed, so I could climb out of that pit. My prayers back then focused on questions like, ‘How long do I have to work here, looking at all these people that saw the mess I had made in my life? Lord, I’m changed now, can I move on? Or better yet, Can you move THEM out so I don’t have to be reminded every day?”
Funny thing is I really believed God would do that. Guess what? He didn’t! I had 3.5 years of character testing, while everyone waited for my fall. Once I figured out this was about the refiner’s fire, I stopped arguing with God and trying to defend myself. Instead, I kept silent, and asked God to defend me. I read how Jesus was criticized and chose to just go about doing good.
I began to use my time praying for people who were oppressed by the devil and actually got some of them through deliverance. I found new friends at work that were believers. I started to really aggravate the enemy, and he amped up his assault because he wanted to get me all wrapped up in the criticism, in order to gain a foothold in my life and cause me to quit. I prayed for God to silence the ignorance of foolish men (1Peter 2:15) that were being used by the enemy to discourage me.
When God finally released me from my job, I didn’t want to go! I had changed, work was good, and I was respected as a believer. As soon as I was comfortable, he moved me into another season of testing. I had to fight mourning the loss of my job that I had once prayed to end.
I learned, the sooner you submit yourself to the hand of God, and accept your current circumstances with joy, the sooner the devil will flee! God has a plan and a purpose for your life. Smile and pray for those who mock you, bless those who curse you. Your promotion to the next level depends on it.