I went out yesterday as faced much rejection. Here is a snippet of what led me to struggle with discouragement: 1) tried talking to a man who didn’t me; 2) Vietnamese man – was willing to chat with me briefly, but NOT about Jesus; he was Buddhist and there was a bit of a language barrier; 3) next guy – didn’t want to talk; 4) a lady – didn’t want to talk; 5) then a Hindu lady – didn’t want to talk. That’s just 5 in row! It shouldn’t be a big deal (the apostles were beaten! – Acts 5:40-41) … but I must confess, it can be quite discouraging if I am not delighting in the Gospel and labouring in the fullness of faith … and I wasn’t … I was trying … but struggling.
But God, by His grace, though on the thin ice of discouragement, the Lord kept bringing texts of Scripture to my mind that I preached to my heart. The more I meditated on the Word, the more I found myself slowing walking toward thick ice.
Preaching truth to myself
Here are some texts and truths that were helpful in my battle against discouragement and for faithfulness:
1) If the reject you, they reject me. If they accept you, they accept me (John 15:20) … “Paul, it’s not about you! Die to yourself.”
2) “Whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me” (Mt 10:38); “If anyone does not hate his own life … he cannot be my disciple” (Lk 14:26-27) … “Paul, die to yourself! Do not give allegiance to yourself and your feelings … give all your allegiance to Christ … be willing to be rejected for Christ … it is all about Christ … these people need Him … the wrath of God is on them.”
3) They are perishing. “The wrath of God remains [on those who do not obey the Son]” (John 3:36).
4) Salvation is a work of God. The Spirit must work. We are utterly dependent on God … oh for God to do a work. We are helpless, powerless, lacking wisdom. We need God. I need God. The peoples need God.
5) “… We make it our aim to please Him” (2 Cor 5:9) … “Paul, please Jesus Christ. Make that your ambition right now. All that matters is that you please Jesus Christ. Live to please Him. The effectiveness of your ministry is in God’s hands. Just be faithful. All allegiance to Christ!
6) Keep fishing. Evangelism is like fishing. Don’t give up. Good fishers are resilient and persistent. Many fish don’t bite, but some will. Keep going. Don’t give up. Keep walking by faith Paul … who knows that God might do!
The battle continues, but right now (by God’s grace!) I write this post delighting in the Gospel … but without the time to write about a couple of really neat conversations the Lord opened up for me, a struggling fisherman.