Ministry Monday: Pastor Resources on Rejection & How to Overcome
How do you handle opposition in ministry? How should we respond when we’re rejected or undermined? Nehemiah showed us what to do.
Pastor Resources on Rejection: 5 Lessons from Nehemiah
Pray first (Nehemiah 4:4-9 and 6:9) –
Our first response to opposition should be to pray. Often when we face opposition, our first response is to get angry and hit back or defend ourselves. But prayer reminds us that God is sovereign, even over those who are attacking us. In prayer, we submit our hearts to Him and acknowledge our trust in Him.
Be vigilant (Nehemiah 4:9, 13, 15-23 and 6:8-9, 11) –
Nehemiah didn’t just pray, he took precautions. He posted guards, armed the workers, and put into place a warning system so that when the trumpet was blown the workers would rally to that point. There is an old Revolutionary War saying that describes what Nehemiah and the people did, “Pray to God and keep your powder dry.” This was updated during WWII and became, “Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition.” Fervent prayer coupled with continued work accomplishes what God wants.
Focus on the goal (Nehemiah 4:6, 15 and 6:3) –
The people didn’t abandon their work to chase down the enemy. They didn’t allow the enemy’s threat to get their focus on other issues. They stayed mission-focused. We need to be careful in building life with God that we don’t become primarily battlers instead of builders. We can get so distracted fighting against error and evil that our main purpose to communicate the gospel of Christ gets lost. It’s important to defend truth, but if that’s all we do, we have missed the full scope of the mission. We are to build the community of faith by leading others to faith in Christ and building them up to maturity in Christ.
Remember the Lord (Nehemiah 4:14) –
The people were discouraged because they had their eyes on the enemy’s threats, the piles of rubble, and all the work left to do. Nehemiah directed their attention back to the Lord who is great and awesome. He reminded them about the things that were at stake if they yielded to the enemy (their families and their future).
God has been at work on your behalf to bring you to where you are now in building your life with Him. He has helped you navigate some tough emotional and mental issues so that you are willing to live devoted to Him. Don’t give up now. Don’t give in because He isn’t giving up on you.
Stay connected (Nehemiah 4:19-20) –
The people needed to be available to each other for support, strength, and protection. God has not designed any of us to live in isolation or to build our lives independently of others in the community of faith. God delivers the help we need to withstand the attacks of our spiritual enemy through the support, encouragement, prayers, love, and instruction of other “builders” of life with God. As a pastor, it is also extremely helpful to get plugged in with a pastoral community or a pastor mentor.
Don’t be surprised if when you are seeming to make good progress, you face an attack. Just as Satan does in our personal spiritual walks, he will use setbacks in ministry to discourage you. He wants you to quit. He is persistent. Pray for God’s help. Remember the Lord – He is faithful to you. He will help you continue to build your life with Him.
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