I’ve been coming into a fair amount of criticism from a handful of people at church recently. In the latest episode someone has taken offence at some teaching I did about the Ascension, and taken some manipulative and high-handed action as a result. Fortunately the other elders at church asssure me of my “orthodoxy” and are sorting the matter out.
I don’t quite understand why I reacted like a complete and utter wimp to the criticism. I used to have a fairly thick skin…perhaps part of the process of making me a bit more sensitive to others has involved a degree of ‘thick-skin shedding’. I also have to say that compared to the persecution and threat that some believers face because of their faith I am really rather soft.
I was reminded today that opposition and criticism are part of the package for those who want to follow Jesus closely…
“We will never grow and be gifted in our Christian life unless we are prepared to surrender and obey the new power that demands our observance. This is an obedience that costs, because it inevitably comes into conflict with our own desires and wishes. It is a painful path – to pretend otherwise is only the counsel of fools. If Jesus obedience to the Father’s will cost him his life, what makes us believe that it will be a convenient and easy process for us? What makes us think that our faith and Christian pilgrimage will not cost us money, status and personal pain? But just as a soldier who does not obey commands is no use to the army, so a Christian who does not have a heart of obedience will never be of use in the service of God. It is useless to express a desire that God should work in and through us, if we are not prepared to conform to what he demands of us. We cannot enjoy the thrill of closeness to God and the power of his Holy Spirit, without the humility of acknowledging a higher authority and without complying with that authority with all our heart, soul and mind.”
Nick Aiken, “The Journey Home”, p42
What a choice…a quiet life or intimacy with God.
I know which one I say I want, but it’s all too easy to settle for a more safe and domesticated existence.