Here are the slides from this morning >> Rejection must fall
Let me invite you into the Word. Go read 1 Samuel 17. Read the account of David vs. Goliath. Look for the undercurrents in the text. Goliath taunted the “ruddy faced” David and mocked him. Before that, his father sent him to the front lines to take bread to his brothers and cheese to the commander. He was an errand boy – not worthy of fighting – just good for delivering cheese. His older brother tried to verbally knock him back with “go back to tending to your few sheep“. All he was good for was sheep tending but in reality, he was only good for tending a few of them. And then, once he negotiated his way up to an audience with the king, Saul dismissed him as incapable of fighting because he was “just a boy”.
As much as we wish it wasn’t so, the opinions of others matter. A word of rejection, even something small that wasn’t even aimed to really hurt us, can stick and sting. For some of us, rejection is like Everest. Real. Raw. Consequential. And devastating. Even when the intention is not harmful, a tiny seed of rejection can take root and wreak havoc in seasons to come.
We have two main motivators in life – “So that” and “Because”. We do enough, often enough, so that we get the outcome we want from God. The religious person reads his bible, but he does it, so that, God will love him more. The man of faith reads because Christ has brought him life and he desires more of Christ. A man of faith starts with what Jesus has done and as a result, he walks out his life confident because of what Christ has done for him and in him.
There are two sides to rejection. On one side is the cousin called insecurity, low self-esteem, low self-worth, inferiority, and even self-hate.
On the other side – and these are related – is the cousin called “driven to succeed”, perfectionism, winning at all costs, and being an overachiever.
Both sets are from the same dysfunctional family. If you’ve been told you’re worthless, then you will think low of yourself. And if you’ve been told you’re only valuable when you perform, then you will think you’ve got to prove yourself every single time to be accepted. Both are coping signs that you’re battling rejection.
Somewhere along the way, a seed of rejection was planted in you. It causes you to think there’s something inferior about you – there is something you lack to be everything you can be. We see the signs of this everywhere today. The fallen world we live in is corrupted by a sense of inferiority. We learn early in life to compare ourselves with everybody else. We start looking around to figure out how we’re doing. Social media is devastating in this regard.
As a kid growing up, I didn’t have that many people to compare myself to – a few kids on my street and 20 or so kids in my class. But today, thanks to social media, we’ve got an uncountable number of people to compare ourselves to. The entire world is up for comparison. Every time a person posts on social media, that person is basically asking, “How do I measure up, world? Do you like me or not?”
Touchy point here but why else would a 40-year old mother of three post a selfie of herself driving her car or dressed up for a night out on the town with her husband? Why else … except … that she does it for the string of comments like, “Oh my gosh, you’re so beautiful” from all her friends. What’s at the root, beneath all this?
If my selfie post gets 78 likes but Jamie’s … Jamie’s posts always get 200-250 likes and Susie … why is it that she commented on Jamie’s photo… but she didn’t make a comment about mine? Is she mad at me? What could I have done to upset her? Maybe Jamie really is beautiful – of course she is, I thought it when I saw her picture – and maybe… I’m not.
Men maybe the selfie thing isn’t an issue for us – but – what is? What is it that you do that cries out “Accept me”, “Approve of me”? And the even deeper question is “Why?” What is beneath our motives?
IF WE LIVE FOR PEOPLE’S APPROVAL, WE WILL DIE BY THEIR REJECTION.
If we’re not careful, then we will forget we were miraculously created by God for a purpose – for our Promised Land – and for a plan that He set in motion for our lives. He didn’t ask us to compare ourselves to others or run someone else’s race. He said, “Run your race.” Period. He didn’t ask us to work on someone else’s timetable. He wants us to work on His timetable. God wants us to know in our souls as deep truth that “He who began a good work in us will carry it on to completion until the day of Jesus Christ.” (Philippians 1:6)
When we lose sight of our miraculous beginnings, and our re-creation in the beauty of the person of Christ, then we’re going to be taunted and tormented by this giant of rejection all the days of our lives.
David was told he couldn’t fight Goliath because he was just a boy. We all have heard things like that in our lives… You’re never going to do that. Don’t get any crazy ideas. Don’t get your hopes up. You’re never going to amount to anything. You’re not smart enough. Not talented enough. Not beautiful enough. Not man enough. Not worthy enough. Not wanted enough. You’re just not … enough.
Rejection comes at all of us in different ways. Some of us have incredible potential, but we don’t want to try anything bold because we don’t want to fail. We make the easy choice to live safe in mediocrity because we think that is better than rejection. Others of us are determined to win at all costs to prove we’re good enough, worthy enough, wanted enough. We won’t rest until we’re first in the class, the CEO, the most respected man in the group. But we’re never happy because we’re building our self-worth based solely on our accomplishments.
For this giant of rejection to fall, we must shift from living for acceptance from others – that everything I do will be to make me good enough, get me accepted and make them like me more. We shift from living for acceptance to living from acceptance. At the start of Jesus’ ministry before any of the miracles or healing or teaching, God’s voice came down and said, “This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased”. Jesus didn’t go through His ministry hoping He’d earn God’s acceptance. He already had it and knew it.
If we live each day, one day at a time with our eyes focused upward on God knowing He accepts us, adores us, designed us, treasures us … then we can set out that day to run the race to very best of our ability to cast glory upon God not to earn His approval. No amount of success can bring down the giant of rejection. Only the unconditional love of God can defeat this giant – knowing you’re His son and that He is well pleased with you can.