The Difference Light Makes

By: Kristen L. McNulty

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When I first became a Christian, I was under a few major misconceptions, one of them being that Christianity was somehow connected with popularity. Well it is, but just not in the way that I thought it would be. I thought that becoming a Christian would mean that I would be respected and held in higher esteem, but that couldnít be further from the truth.

Being a Christian means that we arenít going to be loved or respected by all. Godís Word clearly says that the people were divided over Jesus (John 10:9). Some accused Him of being possessed by Satan, others said He was crazy, His family wanted to take Him home, and the religious leaders of the day greatly disliked Him. Following Jesus is going to lead us down that same path.

Christianity is not a quick way to popularity, rather it is often a quick was to condemnation. This is what Jesus meant when He said that anyone who wishes to be His disciple must pick up their cross and follow Him.

Sometimes picking up our cross means that weíre going to be unpopular and weíre going to be criticized. The more years that go by and the more involved I get in ministry, the more I realize the reality of that.

Facing criticism isnít easy, but over and over again through Jesusí life we can see that it is to be expected. We can also see the proper way to deal with criticism through His example.

What is His example? Well, although Jesus often came to the defense of others who were accused or criticized (Matt. 26:10), most times He refused to provide any defense or explanation for His own actions (Matt. 26:62-63, 27:13-14). Even on the cross when He was outright criticized, made fun of, and misinterpreted, Jesus refused to utter a word in reply (Matt. 27:38-44). If you and I want to deal with criticism in the proper way, we should follow His example.

Yes, when we are being put down it is tempting to defend ourselves, but often there is nothing that can be gained by doing so. Of course, there is a difference between criticism and accountability. As ministry leaders, we will have to be accountable for our actions to certain people within the church, but answering to our pastor or deacon board is much different than answering to the person making comments in the back row.

Christianity ministry is not always a comfortable existence. Yes there will be times of excitement and grow, but there will be also times of opposition and criticism and this isnít a bad thing. As my sister wisely said to me "If you never faced any opposition, then that would lead me to believe that youíre not doing what you are supposed to be doing. If you are never criticized then Satan has no problems with what you are doing and that is not a complement."

What is all comes down to is that there is a cost to following Jesus and if we want to follow Him in every aspect of our lives, we must be willing to pay that cost. Yes, it can be hard. Yes, sometimes it hurts, but I know from experience that it is worth the cost.

When we stand before God, we wonít be answering to our critics, but rather to our biggest fan who will be so please with what weíve accomplished in the face of opposition. And when we hear the words "well done, good and faith servant" any price that we may have paid here will look silly in comparison to the rewards that await us in eternity.

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This devotional was aired as a part of the Making A Difference Christian Radio Show.