One of the hardest aspects about changing as a person is when other people around you refuse to see the new person you have become in Christ. As you develop a deeper intimacy, you’ll also develop a greater wisdom. As you worship more, the power of His presence will manifest more strongly. As you study the Word, you’ll become spiritually stronger, firmer in your faith and able to discern more in the spirit and in the natural. And while you may see those wonderful things and be proud of how far the Lord has brought you, others who “knew you when” might never see anything other than the “old man” you once were. And any time you make a mistake, they’ll be there to make you feel like nothing has changed!
Jesus faced the same situation after He left the power of His wilderness experience and returned home to preach, testify and witness. No one cared! They rejected Jesus because He was “Joseph’s son”, a nobody, a kid from the neighborhood. So what did Jesus do? He moved on! “No prophet is accepted in his own country,” He said. (Luke 4:24) You’re not alone. You are who the Lord says you are and don’t let yourself fall into the trap of looking to others for validation or approval because you’ll never get it.
If the people from the past try to keep you in the past, don’t look behind you.
When you want to move ahead in life, when you’re growing in Christ and allowing Him to change you, you’re going to face any one of three obstacles that will challenge you in the changing:
- Within you – Your old memories, decisions and consequences, regrets, habits, temptations and behaviors have a way of rising up when you least expect them, don’t they? One day you feel strong in the Lord and the next? Weak as a newborn Christian! The old responses, the former perspectives, the mindsets of the past – these are all things you may have to contend with on various levels for the rest of your life, as you walk through the process of sanctification. Take heart! You’re not alone! We all fight these battles inside of ourselves. If you think you might be losing the fight, get help! Being discipled by a more mature, trusted Christian is the best way to win the war inside.
- Outside of you – The people, the relationships, those who “knew you when” you were the “old man”. There’s almost nothing more discouraging than feeling like God has done a powerful work in you and then a comment from a family member, or a friend cuts you right back down. It’s hard to shake off the opinions of others, but you have to remember this: “Don’t accept criticism from people you’d never go to for advice.” The fact is, after the people in Jesus’ old town rejected him for being “Joseph’s son”. Jesus was human. That probably hurt His feelings and He walked alone for a little while. But then?? The Lord led men and women of God to Him to support Him, walk with Him, believe in Him and help spread His message. He’ll do the same for you! KEEP WALKING. If the people from the past try to keep you in the past, don’t look behind you.
- Around you – Make no mistake, your real battle isn’t with people. (Ephesians 6:12) Your battle is spiritual at its roots. Satan wants you to lose, to fail, to humiliate yourself, to return to your old ways, to get discouraged, to lapse into fear, anger, bitterness, resentment, pain and worse! He’ll do everything he can to stop you from operating in the role God needs you to fulfill. Be aware! Stay on your guard! Fight every battle with the weapons God gave you! You will outlast Satan and you will get the victory, but only if you don’t quit!
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