The Doctrine of Prayer
[Praying Effectively in Crisis moments]
When we are in crisis, and our world is troubled then we need to pray — Kingdom Prayers. In turn, they will influence our decision-making, and it will result in powerful answers.
Most people pray, but they only pray during the tough times and have not yet learned how to pray God’s will into existence. Sister Nona Freeman when she returned from Africa she attended one the first Louisiana Women’s Conferences; she told me, Brian, America doesn’t know how to pray. The church is praying her will and not God’s will into existence. This is a tragedy, and we need to find a remedy.
Kingdom prayers have the power to influence key decisions and result in powerful answers. True Apostolics understand the pivotal role of prayer, and pray with purpose, they don’t panic and react in fear, they seek to find God and in turn, He leads them to significant breakthroughs in their life and ministry.
The question is how do we recognize these critical moments. The scripture tells us to pray without ceasing; however, there are times when what we pray and how we pray are more important because of what is at stake. The revival moment introduces an opportunity for significant change. We must learn to think as God thinks and pray his thoughts and his purpose. Jesus demonstrated this because he was the greatest prayer warrior of all time. John 12 shows how Jesus made sure that He was praying correctly before continuing his journey to the cross.
So how did Jesus pray? He prayed, “now my heart is troubled, and what shall I say, Father, save me from this hour?” No, “it was for this very reason I came to this hour. Father, glorify your name!” [John 12:27-28]. He could have prayed a survival prayer: “Father get me out of this mess.” But instead, he ordered His praying in perfect alignment to the Divine Intention and Will of God; the result was amazing grace revealed in redemption.
If we learn to pray based on our relationship to God, to pray from the heart and not just routine and repeated phrases the result will be a powerful breakthrough into a new dimension of the miraculous. We should not pray just to attempt to get God on our side that is for immature and manipulative people to try to spiritualize their own way rather than submit to God’s way. It trivializes the will of God and makes of none effect the cross of Jesus Christ and dishonors the price he paid for our salvation.
As we grow and mature, our prayers do so as well. Kingdom praying increases as we mature spiritually. Too many people become caught up in fulfilling their agenda. Mature believers trade their agenda for God’s. They move from simply praying what they want, to praying the heart and mind of God. Learning to pray this opens the door to miracles, and releases God to do what He does best; make the impossible, possible.
Helmet of salvation – Let us think right and see what God sees.
Breastplate of righteousness – Put on God’s righteousness because we know ours cannot stand against the enemy, but God’s can. That’s why we shouldn’t let any of our mistakes or shortcomings keep us from using our authority. We are standing in the righteousness of Jesus! Mine is worthless but He is pure.
Gird about our loins with truth – Know truth. Wrap it tightly around you so that the enemy cannot twist God’s word to you. In Hosea 4, the people lost truth, then mercy, and then the very knowledge of God. How scary to no longer even recognize who God is!
Preparation of gospel of peace – be a peacemaker, be willing to take the gospel to those who need to hear. Be peaceable, don’t allow yourself to become easily offended.
Shield of faith – We must have faith to operate in authority. It is indispensable. The scripture says “Above all”, because without faith none of the others will matter. Without faith, it is impossible to please God. However, with faith Mark 9:23 says, ALL things are possible to him who believes God. Sometimes we can have faith for those little things but then we find ourselves making excuses for God for the bigger things. Why do we do that? God doesn’t need our excuses! Ask and it shall be given to you, pressed down and overflowing!
How do we increase our faith? The bible says to ask God to increase it. The man that brought his daughter to Jesus obviously had some faith or he wouldn’t have fought his way through the crowds to get to Jesus. However, when he talked to Jesus he asked him to help his unbelief. He recognized that his faith was mixed with doubt.
Romans 10:17 tells us another way to increase our faith is by hearing the word of God. We need to be at the house of God and have our faith renewed by hearing the Word of God preached, and not stop there, but also to be reading and studying and understanding the Word of God. The devil is a liar. It is not just what he does but it is who he is. We must know that word well enough to recognize his lies and turn right around and speak truth!
Sword of the Spirit. It is the only piece of offensive weaponry that we have been given. Jesus used the Word against Satan in the wilderness, saying, “It is written!” It doesn’t say that Jesus thought it, but it says he said it. We have to speak it. Speak the Word into your situations. When you speak the word, it will not return void. Isaiah 55:11, So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it. Send God’s word out to do a work in your life.
We have the authority to bind and loose. Matthew 18:18-19,Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall bebound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. Again I say unto you, that if two of you shall agree on earth as touching anything that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven.
Binding: Forbidding, to prohibit
Loosing: Permitting, to permit
Anytime we bind something, we want to be sure we loose something in its place. We sure don’t want there to be a void and the spirit come back and bring his friends.
The name – we all know the power of the Name of Jesus. Everything we do, every ounce of authority we have claim to comes from that name! That is why the world tries to cheapen it. There is nothing in this world more powerful than the name of Jesus, and I thank God that we, as Apostolics, have the revelation of that name! There is salvation, deliverance, healing, restoration, and there is peace! When we put that name upon our lives, it goes before us in the spiritual realm. We have the same name as the king.
The enemy may not always know my name but I guarantee he knows my daddy’s name – Jesus. I simply say his name and the enemy starts shaking. Put the name in front of you and call things as though they are!
The Blood and your testimony (what you speak) is another tool:
Revelation 12:11 And they overcame him by the blood of the lamb, and by the Word of their testimony; and they loved not their lived unto the death. We all know about pleading the blood. You can’t be around Pentecost long before you will hear it. The blood is a protection. After I put on the armor, I always plead the blood over it. It is like putting an impermeable suit of amour over the whole thing. The enemy cannot stand against the blood. When you put a bloodline around your home in faith, the enemy cannot cross it. Over your mind, the enemy cannot enter. Put the blood over your finances and the devourer can’t touch them. Plead the blood over your children and you can actually have peace when they are out of your sight. The blood is a counter agent to sin. Where the blood is applied sin and the enemy cannot stay. Use your authority and plead the blood over you and yours every day.
It also talks about the word of your testimony. I like the example of David and Goliath. 1 Samuel 17:36 Thy servant slew both the lion and the bear: and this uncircumcised Philistine shall be as one of them, seeing he hath defiled the armies of the living God. First, we see David proclaiming the faithfulness of God in his past, then he goes on to declare his confidence in God’s deliverance for this enemy. Then Goliath begins to belittle him and again we see David speak words of faith – 1 Samuel 17:46, This day will the Lord deliver thee into mine hand; and I will smite thee, and take thine head from thee.
Big words from a young man with a handful of rocks but he spoke faith! Are you struggling with something? Take a look back and see what is coming out of your mouth. So many times, we talk ourselves out of the blessing or miracle that is right around the corner. Words of faith are mighty. The power of life and death are in the tongue. Speak life.
Sometimes we take ownership over things that God never intended for us to. Something can come into our lives and instead of rebuking it or speaking peace into it, we just accept it. Change your thinking! We don’t have to take it! Remember who you are!
Be persistent. If you don’t see the answer today, pray about it again tomorrow and expect to see your answer! Thank Him and praise Him for what he is doing. You never know the wheels that God has already set in motion for your answer, and you will get an answer: it may be yes, it may be not now, or it even may be no.
Even in His silence, there is sometimes the answer of “wait.” However, if we are in alignment with him, seeking his will, we can even take the no answer. Because we know, he has our best interests at heart. Just keep praying. Prayer changes things and sometimes what it changes is you. Just keep believing and remember who you are! Sometimes we feel it is too late. “Oh if I had known this earlier I wouldn’t have lost this, that, and the other.” This can lead to hopelessness. Depression is the emotional result of hopelessness, but joy is the result of hope, and peace is the result of faith. Speak hope, speak faith!
The alternative to faith is hopelessness – so don’t listen to those lies from the enemy. It is not too late. There are numerous examples in the Bible where all was lost and in man’s eyes, it looked as though there was no hope, but then God stepped in. It looked like David had lost it all when Ziklag was raided. Everything was gone – and he was about to lose his life because there was talk of stoning him. However, David encouraged himself in the Lord, then he inquired of God, and lastly he took action! And in 1 Samuel 30:19 it says he recovered ALL. Not some, but ALL. It is never too late when God is in the mix! Remember who your daddy is!
Isaiah 12: 3 Therefore with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation.
Jesus was resting at the well when a Samaritan woman arrived to draw water alone. Most women drew water in the early morning or in the evening when the sun is about to set. She perhaps was an outcast because she came to the well alone. Jesus revealed that she was scorned by the townspeople due to her past.
Just the fact that Jesus spoke to her a Samaritan was a miracle of grace, she being a woman was scandalous, and one with her past was beyond imagination. Yet, he did more than add value to her by the courtesy of addressing her; what He did for her is simple; He gave her something better than what she came for – He gave her “Living Water.”
We should enjoy attending church and participating in the worship, because without a doubt Jesus always gives us more and something much better than what we came for.
Her story was one of contrast she came for something much less than what Jesus was offering. She came for physical water; but He offered spiritual water. She came as an outcast; Jesus made her accepted by God and employed her as a witness that stirred all of Samaria. Living waters of eternal value replaced her need for physical water.
When Jesus began to reveal to her the life she had lived, she did her best to change the subject and started an argument about her religion. She wanted to know which mountain was the right mountain to worship at. Jesus was a master of redirection. He came right back and revealed that true worship does not happen at a place but at the point where spirit and truth meet together. It’s about relationship not religion. It’s about salvation! Do you know Him? What are you Thirsty for?
Consider for a moment that Jesus is thirsty. He thirsts for true worship and sincere fellowship. It is the only thing that refreshes His Spirit. Your love, your worship and devotion makes Calvary worth it all to Him. The joy that was set before Him was that you would be saved.
At the Cross-we see two prophecies harmonized. “Living Water” cries out “I Thirst!”
The prophecies of old spoken by David under the inspiration of the Holy Ghost had this to say, “They gave me also gall for my meat; and in my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink” (Psalm 69:21).
No element was missing from the portrait of grace painted by the hands of the master apostles; every prophecy was accounted for and fulfilled. No detail was overlooked because God in His wisdom inscribed in scripture every detail of the great tragedy of the cross centuries before it happened.
Jesus honored every word of God and he spoke these two words for one reason – to fulfill prophecy and make His obedience complete. Nothing but submission would cause Him speak to soon, “but it is written: in my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink, and what pain could not do prophesy did do. The remarkable timing of Jesus shows us beyond a shadow of a doubt that He truly is God Almighty.
John 19:28-29 After this, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the scripture might be fulfilled, saith, I thirst. 29 Now there was set a vessel full of vinegar: and they filled a sponge with vinegar, and put it upon hyssop, and put it to his mouth.
Jesus understands the human condition better than all the Psychology Departments of the Ivy League Schools; He knows that we are thirsty and in need of true “Living Water.” If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink (John 7:37). Our thirst can be quenched and we can be filled but we have to want it – Got Thirst?
Our world is in chaos; we all share a common experience of spiritual anguish and what we need cannot be satisfied by anything the world has to offer. Too often when we do seek for things of this world to satisfy we end up destroying ourselves. Our busyness, alcohol, drugs, extramarital affairs, none of these poisons will satisfy. They will leave you broken, bruised and beaten. I choose Jesus. The World needs Jesus. He is the only one that can meet that deep longing in our heart. Only through His presence can we discover the true and unspeakable joy of the Holy Ghost.
Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled (Matthew 5:6).
When God wanted Israel to conquer their bitter waters he instructed Moses to cut down a tree and throw it into the water and the waters were made sweet and fresh.
At the cross, we find another tree that has the power to turn bitterness into sweetness that changes bitter waters to refreshing water to quench the greatest thirst of man’s soul – The Presence of the LORD – Got Thirst?
All of us, regardless of how spiritual, will experience moments when due to betrayals, misunderstanding, or faced with hatred and bitterness, will be knocked to our knees and left feeling devastated. Leaders are definitely no exception to this awful reality and the truth is our reality is just the opposite; we are far more susceptible. These moments can be overwhelming.
The Bible teaches us in Proverbs 18:14, “The spirit of a man will sustain his infirmity; but a wounded spirit who can bear?” Man can endure much physical affliction. The body can, as it were, fall back upon the support of the spirit when it is distressed and weakened; but when the spirit itself is broken, grieved, wearied, and debilitated, it has no resource, no higher faculty to which it can appeal, and it must succumb beneath the pressure [Pulpit Commentary].
There will come a time in your ministry when you will be wounded. People will hurt you, walk out on you, and some will even try to destroy your ministry. You can try to be strong, brush it off and act like it’s just par for the course, but the truth is, it hurts.
Jesus himself suffered rejection and betrayal by those closest to him. In John Chapter 6, the Bible says that many of Jesus’ disciples turned back and walked with him no more. He then asked the twelve that were closest to him, “Will you also go away?” Will you abandon me as well? Peter, in turn, denied him three times, and that at the moment Jesus needed him the most.
The hurts will come, but it’s how we deal with the wound that determines our destiny. Hurting people hurt people and a leader with a wounded spirit has to be careful that he does not lash out at others to try to justify his own hurt.
How does healing come? Isolation is not the answer. The enemy would love you to isolate you from the body, but that is only detrimental to you.
Spiritual People can Restore You.
Just as people are usually the source of hurt, they can also be the source of healing.
People who are hurting can find comfort from trusted mentors who can help them deal with the issue.
The Holy Ghost is called the Comforter for a Reason.
Our other source is from God himself! “Who was wounded for our transgressions and bruised for our iniquities.”
“The Lord is close to the broken hearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” (Psalm 34:18).
“He heals the broken hearted and binds up their wounds” (Psalm 147:3).
The feeling of our infirmities can touch him because he himself has been there.
He was a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief, he was despised and rejected of men, he was a wounded spirit and now he is a wounded healer.
Learn to Walk in Forgiveness.
To avoid harm to our spirit, we must walk in forgiveness.
Just as it takes time for a physical injury to heal, hurts to the spirit or heart also require time to heal.
Your hurt doesn’t have to define you, but your reaction to it will.
Let it become a defining moment that propels you into a new level in your relationship with God.
Another key to spiritual authority is what we think about; we must have a renewed mind.
Philippians 2:5 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus.
Ephesians 4:23 And be renewed in the spirit of your mind.
The renewing of your mind is the changing of your perspective. You must see things as God sees them, and focus your eyes on victory and not on your failures. Sometimes we allow our imaginations to run wild and create scenarios that aren’t even real. The Bible says to cast down imaginations from our minds. When we allow our feelings and imaginations to decide how and what we believe about things, it can build strongholds in our lives.
Strongholds are the result of wrong thinking, wrong attitudes, and wrong behaviors. When you allow the same thinking into your mind repeatedly, it builds strongholds and invites spirits into your life that you don’t want there. Then you try to rebuke them and cast them down and can’t figure out why you aren’t having the victory. It’s because you built a stronghold in your mind.
You have to go back and renew your mind. Find the mind of Christ and ask him to reveal to you if there are any hurts, forgiveness you need to give to others, or anything you need to take care of to get rid of that stronghold that is allowing those spirits to come into your life. This must be done if you want to have victory.
You can’t speak faith out of one side of your mouth and doubt out of the other. You can’t expect to speak blessings out of one side of your mouth and then talk evil against your brother/sister and expect that blessing to come about or expect to have any authority.
We live in a rebellious and self-centered world. We were born into sin and we are hit with the enemy’s agenda on a daily basis. We can become desensitized to the wrongness in this world. We must have our mind renewed daily in prayer. (You have to have a prayer life to have authority.)
If we live having the right mindset it will daily impact our thoughts, our choices, and our behavior. If we don’t put the right things in our mind, the enemy will jump at the chance to put the wrong things in. We can’t let the world’s thinking have any place in our mind. I’m not just talking about the really big things that we can easily identify as going against God, but also about the subtle things.
If our mindset is changed just a little, it can take us out of the mind of God. Have you ever thought about the world’s perception on good vs. evil? Hollywood and this world try to make it seem like there is a battle between God and the devil. Yes, we fight the enemy but God does not. There is no struggle for God against Satan. God could take care of him with one word. He is simply a nuisance to God. Half the battle is in your mind. If you change your thinking the battle is won. It is like watching a recorded game. The outcome is already known. You may see the struggles throughout the game, the ups and the downs, but you already know who is going to win. We know the outcome. We may have ups and downs but we know we shall be victorious, and God wants us to be victorious and take authority while we are on this earth as well. Set your mind daily on the things of God. Align your will with God’s. Set your purpose with God’s purpose and you will have authority.
Tools we use to wage war: First off, let me say that we never use our tools of warfare against people. They are not our enemy.
Ephesians 6:12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of darkness of this world against spiritual wickedness in high places.
Secondly, you cannot use these tools and expect to see results if you aren’t practicing right principles or concepts. Being in the line of authority is one that we talked about but there are others as well. For example, I can’t pray for my finances and use all the tools God has given to prosper me, when I don’t pay my tithes. That’s an easy one to jump to but it applies in all areas. We have to practice right principles.
If you don’t see things changing, sometimes you have to examine yourself; what is it that is holding back your promise? Our authority is delegated. We know it comes from God and he has given us what we need to take authority and dominion over the enemy – the whole armor of God.
Charisma will not go very far in the Kingdom of God. On the other hand, submission, humility, love and respect for others will go a very long way. Your personality type has absolutely nothing to do with your authority. If a man is to use God’s authority to accomplish His work, he must fulfill three principal requirements. He must know that all authority comes from God, He must be obedient to God’s Will, and He must deny himself. If we do not meet these requirements, we cannot operate in God’s authority.
Jesus has given us authority over this world and everything in it. In Matt. 16:19 Jesus says he gave us the keys to the kingdom; and that whatsoever we bind on earth shall be bound in heaven and whatsoever we loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.
Those keys aren’t just the keys to get into the doors of heaven, (salvation) but they are the keys to authority & dominion over every situation in our lives. It’s access to the throne room. It’s the power to call things as though they are. It’s the power to overtake the enemy and drive him back. It’s the power to rip our loved ones out of the enemy’s hands! It’s the power to call down the blessings and abundance from heaven! However, just like these keys, you have to do something with it. We must take action.
Let’s talk about a couple of these keys: We must realize that our authority is a delegated authority. What does this mean? It means my authority comes from somewhere else, and for me to have authority I must be submitted to an authority in my life. The world has taken the word submission and made it into a weak thing. Someone says the word submission and everyone gets into an uproar. “Well, no one is going to tell me what to do. You are not the boss of me!”
Notice that the enemy tries to discredit the things that give us authority over him. He has tried to cheapen the name of Jesus and make it into a curse word. Why don’t people say “Oh, Buddha,” or “Oh, Muhammad”, because there is no power there? Why is it that some churches preach that you should only be quiet in church, don’t pray aloud or worship with your voice? Because the enemy knows, life and death are in the tongue. Why, in newer translations of the Bible has the word fasting been taken out of “these things only come by prayer and fasting”? Because everything that give us power he tries to bury. He knows where our power comes from! He knows the Word and he twists it to try to take our authority away from us!
The centurion understood delegated authority in Matthew 8:8. He had an active faith – not a passive one. He went to Jesus and asked Him to heal his servant. Jesus said that he would go to him but the centurion stopped him, “no need to go all that way Lord, just say the word and I know it will be done. I have servants under me – I say go they go, do this and they do it.”
He understood authority. His authority did not come from himself either. He had a commander over him. The military, and people above him is where his authority came from and he understood that all it took was a word. The same is true for us. If we are not submissive to the divine line of authority in our lives, we will have no authority.
Let’s just break it down into everyday living; what does this mean? It means that I place my life under Pastoral Leadership. It means his vision is my vision. I allow him to shape my principles and concepts. It means that I follow the standards that he sets for the church. It means I am staying submissive to my divine line of authority; I want to stay in alignment with my pastor as he stays in alignment to God and the people of authority in his life.
I want my prayers answered. I want to have authority in the kingdom of God. I cannot have it if I am not submissive. If we do not submit, we open ourselves up to the enemy. James 4:7: “Submit to God and the devil must flee from you!”Submit to God – that’s your line of authority. You can’t say you are submitted to God and then not be submitted to you pastor. You will be out of the line of authority.
I’ve always heard it as an umbrella analogy. Think of God’s line of authority as an umbrella. When I am in the line of authority, all kinds of bad stuff can be going on around me, but I am protected. From the inside flows the blessings and protection of God. Because I am under the umbrella of authority, I can receive all the blessings God wants to give me.
So how do you know if you have a submissive heart? Well, what’s your attitude towards correction? What is your attitude when you are asked to do or not do something? Do you speak negatively about your pastor/leadership? Don’t do it!
You surrender your authority when you do that! Look at the two kings – Saul was told by the man of God to kill all the Amalekites. However, he didn’t do it, he thought he had a better plan. In addition, when the man of God confronted him he found all kinds of ways to justify himself. Because of that, the Bible says God took the kingdom away from him. Whereas, David when confronted by the Man of God regarding his sin, fell on his face in repentance.
Even Jesus was submitted when he went to the temple and his family couldn’t find him. He said, “Didn’t you know I would be about my father’s business?” Then it says that Jesus was subject to them and went home. The very next verse says that Jesus grew in wisdom and in favor with God and man. So yet more blessings of being submissive…who doesn’t want wisdom and favor with God and man?
Trust is a foreign concept to our generation. Today’s culture is not a trusting one. In fact, we are taught not to trust any institution or system whether religious, government or education.
Because our generation has allowed the culture to affect their relationship with God, it has become our greatest challenge and we must learn to trust God.
James Dobson said, “Faith in God is like believing a man can walk over Niagara Falls on a tightrope while pushing a wheelbarrow. Trust in God is like getting into the wheelbarrow!” To believe God can do something miraculous is one thing, to risk his willingness to do it in your life is another.
Trust is the highest level of faith.
5 Trust Principles found in Proverbs 3: 5-7
Principle #1 Trust is a matter of the heart. We must learn how to trust in the Lord with all our heart, with our emotions, our appetites, our purchases, our relationships and our salvation. Trust in the Lord with your emotion, desire, affection and need.
Principle#2 Lean not unto thine own understanding. James Kok said, “Faith is the capacity to trust God while not being able to make sense out of everything.” Don’t make decisions based on what you think you understand. When a train goes through a tunnel and it gets dark, you don’t throw away your ticket and jump off. You sit still and trust the engineer.
Principle #3 Put God first. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. In every area of your life, put God first, first in marriage, in finances, in family, in your spiritual life, and in your emotions. The more we depend on God, the more dependable we find he is.
Principle #4 Don’t be a wise guy. Be not wise in thine own eyes. Don’t think more highly of yourself than you ought. Pride goeth before destruction and an haughty spirit before a fall. Oswald Chambers said, “the great stumbling block in the way of some people being disciples is that they are gifted, so gifted that they won’t trust God.”
Principle #5 The Obedience Test. Fear the Lord and depart from evil. Victor Raymond Edmond said, “To trust and obey God is the substance of the whole matter of living for God.”
Proverbs 3: 8-10 It shall be health to thy navel, and marrow to thy bones. Honour the Lord with thy substance, and with the firstfruits of all thine increase: so shall they barns be filled with plenty, and thy presses shall burst out with new wine.
When you step into ministry and into leadership, you paint a target upon your back. The only way to avoid criticism is to do nothing, say nothing, and be nothing, because for every action, there is an equal and opposite criticism. Here is a simple rule of thumb: if you are a leader, you will be criticized, Period.
Criticism hurts when it questions our motives. It has a way of striking you right in the heart. “It will never work, we’ve never done it that way before, and we’re doing fine without it.” Sound familiar? Understand this; as you become more effective in what you do, you become a bigger target for criticism. The danger of being criticized is that it can cause you to develop a wrong attitude and cause you to react with a wrong spirit toward the criticizer. Many aspects define your ministry and your leadership, however, one of the main ways your leadership will be defined is by how you respond to criticism.
A critic is one who points out how imperfectly other people do what the critic does not do at all! In the Gospel of Luke Chapter 7 Jesus is invited into the home of a Pharisee to sit down to meat. And behold, a woman, which was a sinner, brought an alabaster box of ointment and began to wash his feet with her tears, and wipe them with the hairs of her head, and anointed his feet with the perfume.
Immediately the Pharisee developed a critical spirit, and within himself questioned Jesus ministry. The problem in this situation was that it was the Pharisee’s responsibility to wash the feet of a guest, to kiss him, and to anoint his head with oil when he entered into his house.
This Pharisee criticized the woman for doing what he was supposed to do. How did Jesus respond? He forgave her sins. He never allowed the criticism to deter him from his destiny. He always fulfilled his purpose regardless of what “the crowd” said about him. He healed the sick, he raised the dead, and he preached the gospel regardless of criticism and false accusations. Jesus was willing to be misjudged, misrepresented and misunderstood to reach those that hungered and thirsted after righteousness.
How do you deal with criticism? Do you lash out? Do you defend yourself? Do you quit? If you respond with defensiveness, you become mean spirited, and if you return the criticism, you will start a verbal and spiritual war. St Augustine prayed, “O Lord, deliver me from this lust of always vindicating myself.” George Eliot said, “The strongest principle of growth lies in human choice.” Your ministry will be a result of the choices that you make along the way. Your response to criticism will help determine your destiny.
Sometimes the best response to criticism is no response, at least not verbally. If you keep doing what God has ordained you to do he will validate your ministry. When you seek man’s validation you are simply looking for applause, and you are not committed to the cause. If the situation demands a response, always respond with Love.
The Right Response to Criticism – Stay Focused on the Positive Results: Remember your ministry and its impact is worth staying the course. Stay Focused on the Principles of Ministry: If you know the principles of God’s word, remember them well and never forget whom you represent and whom you truly belong to. Stay Focused on Your Purpose: Don’t lose sight of your purpose and the reason for your ministry. God did not call you to please people; He called you to please Him.
Jesus said to love your enemies, to bless them that curse you, to do good unto them that hate you, and to pray for them that despitefully use you and persecute you. Why? “That ye may be the children of your Father, which is in heaven.”