“He has made us accepted in the Beloved.” (Ephesians 1:6 AKJV)
Why is it that we so readily give credence to the voice of rejection whispering in our ear? You know that voice. It says “I don’t belong here. No one listens to or cares about me. I have nothing to offer.” It’s always in the first person “I”, because that is the way the devil deceives us into thinking its coming from us rather than from him, the father of lies. (John 8:44)
Seeds of rejection sown into our lives through experiences of being disregarded, abandoned or betrayed are fueled by the devil’s lies and lead to self-rejection. We then become our own worst enemy. Henri Nouwen writes “Self-rejection is the greatest enemy of the spiritual life because it contradicts the sacred voice that declares we are loved.”
The heart of the message of the Gospel is the very opposite of rejection. It is the promise of acceptance by our heavenly Father in the unconditional love of His son Jesus Christ. The best weapon in dealing with the voices of rejection in our lives is the truth of God’s word. The New Testament declares again and again that we were chosen, predestined, adopted as God’s children and included in Christ based on no merit of our own. (Ephesians 1:11-13) All are free gifts bestowed upon us because of His great love for us.
Why is it then that the spirit of rejection is often so tenacious? In part it is because rejection seeks to keep us from taking our rightful place in Christ and in His body. The devil knows that those who take their rightful place will ultimately be most fulfilled and fruitful for the kingdom, and so he resists us with might and main.
A poll taken this past Sunday in both services indicated that only 1 in 8 people at Bridgewood feel as if they have found their “fit”- that place where they and their gifts feel needed, recognized and celebrated. To the contrary, over half of the people indicated they were really struggling (37%) or had given up (14%) in finding their fit. I cannot help but think that this response is a clear indication that the spirit of rejection is at work in our midst.
It really should come as no surprise, since Jesus, our precious corner stone in God’s spiritual temple was rejected by men, how much more should we as “living stones” also have to battle rejection. (1 Peter 2:4-6)
I battled that spirit of rejection the first eight years of my Christian life. It wasn’t until I was thirty three years old as a pastor attending a leadership training school, that the Lord in His grace finally delivered me. I was in a worship service when the Holy Spirit surprised me by sovereignly breaking in upon my consciousness. He took me back, beginning with my childhood up to the time I entered college, and proceeded to walk me through five separate occasions when I had experienced rejection.
The nature of my father’s job required my family to move frequently and the longest we ever lived in any one place was three years. Having to continually change schools, being the new kid on the block and never building any lasting friendship always left me feeling like an outsider. As the Holy Spirit began to reveal all this to me, He took me through some specific steps to set me free.
Here is that basic pattern to follow, for anyone seeking freedom from the spirit of rejection.
1. He showed the specific times in my life when I experienced rejection and how my vulnerability at that time opened the door for a spirit of rejection to get a foothold in my life. Ask God to show you when the spirit of rejection came into your life.
2.He came alongside me in each instance, walked me through a healing process and set me free from all the adverse after-affects. It is not unlike what God did when He appeared in the fiery furnace with Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. He not only delivered them from being burned – and even took away any smell of smoke. (Daniel 3:27) Ask God to come alongside you in your rejection and heal you.
3. He led me to forgive each of the people who caused the rejection in the various instances He revealed to me. I made it a point to carefully pray about each of the instances, and verbally declared forgiveness to each of the perpetrators. Declare your forgiveness to those who have rejected you.
4. And finally, He then led me to stand against that spirit of rejection at work in my life and take authority over it, commanding it to leave in Jesus name. You must take your spiritual authority in Christ to command the spirit of rejection to leave you.
The spirit of rejection still whispers its lies to me from time to time, but it’s power over me has been broken. Confessing the truth of my acceptance in the love of Christ always sends it packing!
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