Q. How do you react when someone is unkind to you?
Your reaction to unkindness can tell you where you stand with Christ.
In Matthew 5:39, the Bible says not to resist evil, it even says to bless them that persecute you in Romans 12:14, but in James 4:7 it says to resist evil. Which pathway do you take when evil attacks you?
When you resist, you’ll invariably get resistance back; it’s human nature. You’d better be careful how you do it!
When you stand up against evil, you can do it from two perspectives; you can do it from the perspective of arrogance or you can do it from the perspective of humility. What’s the difference?
An arrogant person turns to themselves for strength, or turns to God to get Him to do what they want. Arrogance stands up for itself; it defends its rights; it gives you a sense of power; it stands on rightness and fairness; it hates losing, and uses self-will power to hold and justify its position. Arrogance says “I will”, and “you won’t”. Arrogance won’t tolerate being ‘put down’ especially in public; it’s offended at correction. It loves rank and power; it’s always looking for a higher profile; it thinks it should be higher up the ladder; it likes knowledge so it can raise its position; and it believes it should know better. Arrogance ends up blaming someone else.
Humility is the exact opposite. A humble person feels the same hurt and wrestles with the same thoughts, but always turns to the Lord, never to themselves. Humility doesn’t defend its rights without God’s instructions; it’s willing and ready to lose; it doesn’t seek rank or power; it accepts its rank; it accepts where God has placed it, and most importantly, it operates by faith in God. 1 Peter 5:6-10 confirms that humility is turning to the Lord (v.7) and then resisting Satan steadfast in faith. Without faith, every action is simply a reaction, and it’s sin.
Arrogance takes on the person who’s offended you, whereas humility turns to the Lord and waits on Him for justice by faith.
Ok, let’s go one step deeper.
What’s your calling?
What’s the job God has called you to do for Him?
The modern church encourages people to hunt for and find their calling for God. We’re encouraged to find the purpose why we were created for this time. People like to do this because it gives them a sense of purpose and value. They live in the hope that they are called to some high ranking position in the church or community, even dreaming they can change the world for good from this high position. This syndrome of positive thinking starts to feed their inherent arrogance.
They forget that Moses couldn’t change the Jews or the Egyptians despite 10 plagues and the Red Sea crossing; Daniel couldn’t change Nebuchadnezzar despite recalling his dream; Joseph couldn’t ultimately change the Jews, and even Jesus couldn’t change the Jews to believe in Him.
Hunting for your calling sounds alright but underneath it is succumbing to the human temptation of lusting after value and position and even aimed at increasing the wealth and status of the church itself. You can check this by seeing whether there’s any hint of envy in your heart when someone else gets picked before you or is placed in a higher position than you. You can also check it when you get picked above other people. You can check it with your fruit when things don’t go your way … murmuring, frustration, and regarding yourself as having higher knowledge. You won’t find Daniel bemoaning his exile and circumstances.
You won’t find your calling through arrogance, and if you do find it, like Samson it will profit you nothing.
The real primary calling for a Christian is to do ‘good’.
People are taught that “good” is defined as doing the right thing, but is that the whole truth?
The Bible says in 1 Peter 2:18-23 that “good” is actually doing well and suffering wrongfully for it.
The real call is not a call to a position or a particular job; it’s a call on every Christian’s life to suffer wrongfully for something you don’t deserve. Until you turn to the Lord and allow Him to permit you to suffer wrongfully you will never find humility, your salvation will be counterfeit, and you will never find ‘good’.
The highest calling of a Christian is to suffer wrongfully for the kingdom of heaven. God may eventually call you to a position of authority and responsibility either in the church or the world, but it will be of no personal benefit to you unless you’ve first learnt humility through suffering.
Samson had a special call on his life from birth. He allowed his gift to lead him to arrogance, disrespect of his parents, and lust. God used him mightily even in his arrogance but it profited Samson nil personally. It wasn’t till he was brought to humility by losing the gift did he finally see his arrogance, repented and got saved at death.
The pattern of suffering to find humility is the pathway that Christ set for all His genuine disciples. Christ suffered to the max to earn the highest position and authority (Philippians 2:9). Everyone wants position so they feel of value and worth in the eyes of others. Satan uses this inherent desire to manipulate people away from God even by using Christianity, but real heavenly value is never defined by humanity; it’s defined by Christ, and genuine position is only found by humility through suffering.
In the eastern world, the true church is growing on the back of physical suffering. In the western world the church is dying because it refuses to suffer for the name of Christ, choosing rather to compromise with the world and calling it ‘love’. The modern church has compromised on divorce, sex outside marriage, Sabbath, pornography, tv, prosperity, and now homosexuality. It’s meant to be the salt.
Don’t take on a spirit unless God instructs; it’s arrogant.
Humility is turning to the Lord when everything is going against you and also when everything is going for you. Arrogance is turning to yourself when things are going for you or against you. Basically, arrogance is taking somebody on spiritually because they’ve been unkind to you. Humility is not taking somebody on unless God instructs you; in the meantime it’s letting them win and you lose.
Moses didn’t take Pharaoh on till instructed; he simply minded his own business shepherding the sheep. Moses would have been annihilated if it wasn’t God’s time and call. He had already tried it in his own time and failed. He spent the next 40 years finding humility before he was ready for the call. David didn’t take Goliath on until instructed; he simply minded his own business shepherding his father’s sheep; and David didn’t take on King Saul, he turned the situation over to God for Him to do whatever He willed and waited 13 years for God to resolve the mess. Neither did Daniel take on Nebuchadnezzar; he was simply willing to suffer for God’s principles.
Humility doesn’t mean you can’t stand up for yourself … Jesus did, Moses did, and David did; it depends on your position. Are you standing from a position of arrogance of self-defence or humility of God-defence?
And that’s the answer … turn it over to God.
That doesn’t mean dumping responsibility; it means, by faith you are to resist the urge to fight back to defend yourself, and rather take the course of trusting God’s outcome. That’s the higher call for every Christian. You are called to resist the devil by faith, fully turning the situation over to God’s will, and to suffer wrongfully.
Why does God require us to do this?
If you turn yourself over to God’s will in the circumstances, you come under the influence of God’s Spirit. But, if you turn to your own self-defence you come under the influence of the spirit that’s manipulating the person sent to offend you. That’s why Jesus said in Matthew 5:39 and Paul says in Romans 12:14 to bless them that persecute you, and curse not. It protects you from becoming more arrogant. The more you defend yourself the more you strengthen your inherent arrogance, and arrogance leads you to hell.
Samson resisted, under the Spirit of God, in arrogance (Judges 14:19), and lost the Spirit of God (Judges 16:20), and came under the spirit of whoredom, until he eventually humbled himself and came back to the Spirit of God.
When someone mistreats you for the name of Christ, they’re actually doing you a favour; they’re increasing your position in the kingdom of heaven; they’re giving you the opportunity to be without sin (1 Peter 4:1); they’re teaching you to rise above the lusts of men to do the will of God. You should bless them!
You see, it’s all about POSITION.
That’s the secret of the call … wait for God to position you, don’t position yourself. Seeking position is arrogance, and in the meantime do whatever God places before you with a heart of willingness to suffer for not doing anything wrong. You can’t find humility through any other door but suffering. You’ll never find humility through prosperity unless you’ve first suffered like Joseph. You’ll won’t find humility through prosperity, you’ll find it through suffering … Deuteronomy 3:8,16.
The purpose of suffering is to save you from yourself. You have to sacrifice position to turn to the Lord. Once you succumb to the temptation of position you can’t turn to the Lord unless you first repent of your pride of position. Position is from Satan’s heart and God hates man chasing it. Humility quietly accepts its position and circumstances with suffering, whereas arrogance envies others’ position, always wanting a better circumstance.
You don’t have to find your calling; you’re already called to suffer. Be patient, God will lead you to the position.
May God give you suffering for His name for your salvation’s sake.
Pastor Wayne Sutton