2/6/2018 – Don’t Take it Personally! – Pr. Noleen Mendes
So they shook the dust off their feet as a warning to them and went to Iconium. And the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.—Acts 13:51-52
It’s so easy to get offended when people come against us. Jesus himself advised the disciples: If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, leave that home or town and shake the dust off your feet. (Matthew 10:14) In other words, don’t take it personally. Although it may seem like they’re rejecting the messenger, Jesus already warned us that It is the message they are rejecting. Since Jesus IS the message, it is He who they’re rejecting, not the ones who are bringing it. However, the heart of this passage is the true joy manifested by the presence of the Holy Spirit in the lives of the disciples.
This is how we know how much of us the Holy Spirit really has: it’s by how we respond in different situations. Are we prone to being offended, for any reason, when people come against us? Why were the disciples filled with the spirit of joy and not offended? Why were they glad and excited? I believe their joy had been based on 2 factors:
1. They had won the Gentiles to Christ! (Acts 13:46-48) We rejoice with the angels when people give their hearts to Jesus!
2. They were empowered by the Holy Spirit! When the Holy Spirit genuinely lives in us, we should be people of joy, no matter what we are facing. Persecution is external but no one can rob us of the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit! When the Holy Spirit lives in us, we don’t need to take things personally. We need to take them to the Lord!
I’ve gotta admit that walking in the joy of the Lord can be tough during difficult situations, especially when I am feeling offended. But I know it’s not impossible. I’ve won some and I’ve lost some. But my desire is always to live a Spirit filled life of joy!
Holy Spirit, fill me up with Your joy when I am tempted to take things personally. No matter what difficulties I face, strengthen me to rise above and lean into Jesus, that His joy may be manifested in my actions. In Jesus Name, I pray…Amen!