You Are Accepted By God!
I want to share with you this month about things that happen in our lives that can haunt us and affect us for many years if we allow it. In fact, some people become hurt by life, and they never get past the point at which they were wounded. Perhaps they experienced something negative that left them feeling disrespected, inferior, unloved and uncared for, or unwanted and rejected.
I grew up in a wonderful, godly Christian home, but I can very much relate to some of these feelings. There was a time in my life when I felt inferior to everyone, even though I had no reason to feel that way.
Because I was sick for a long period of time during junior high school, I missed a great deal of school. I especially felt the pain of all those absences when it came to the subject of math. As a result of that sickness, I missed all the essential elements of mathematics that other students were learning. When I finally returned to school, I was far behind everyone else.
As I started my first algebra class in junior high school, my teacher ridiculed me for not understanding those basic elements that everyone else in the class seemed to readily grasp. I tried to explain my situation to her, but she responded by calling me “Stupid.” In fact, every day when she called the roll, instead of calling my name, she’d say, “Stupid Renner,” and I’d always answer, “Here.”
My teacher’s words negatively affected my self-image when I was a young junior-high student. My classmates laughed at me and thought it was funny to call me “Stupid.” That terrible word became a nickname for me that was used by many of the students. It seemed like everywhere I turned at school, I heard others yelling out to me, “Hey, Stupid!” And I allowed that name-calling to create such deep feelings of inferiority in my life that it affected me several years afterward, even after I finally mastered those elements of algebra that I’d missed earlier.
I think almost everyone remembers feeling unwanted and rejected at some time or another in his or her life. Some people recover from these experiences; however, the devil uses bad memories to keep others in an emotional prison for the rest of their lives. These are the people who never feel wanted and accepted, nor do they feel like they can measure up to other people. They live in a continual state of feeling “less-than” — no matter how much they accomplish in their lives. They live their entire lives wounded. But that isn’t the will of God for those people!
I’m thankful that what happened to me had no long-term effect on my life. In fact, I even laugh about it today. But I’ve had many other opportunities to feel rejected since those years in junior high. For instance, when my family and I moved to the former Soviet Union in 1991, we poured our whole lives into this land. We invested our finances, energy, and nearly every ounce of our strength into establishing churches, broadcasting the Word of God on television, and enriching by every possible means the lives of the people in this region of the world. But time and again, I would be stunned by the editorials and newspaper articles that accused me and our ministry of being criminals, cult leaders, a dangerous sect, and so on.
Regardless of who we are, we all deal with issues like these from time to time — things that are unjust, unfair, hurtful, and wrong! Therefore, it is essential that you and I make a decision individually about how we’re going to react when something occurs that makes us feel inferior, unappreciated, unwanted, unloved, or rejected.
Personally, I have always turned to First Corinthians 1:28 when I’ve felt tossed aside by “friends,” by the world, or even by some in the Church. This scripture has always been a source of strength to me. It says, “And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen….”
When Paul wrote this verse, he was writing to the Corinthian believers, who were being ostracized and actually deemed as stupid by the unbelieving community in the city of Corinth. Those unbelieving citizens didn’t understand the Christian faith. But instead of trying to understand, they just decided that Christians were stupid and out of touch with the rest of society. In fact, their disdain for Christians was so intense that Paul said they despised the Corinthian church.
The word “despised” in First Corinthians 1:28 is the Greek word exoutheneo. This Greek word means to make light of, to despise, to treat with contempt, to disregard, and to neglect. It portrays someone low and detestable whom others perceive as hideous, disgusting, despicable, and nauseating.
In fact, this word describes a person who is such an outcast and who is so low in other people’s opinions that they don’t even consider him worth recognition. People just want to shut their eyes and pretend that person isn’t there. They simply want to ignore him and go on their way.
But notice the end of the verse: Paul boldly announced that those whom the world rejects are the very ones God has chosen!
First Corinthians 1:28 could be translated: “God has picked out people who are laughable, and through them, He is confounding those who think they are high and mighty. Low-class, second-rate, common, average, run-of-the mill people — those so low that the world doesn’t even think they’re worth the time of day — these are the ones whom God has chosen….”
Have you noticed that the lost and unbelieving world today tries to either ridicule believers or ignore us and pretend we’re not here? This is nothing new. In First Corinthians 1:28, the Greek tense indicates that the lost world’s terrible, low opinion of Christians will continue to be prevalent.
First John 5:19 explains why the world refuses to acknowledge those of us who are believers: “…The whole world lieth in wickedness.” As long as the world lies in the grip of wickedness, we might as well accept the fact that unbelievers will mock and make fun of us, no matter what we do to try to change their opinion. From the beginning of time, the lost world has ridiculed, made fun of, sarcastically accused, and debased the people of God. As I said, there is nothing new about this at all. It’s just the way a lost world is going to act!
What I have described so far could be something you’ve experienced in the past — or perhaps it’s a recent event that is still very fresh in your memory. Rather than let other people affect your self-image and confidence, you need to know who you are in Jesus Christ and hold your head up high! You are “…accepted in the beloved” (Ephesians 1:6), and you have no reason to be embarrassed or ashamed.
YOU ARE ACCEPTED BY GOD! The devil may try to use some of your friends, your business associates — or even your family members or your teachers in school — to make fun of you and drag you down. But you don’t have to let the devil’s plan work against you. In times like these, remember that Jesus was also “despised and rejected of men” (see Isaiah 53:3). You are in good company with Jesus!
So if the world makes light of you or treats you with contempt — or disregards, neglects, and overlooks you — take heart! You are exactly the kind of person God wants to use! He has big plans to use you as a demonstration of His almighty power to your friends, your family, your business associates, and the unbelieving world!
Denise and I and our ministry team want you to know that we love you and care about you — and we are praying that God’s highest and best will be realized in your life. His plans for you are very specific, and they are very good (see Jeremiah 29:11). May you find and fulfill His exact path and plan for your life so that you’re able to walk in it to His honor and glory. If there’s any specific need you have that you’d like prayer about, please contact us with your request. We count it a great privilege to stand with you concerning the things that are closest to your heart. You can contact us online at renner.org/need-prayer, by email at email@example.com — or a Tulsa team member can take your call anytime Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. CT.
We love you and thank God for you!
We are your brother and sister, friends, and partners in Jesus Christ,
Rick and Denise Renner
along with Paul, Philip, and Joel and their families