By Rodney W. Francis
In the Christian life ~ and life in general ~ there will be times when we receive criticisms and knock-backs which can affect us seriously if we do not know how to handle them. Jesus told us that “offenses must come” (Matthew 18:7; Luke 17:1; Romans 4:25). We are also told that “all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution” (2 Timothy 3:12). The born-again, Holy Spirit-filled Christian way of life is very different to every other way of life; therefore we should not be surprised that people do not understand us, or the calling of God on our lives. Knock-backs will happen. The question is: “At those times of knock-backs, do they become a stumbling block to knock us down, or a stepping stone to a better and greater future and ministry?” You hold the key to that outcome. The thing is to get up and go again. If there is justifiable reasons for our being knocked-back, then we need to humble ourselves, ask forgiveness, learn from it, so we do not continue down that track and cause even further offence. Sadly, many Christians have dropped out of ministry because of negative criticisms and knock-backs. Christian women in ministry, especially, have had a hard time from fellow Christians ~ who do not know that God calls women as well as men to serve Him.
In this Ministry we have experienced a number of knock-backs over the years. But when I look back and see the outcome of those times, I can see how God has used them to push us closer to Himself, and, as a result, extend our ministry even further. Those times are not easy times, and they can often be quite hurtful. It is at those times that we need to learn quickly to let the knock-backs cause us to press in closer to Jesus. Otherwise the opposite will happen. The criticism and hurt can cause us to harbour unforgiveness and then to speak negatively about those ones who offend us (which can develop into hatred and bitterness ~ and that destroys us)! The sooner we can practice forgiveness the quicker we will work through those times and enable God to bring us into a better place with Himself than we have known before.
Do not expect that all Christians will understand the call and purpose of God for your life (they think they do).
Look at every great man and woman in the Bible and you will discover that they all went through very trying times (Joseph is just one example – Genesis 37 to 50).
But God used those times to prepare them for better days ahead. He still does that today with you and me.
He can turn the negatives into positives when we submit it all to Him.
Think of Jesus and all the criticism and opposition He received from the religious leaders of the day ~ the very ones who should have known better!
The GFM Ministry had been going for 35 years when I was given an ultimatum from the leaders of the Movement I served in that The GFM had to close down. That was very hurtful to me as I had given 35 years of my life to The GFM and at that time it was going into 55 countries around the world. It drove me closer to the Lord and God spoke clearly and told us we were to continue. That meant I had to resign from pastoring and trust God with my life and future, living totally by faith. We obeyed God, stepped out in faith and have not looked back. From that time The GFM has grown from going into 55 nations into 235!
I needed that kind of knock-back to enable God to get through to me that He had a different way of life for us to live.
Loyalties and natural securities had to be broken in me to enable God to show us what He could do when we fully trusted Him ~ and living in a way that He had to provide for us if we were to succeed. Hallelujah!
We have seen God providing in ways we never saw before and also enabling us to touch multiplied thousands more lives than we were previously.
In 1995 God clearly spoke and told me to focus my preaching ministry on teaching and releasing people in the Spiritual Gifts and how to function in Prophetic Ministry. Since that time that has been my focus and I have had the joy of seeing thousands of people released to function in the Prophetic Ministry in different countries around the world. I was ministering in one European country and touching hundreds of lives when I was told by the Pentecostal Leaders that I was to no longer release the people to function in those giftings. It was alright for me to do it, but not for me to release the people to do it. That was a real knock-back to me, as many people were eager to learn to flow in the Gifts of God (people want to be useful to God)!
That knock-back caused me to cease going to that country (which I had grown to love).
As I allowed it to push me closer into Jesus, He opened the door for me to minister in Kenya.
The result of that has been that instead of my ministry touching hundreds of lives, it now touches multiplied thousands of lives in East and Central Africa.
Virtually every day we are receiving reports of people being filled with the Holy Spirit, speaking in tongues and prophesying, having words of knowledge, etc. Even children are being filled and used by God to impact those who have resisted the visitation of God’s Spirit to that part of the world.
KNOWING GOD’S WILL IS A KEY
I have learned that when one door closes, when we press in closer to Jesus, He opens an even better and greater door of opportunity. It is in the times of knock-backs that the will of God is tested in our lives.
Knowing God’s will personally is all-important.
If we do not know the will of God for our lives, then we will get tossed around and encounter all kinds of doubts, turmoil and confusions as to what we should do, etc. So many Christians get robbed at this point, because they do not know the will of God strongly enough to take the right stand for it. We need to remind ourselves that our first priority and commitment is to Jesus Himself; not some leader or person who does not really know the will of God for us.
This is where the Prophetic Ministry is so beneficial. The Prophetic Ministry is all about our listening to, hearing and knowing how and when God speaks to us, so we can be obedient to what He says above all else. That is when we are most fruitful in the Kingdom of God. When we do things God’s way, then we cannot help but be successful and bring glory to Jesus Christ. Let us know the truth of these verses: “I beseech (“urge”) you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed (“fashioned in the same way”) to this world, but be transformed (Greek is “metamorphoo” – changed, like a caterpillar turning into a butterfly) by the renewing of your mind (“will”), that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God” (Romans 12:1-2, NKJV).
The Amplified Bible says: “I appeal to you therefore, brethren, and beg of you in view of [all] the mercies of God, to make a decisive dedication of your bodies ~ presenting all your members and faculties ~ as a living sacrifice, holy (devoted, consecrated) and well pleasing to God, which is your reasonable (rational, intelligent) service and spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world ~ this age, fashioned after and adapted to its external, superficial customs. But be transformed (changed) by the [entire] renewal of your mind ~ by its new ideals and its new attitude ~ so that you may prove [for yourselves] what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God, even the thing which is good and acceptable and perfect [in His sight for you].”
When we live according to the Bible way, then we are going to be mis-understood and receive knock-backs of various kinds in our walk with Jesus. The big challenge for us is to turn those times (as quickly as we can) into God-given advantages so we can rise even higher in the purposes of God. Whatever you do, do not sulk and get on a “pity-party” that will cause you to become discouraged and then defeated in your walk with Jesus. Because Jesus is first priority in your life, keep your eyes on Him, and let those negative experiences press you closer to Jesus. Jesus is the Master at turning knock-backs into wonderful triumphs! Out of that will come even greater exploits through your life and ministry. God bless you!