Frank’s new book on the gospel of the kingdom is available.
View it at The Deeper Christian Life.
Each narrative in the book is told from each woman’s unique perspective, yet tightly grounded in the Gospel accounts and faithful to first-century history. The book blends creative narrative with uncommon insight, spiritual depth and practical application—and it’s gotten strong endorsements from best-selling authors like Liz Curtis Higgs, Lysa TerKeurst and Pastor Jack Hayford.
“In The Day I Met Jesus, Frank and Mary demonstrate lucid insight into the balanced, candid, focused, tender and penetrating manner of our Master, Jesus the Christ,” Hayford says. “See again the Savior who was God and Man embodied to show and transform us by His unpretentious holiness, empowering authenticity—without scorn or condemnation, transmitting love’s purity, life’s vitality and hope’s eternity. I commend the authors and this book to you: Both will enrich and enlarge your thoughts and your life.”
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There are two ways to respond to rejection. One is to react in the flesh and become bitter and angry and to retaliate against those who have hurt us. The other is to react in the Spirit, which is the way Jesus responded to those who rejected Him.
To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps. “He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth.” When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly.26
Jesus Christ refused to allow bitterness to take root in His heart. After standing under a hail of criticism from the Jews, the Lord stood before Pilate and was silent. When the Romans pierced His hands with six-inch nails, He prayed that God would forgive them. And when He rose again from the dead, He wasn’t spewing venom over those who crucified Him.
Jesus didn’t seek vengeance against those who misunderstood Him, nor did He justify Himself, setting the record straight in light of the lies that were told about Him.
While the death of Jesus is immortal, the unjust and indescribable pain that He suffered at the hands of sinful men was not upon His lips when He broke free from the grave.
No, He was utterly silent about the entire ordeal. He acted as though it never happened.
Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead.27
Many Christians cannot get over rejection, let alone misunderstanding. And that is why there is no resurrection in their lives.
In our own natural power, we are incapable of responding to pain the way Jesus did. But the good news of the gospel is that He lives inside of us, giving us both the power and the will to do His good pleasure. 28
The secret is in letting go.
Chesterton rightly said, “One sees great things from the valley; only small things from the peak.”29
A disciple in the school of Christ often learns more by suffering than by studying. Spiritual growth picks up its pace whenever you’re looking down from a cross, and brokenness is a prerequisite for usefulness.
If you are a Christian, then, expect to follow in the footsteps of your Lord. You will know the scalding pain and heartbreaking disillusionment of rejection.
How you respond, however, will determine if you become broken or bitter.
If you view such things from a natural plane, you may get so depressed that your eyes cross, feelingthat you have to climb up just to reach the bottom. These are the typical emotions that provoke grudges.
Someone once said that you don’t hold a grudge. It holds you. Holding a grudge is self-inflicted pain. Consequently, bitterness doesn’t imprison those who hurt you. It imprisons you.
Again, we do not have the strength to forgive others who wound us. But we have One who indwells us whose name is Forgiveness. And He is able and willing to forgive through us, releasing us and others.
You’d be wise, therefore, to seek to get behind the eyes of our Lord and see things from His vantage point.
You have a God who knows what it feels like to be rejected. But He also knows the preciousness of having a Bethany. A place where He is completely received, honored, and appreciated.
by Frank Viola author, from God’s Favorite Place on Earth.
While a detailed treatment of what the Bible says about the human conscience is beyond the scope of this book, I want to explore the human conscience and its role in our walk with God.
You can think of the conscience as a window by which the light of heaven shines through to our spirits. Through the conscience, the Holy Spirit corrects, reprimands, and makes us feel uneasy when we take a step that contradicts our new nature in Christ.
A believer’s conscience reproves sin and approves righteousness. In order to walk in the Spirit, we must learn how to be sensitive to the voice of our conscience. For the Christian, the conscience is an inward monitor which alerts us to our spiritual condition.
The conscience bears witness to God’s will (Rom. 2:15; 2 Cor. 4:2), and it testifies to the truth (Rom. 9:1; 2 Cor. 1:12; 5:11). Paul and Peter exhort us to follow our conscience (Rom. 13:5; 1 Cor. 10:25-29; 1 Pet. 2:19).
The New Testament describes five different states of the human conscience. They are . . .
* a cleansed or purified conscience (Heb. 9:9, 14). A conscience that has been cleansed from guilt and protest by the blood of Christ.
* a good, blameless, or clear conscience (Acts 23:1; 24:16; 1 Tim. 1:5, 19; 1 Tim. 3:9; 2 Tim. 1:3; Heb. 13:18; 1 Pet. 3:16, 21). A conscience that is free from guilt, protestation, or reprimand. The believer is walking in the Spirit and the dictates of his or her conscience. As a result, they have unclouded communion with God. There is no stain on the window, so God’s light can easily penetrate into their spirits.
* an evil or defiled conscience (Titus 1:15; Heb. 10:22). A conscience which protests that that a person is violating God’s will in their behavior or attitudes.
* a seared conscience (1 Tim 4:2). A conscience whose correction and protest has been ignored and suppressed. The individual has quenched and deadened the voice of their conscience.
* a week conscience (1 Cor. 8:7-12). A conscience that has been misinformed that some things are wrong for a particular individual when they are permissible for others (Paul uses the examples of eating meat and drinking wine in Romans 14 and 1 Corinthians 8).
It’s all too easy to hang on to a sinful attitude or practice and ignore the dictates of one’s conscience. I know, because I’ve done this myself in my foolishness.
If we will walk in the Spirit, then, we would be wise to let our conscience probe our lives, expose our faults, and accept its reprimands. Doing so is to deal with any sin in our lives by applying the blood of Christ which cleanses our conscience and repenting so that we may break free from sin’s consequences. In this way, the clouds that cover over the window of our conscience can be removed and God’s light can shine through without hindrance.
The fact is, the more closely a person walks with God, the more keenly alert they will be to the inward monitor of their conscience.
Excerpted from one of Frank Viola’s books