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Summary: The Lord teaches us how to use criticisms as motivations for greater godliness, holiness and maturity through the life of Paul

How To Turn Criticisms In to Motivations

(Acts 17:1-9)

Illustration:How to Bury a Good Idea

It will never work,

We’ve never done it that way before.

We’re doing fine without it.

We can’t afford it.

We’re not ready for it.

It’s not our responsibility.

Bits & Pieces, June 23, 1994, p. 10.

1. Have you ever wondered how God interprets criticisms from unbelievers or carnal Christians? No doubt those who are chastised by men are precious in the sight of God.

Yet, criticisms often tell us more about how God is using us to prick men’s consciences with the truth. We also want to learn how to avoid becoming guilty of succumbing to the self-destructive tendencies of critics.

When the Jews hired some thugs to stir up the crowds in Thessalonica against Paul, they hurled horrendous attacks on the man of God. Dr. Luke wrote, “But the unbelieving Jews were aroused to jealousy, they gathered a mob, set the city in an uproar and attacked the house of Jason seeking to bring Paul and Silas to the people.” (Acts 17:5)

They were indirectly giving Paul a compliment for stirring up so much interest in the truth of the Lord Jesus. When the odds are against you it is time to give thanks for the way God is arousing interest in the good news of Jesus Christ.

Ask the Lord to help you to put a positive spin on negative situations.

2. Criticisms often expose more about the critic than anything else. When people try to whip up criticism it is often a reflection of their selfish desires. (James 4:1-4)

Ask the Lord to help you to see critics for who and what they are.

3. Paul knew that criticism may reveal self-destructive behavior that needs to be met with the following responses:

Affirming others with the fruits of the Spirit (Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness and self-control)

Respecting people and their positions

Tolerance for different opinions, background or levels of maturity

Speaking the truth in love let us grow up in all aspect in to Christ.

Showing the serenity to accept the things we cannot change, the courage to change what we can through Christ and the wisdom to know when obedience is sufficient

Forgiveness and acceptance even as Christ as forgiven and accepted us

Calmness in the face of provocation while remaining honest and wholesome

Trusting in God’s sovereign ability to fight the battles for you and protect

Overcoming evil with good

Humility, Prayerfulness and Teachability

Confidence, Hopefulness & Optimism in the Promises of God (Rom. 4:20,21)

Cooperative, Amiable & Collaborative

Objective reliance on the truth of God’s grace rather than imprisoned by the law

Thanking God for the freedoms in Christ

Meekness while yielding to Christ’s authority, power and purposes

Illustration:Lord, deliver me from the lust of vindicating myself.

Augustine.

Conclusion:Being criticized is not a problem if you develop a positive way of dealing with it. Winston Churchill had the following words of Abe Lincoln framed on the wall of his office: "I do the very best I can, I mean to keep going. If the end brings me out all right, then what is said against me won’t matter. If I’m wrong, ten angels swearing I was right won’t make a difference."

Bits & Pieces, April 29, 1993, pp. 15-16 .

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