“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16)

As Christians we are quick to laud the accomplishments of revivalists, evangelists and Christian musicians—creative people whose ideas have transformed our world. We celebrate the great innovators of the gospel; from Charles Finney to Billy Graham to Keith Green and Rich Mullins—viewing their work for the Lord as an asset to Christendom. We speak highly of these innovators who spoke the raw truth from the Bible and we say that we would love to follow in their footsteps.

But it’s all a lie. This is the thing about speaking God’s truth; no matter how creative or innovative you may be in presenting it, it is rarely acknowledged. Most people don’t actually like it. People are biased against boldness and creative thinking—despite all of their insistence otherwise.

The internet is filled with biographies of great men and women of God who thought outside of the box in order to bring the gospel to their generation and how God rewarded them for their faithfulness. We think of these people in a heroic manner, and we celebrate them, but when confronted with the opportunity to do the same, we shrink away in fear.

That’s because most people are risk-adverse. As much as we celebrate those who boldly speak the truth in love, most Christians avoid stirring things up—especially if it means the possibility of being rejected by fellow Christians. (Or their worldly friends)

Take Keith Green for example: At the height of his career many Christians looked to Keith as a type of prophet. Many would symbolically pat him on the back and admire him for his boldness, but could never imagine themselves doing the same thing for fear of rejection. But to Keith rejection actually facilitated his creative process—and drew him even closer to God.

Rejection is a common and often infuriating experience for a person who is completely sold out to God. I have watched people with the most interesting and “out of the box” ideas get ignored or ridiculed by the Church in favor of those who repeat an established tradition.

“Everybody hates it when something’s really great,” says essayist and art critic Dave Hickey. He is famous for his scathing critiques against the art world, particularly against art education, which he believes institutionalizes mediocrity through its systematic rejection of good ideas. Art is going through what Hickey calls a “stupid phase.”

This is also true within the Church. We tend to find the easy way out—either by not engaging in boldly speaking the truth or by completely conforming to those who we believe will be evaluating us.

Unfortunately, the place where our boldness goes to die is the place that should be most open to it—the Church. Historically, pastors overwhelmingly discriminate against those in their flock who are knowledgeable in Scripture and desire to boldly speak God’s truth, favoring instead those who more readily follow directions and do what they’re told.

All of this negativity isn’t easy to digest, and rejection can be painful in some of the same ways physical pain hurts. But there is a glimmer of hope in all of this. Rejection is not actually bad—and can even facilitate even more boldness. Godly men in the Bible, from the prophets of the Old Testament, to Jesus and the apostles, were constantly rejected by their own people. So if you are boldly speaking God’s truth from Scripture and feel that you might not belong, the act of being rejected confirms that you’re doing what’s right in the sight of God. Rejection can liberate you from the need to fit in and allow you to pursue God’s interests rather than man’s.

Perhaps for some, the pain of rejection is like the pain of training for a marathon. Believe me; you’re going to need it! A marathon runner trains their body and mind for endurance by constantly pushing themselves beyond their limits.

“Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win. Everyone who competes in the games exercises self-control in all things. They then do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. Therefore I run in such a way, as not without aim; I box in such a way, as not beating the air; but I discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified.” (1 Corinthians 9:24-27)

God’s truths sometimes take a very long time to be accepted. The more God’s truth contradicts Church tradition, the longer it might take. Even the work of Nobel Prize winners was commonly rejected by their peers for an extended period of time.

To live boldly for God is a choice. You must make a commitment in your own mind and with the possibility that you will not be accepted. You have to let go of satisfying other people—often even yourself.

“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Deuteronomy 31:6)
Leonard Ravenhill Biography:

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