Is There Negativity (i.e., "Haters") In Your Life?
Negativity is a reference to speech or people who trying to put counter-productive thoughts in your mind and stop your godly progress. The slang expression “haters” is explained below.
In Nehemiah 4:7-14, the people of God had made progress on rebuilding the walls around Jerusalem. Sanballat and others rose up with negative comments. And even among the people of God there were negative comments.
It used to be a popular expression among young people ("young people" change so quickly, especially in the eyes of "old people" - smile) in describing those who were talking negatively about them to say that the negative commentators were "hating" on them.
In spite of the negative comments or "hating" in our text, Nehemiah urged the people to prayerfully keep on working.
When we make progress in doing what God is calling us to do, we should not be surprised when negativity comes from those around us and sometimes even out of our own mouths. We should not be surprised when the "haters" come.
However, if we continue to prayerfully work towards God’s calling on our lives, we can make it. The thesis (i.e., message in a sentence) of this series of devotionals, "When the 'Haters' Come," is that we should counter negativity with prayerful work.
In this devotional, let's focus on the matter of negativity or "haters." Some of it will come from our enemies. As in the text (vs. 11), there are those who don’t like us and will try to hinder our progress. The devil is real. The devil is very influential.
He can influence people who don’t even know us to oppose us (see Eph. 6: 12). Bosses who have no personal gripe against us can be used to terminate us on our jobs.
Violent people who don't know us personally can be used to shot us in a drive by or some random and senseless act of violence. Loan officers who see us only as numbers can be used to deny loans for houses and business ventures.
As in the text (vs. 12), some of the harmful comments towards our progress will come from those around us. Those who we thought would be supportive and happy for us can be the most harmful people in our lives.
Those we thought would have been supportive of our efforts to make our marriage work, to raise our children in the Lord, and to be a godly influence among family members may be the ones who give us the hardest time.
It is so sad to see how even in the church, there are "haters." There are people who will speak harmfully about your efforts to be in Bible studies, to tithe, to express yourself in worship, to be loving and supportive of fellow church members, and to follow pastoral leadership.
A key aim of this devotional is to help you brace yourself for counter-productive comments. God is still calling you to carry out His will, in spite of the "haters."
Just like we ought not to allow the fact that there are some mean people in the world to stop us from enjoying our lives, we ought not to allow “haters” to stop us from carrying out God’s will for our lives. We should be aware of negativity and act according. We should not allow it to stop us.
Is there negativity in your life?
Make a list of the "haters" on your job, in your family and circle of friends, in your church, in your community, etc.?
On a scale of one to five, with five high, how well are you doing with pursing God’s will for your life, in spite of their harmful attitudes and actions?
What are you doing to develop and maintain a grade of five?
Great and awesome God, I praise You for being such an awesome God who has a marvelous plan for Your people. I thank You for saving me and allowing me to be numbered among Your people. I thank You for allowing me to be among those who You have called to do great things.
I confess that I have not always done my best to discern and obey Your will for my life. I pray that You would forgive me for this and my many others sins, in the name of Jesus.
Please help me to work even harder at making progress in carrying out Your will for my life.
Help me to stay focused, even when "haters" and negativity come into my life. If they show up on my job, in my family and friends, and even in my church, help me stay focused and keep doing your will.
I thank You, in the name or Your Son and my Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.
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Dr. Robert E. Baines, Jr.
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