By: Carole L. Haines
14 But even if you should suffer for the sake of righteousness, you are blessed. And do not fear their intimidation, and do not be in dread, 15 but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, but with gentleness and respect.(1Peter 3:14-15)
I have watched Jesus in the Gospels, noting how he interacts and responds to each person He encounters. This has really opened my heart to understand how He interacts and responds to me, to us, right here and now, in the modern day. As a person who has felt rejected most of her life, I have a hard time discerning who is a safe person, and who is not. I have begun to realize that I have developed a pattern of wrongly assessing all new people as “potential rejecters.”
Now this is not intentional, it has become an automatic response to all the pain. I cried out to the Lord Jesus about this knowing that He truly understands the pain of this malady. Isaiah describes Him as having,
“…No stately form or majesty
That we should look upon Him,
Nor appearance that we should be attracted to Him.
3 He was despised and forsaken of men,
A man of sorrows and acquainted with grief;
And like one from whom men hide their face
He was despised, and we did not esteem Him. (Isaiah 53:2b-3)
I have cried countless times due to these experiences of rejection that have scarred my life and as I was doing so recently, the Lord brought me to the following Scripture:
14 But even if you should suffer for the sake of righteousness, you are blessed. And do not fear their intimidation, and do not be in dread, 15 but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, but with gentleness and respect.
It was then that I realized that my fear of people was magnifying the pain of the rejections. The cure was to be found in the phrase, “but sanctify Christ as Lord in your heart.” The word ‘sanctify’ means- to separate from profane things and dedicate to God. To dedicate people to God. (Blue Letter Bible)
I sensed God saying to me, “Carole, you have not set me apart fully as Lord in your heart. You are allowing this fear to rule there instead of Me. You will never stop being afraid until you separate from this fear by dedicating your heart to Me alone.”
I sensed Him speaking words of comfort, but also a battle cry to raise the white flag of surrender and stop trying to be my own protector. It has been sobering to realize just how long I have tried to do this with only half a shield of faith. I grieve all the wasted years. But my God is a restorer and redeemer. He will give me back all that was lost in my wandering, trying to be my own savior and protector.
Is there a place in your life that has dominated you or controlled you for far too long? Hear the words He has spoken today, “Sanctify, set apart, Christ Jesus as Lord in your heart.” He alone can be your deliverer from whatever is holding you back and keeping you down. He alone can save you.