Facing Your Critics

So I always take pains to have a clear conscience toward both God and man,” Acts 24:16

Question, “Do you have any critics in your life?”  I can anticipate some of you responding, “Are you kidding?”  The fact is all of us have critics.  Now for some of you, this may come as a shock.  You probably have been thinking that everyone likes you and everyone loves to hear what you have to say.  I am sorry to bust your bubble, but you are mistaken.  The fact is, anyone who stands for Christ will face strong critics.

Consider the Apostle Paul in Acts 24:1-23.  As Paul stands trail before the Roman authority we discover his critics are a formidable group.  His critics consist of the High Priest and some of the elders from the church.  These critics accuse Paul of the same crimes that Jesus was accused of in Lk. 23:2.  In my opinion, Paul was in good company.

These critics go so far as to accuse Paul of being, “A plague in society.”  As I read these words, I was reminded that people are already possessed with a plague called sin.  This plague is deadly and has a 100% success rate in the world.  All men die.  Jesus came to rescue a plagued world.  These critics were blinded by their plague and they crucified the one who offered them healing.

Now, just 30 years later they are wanting to kill Paul who was offering them the antidote for their sin.  Paul simply was a proclaimer of the gospel.

At this moment we must ask ourselves the following question, “How do you face such blinded critics?”  Here would be Paul’s answer:  “Focus on the gospel.”  This is exactly what Paul did in Vs:10-24.  The gospel gave Paul freedom to be able to say, “Check out my story and see if I am innocent of the charges against me.”  Paul was able to proclaim, “It is for the hope of the resurrection that I am on trial.”  Paul’s critics were against the gospel, not some sin in Paul’s life.

Brothers and sisters, if we are going to face critics, may it be for the gospel’s sake and not because we are hypocrites!  This very day there are many followers of Christ who claim they are facing critics when in fact they are facing the consequences of their failure to be clear of conscience before God and men.

You and I must work hard, Phil. 3:12-14, at living a life that is of clear conscience before God and men.  We must be committed to Gospel change in our personal lives.  When this happens there will be gospel clarity before the world.

So my challenge to you this day would be to live a consecrated life so that your critics would see the gospel and so that you would have and opportunity to share the gospel unhindered from any distraction.

For further reading consider I Thessalonians 5 and Kerry Shook’s book, “One Month to live.”  

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