And God also selected (deliberately chose) what in the world is lowborn and insignificant and branded and treated with contempt, even the things that are nothing, that He might depose and bring to nothing the things that are,
1 Corinthians 1:28 (Amplified)
Have you ever heard the phrase “You’re known by the company you keep?” If you’re like me, I’ve heard this growing up from my parents…heard it in church from the pastors…and I’ve heard it from my own mouth. This statement is very true. Those we spend our time with have influence in our lives. It’s a principle that never expires. Bill Cosby once said, “Show me your friends, and I will show you your future.” How true this is.
I believe the opposite of this statement is also true. Who you are not spending your time with can also reflect personal experiences as well. For some, avoidance of certain cliques and people groups must be maintained at all costs because of background, experience, family reasons, etc. Some avoid certain people because of past hurts and rejections.
How do you handle rejection? It’s the big “R” word that everyone experiences, but no one likes to talk about. Rejection can come in all forms. Rejection can be something you are doing, or something someone else may be doing to you.
I find this statement of Paul’s quite intriguing. In 1 Corinthians 1, Paul is addressing division and quarrels in the church of Corinth. How interesting!!! The place where love should prevail, has been found to be the place where strife and contempt has been breeding. Paul goes to the heart of the matter quickly.
Basically, Paul says–“Who do you think you are?” Ever heard that from a parent or sibling? Where can we begin to think that any of us is better than the other?
I love James 4:1-4. Here is the Amplified version:
What leads to strife (discord and feuds) and how do conflicts (quarrels and fightings) originate among you? Do they not arise from your sensual desires that are ever warring in your bodily members?
You are jealous and covet [what others have] and your desires go unfulfilled; [so] you become murderers. [To hate is to murder as far as your hearts are concerned.] You burn with envy and anger and are not able to obtain [the gratification, the contentment, and the happiness that you seek], so you fight and war. You do not have, because you do not ask. [I John 3:15.]
[Or] you do ask [God for them] and yet fail to receive, because you ask with wrong purpose and evil, selfish motives. Your intention is [when you get what you desire] to spend it in sensual pleasures.
You [are like] unfaithful wives [having illicit love affairs with the world and breaking your marriage vow to God]! Do you not know that being the world’s friend is being God’s enemy? So whoever chooses to be a friend of the world takes his stand as an enemy of God.
Rejection–either our rejection of another, or our being rejected from someone else–all stem from greed and selfish ambitions. A great picture of this can be found in marriage: When a wife wants acceptance from her husband and doesn’t receive loving affection in the way she understands–she feels rejected. Often times the wife will then display rejection towards her husband because her need was not met. So goes the unending cycle of selfish ambition and rejection.
The cycle of rejection will only come to an end in your life when you humble yourself and recognize your own shortcomings. Much like Paul told the Corinthian church: Who are you? Where did you come from? You were elected, chosen, set apart by God. It wasn’t your wonderful skills, talents, abilities, personality, or good looks that got you anywhere with Him. He is an all-sufficient God and needs nothing. He chose what was dust. He chose what was rejected. He chose what had nothing, and made it to become something.
My friends, what we have become in Christ, is not of ourselves, but for His glory He chose us and displays His glory in us. If you are struggling with feelings of rejection or are treating others with rejection, begin to recognize the humility of your God who chose you when you deserved to be rejected. Humble yourself today and recognize your need for love and acceptance from your Heavenly Father. Allow the same love and acceptance you’ve been given to flow through you and out of you to others. Allow this love and acceptance that comes from His Glory to heal and sustain you today!
Who you spend time with makes a big difference! Choose today to make Christ your friend. Allow Him to be the influencer of your life. Allow Him to sustain your life by the love of the Father. Put away the illicit love affair with yourself and vanities, and choose today the one who chose you!