Over the past couple of weeks, I have shared with you the good habits that began while I was in college. I’m striving to maintain these habits today because I believe they are not only helpful, but necessary in ministry and life. I have seen them stand the test in the lives of spiritual leaders who continue to impact the world for Christ today.
Just as a review, the first habit was writing notes. We live in a day where bad news dominates the headlines and good news is buried below all the mess. Our mailboxes (even the digital type) can be inundated with discouraging items that it’s good to get a note from time to time. Proverbs 25:25 says it this way, “As cold waters to a thirsty soul, so is good news…”
The second habit was praying on the spot. How many times have we said this or have someone tell us, “I’m praying for you,” or “We’ll keep you in our prayers.” The expression is becomes trite and at times, frankly, hypocritical. If we did a survey, I wonder how many of those statements are really followed-up on with genuine prayer. Why wait? Pray now.
In this article, I would like to share with you another habit I picked up in college. It’s the habit of praising God and ignoring critics. (Let me say that when I mention the word “critic,” I’m talking about those who have no heart to help. They foolishly think that God has given them the right to have a critical spirit because they have justified the act in their mind. We are not speaking of those who come into our lives to provide criticism for the purpose or helping, edifying, and strengthening rather than destroying and discouraging.
While in college, I was part of a dynamic ministry in Lancaster Baptist Church. The ministry was making an impact, not just in southern California, but all over the world! People were saved, baptized, and discipled on a regular basis. Many believed that this should happen in an independent, fundamental, Baptist church – but not in southern California. After all, isn’t that the land of the fruits and nuts?
“He must be compromising!” “His standards aren’t scriptural.” “He’s not a real fundamentalist.” “He’s just all about numbers.” These were words that I’ve read and heard from various pastors and church leaders outside the ministry of LBC. There was, at a time (and may still be), a cornucopia of criticism directed at Pastor Paul Chappell and the ministries of Lancaster Baptist Church and West Coast Baptist College.
Since being at the college, I have also been privileged to be under the ministry of men who’s works are mightily blessed of God. I served with Pastor Dave Teis and the Liberty Baptist Church in Las Vegas, Nevada and I’m currently in my 13th year of ministry at Desert Gateway Baptist Church with Pastor Ron Leversee.
In the 18 years that have spanned my life and ministry, I have never ever heard these men answer their critics from the pulpit or anywhere in public. Instead, they just praised God and kept on serving Him! Their life’s example help instill this simple habit in my life: Praise God and ignore the critic.
You don’t have to be in full-time ministry to exercise this habit. Critics lurk in every corner as they unknowingly serve Satan in their efforts. Do something for God and they’ll make their presence known! Don’t let them affect you and deter you from God’s plan for your life. Ignore them and praise God. Why?
“Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them.” Psalm 119:165