In 2003ish my pastor took me and others to an out of town conference. While there, God showed me a glimpse of an enormous dream that was the call on my life. It was a small revelation into a huge vision and at the time I was in no place for the dream to materialize (even though I thought I was lol). God gave me just enough in a glimpse for me to hold on to during the years to follow that were filled with many mountains and many dry dry valleys. Do you remember when God gave you the glimpse of a dream that is the promise He has for you? Maybe you are still waiting. I can't wait to share all God showed me during those waiting periods when I publish a book this year called "Wisdom in Waiting: Warring to God-Sized Dreams Through Man-Sized Mountains". But I digress.
Immediately after seeing the glimpse at that conference with my pastor, my secular career quickly started advancing. But I never forgot the dream God showed me at that conference sitting in a balcony with thousands of other people. Shortly after returning I became the youngest, least tenured person to get promoted in my position at the court. The opportunities can only be explained by favor. But this favor came with a cross – a cross of jealous people all around me. I was slandered and misunderstood all the way to “the top.”
Listen, maybe your character is being slandered and you've been misunderstood by a spirit of jealousy attached to people surrounding you. Jealous peers (or those seeking to get to your level) will stop at no end to lie and slander your name. And jealous spirits who supervise you will do the same (lie and slander) and also use their position of authority to oppress or take credit for anything that you put your hand to. I've never been about "credit" because all glory goes to God. So I always shared everything He gives me with others. No sense reinventing the wheel. If it'll bless other people - praise God. If it'll bless my enemies - praise God (true story).
And I have news for you...the closer you get to God’s promises, the more deceptive the lies and slander will become. I have seen first hand how jealous people will disguise themselves with the appearance of truth and having a “form of godliness.” This means the slander and lies they spread will even deceive those around you. 2 Timothy 3:5 warns us to stay away from such people.
Early in my career the slander was so blatantly obvious and it was easy to not defend myself because, to be honest – those who were slandering me were doing a great job making fools of themselves. I didn't need to defend myself or my character. But the closer God brings me to His purposes, the more discernment it has taken to recognize those who are jealous and the more wisdom it has taken to discern exactly how to respond to this spirit.
The best advice I can give you from personal experience is to keep your mouth shut and do not feed this jealous spirit that has a “form of godliness” 2 Timothy 3:5. Fight the urge to get defensive when you are slandered or your character is attacked. Keep silent. The Lord will fight your battle. "The Lord will fight for you while you keep silent" Exodus 14:14. Isn't that an awesome promise? Let's look at Jesus' reaction when He was slandered and falsely accused. When He was being falsely accused He stayed silent and it "quite amazed" the governor.
"And while He was being accused by the chief priests and elders (in other words-church folk-come on somebody), He did not answer. And He did not answer him with regard to even a single charge, so the governor was quite amazed" Matthew 27:12, 14.
Be still. Be silent. God is your defender. When you take the bait of defending your character or trying in whatever way to fix the damage caused, you are actually feeding in to the jealous spirit. "Stop" in "All Ways" (like this sign instructs) from feeding into it...stop in your mind (mulling it over and over and over again), in your actions (shunning or cutting off people), in your words (slandering them back and gossiping). Stop feeding into the slander and persecution. You are actually giving it fuel. Stop in all ways. Move forward. Let them say what they want about you. You and God know the truth and He knows your heart. Let Him deal with them. You have a high call and a high vision. It will come with a heavy cross. Consider the cost.
“For the vision is yet for the appointed time; It hastens toward the goal and it will not fail.
Though it tarries, wait for it; For it will certainly come, it will not delay.”
Rest on the pattern of favor on your life and during those dry dry lonely valleys, hold on tight to the promises that God gave you glimpses of that define you. The lies, slander and deception do not define you. God’s promises do. The vision He gave you, may tarry but it has an appointed time – wait patiently for it (Habakkuk 2:3).
In the meantime – when jealousy knocks, respond with: love, humility, honor and earnestly (with a pure heart) pray for those who persecute you. This is absolutely not easy but what if getting to your promise land....your dream....means getting persecuted and slandered all the way there? It happened to Jesus— by the religious people, and even people who were shouting Hosanna! What makes you think it won't happen to you? Man can persecute your dream all they want. God is the dream maker. Trust in Him.
******Total random side note*****
I have lots of stop sign pictures and I chose this one, not just for the caption underneath "all way," depicting this was a 4 way stop, but also because of the abandoned old barn in the background. There is something I love dearly about these old abandoned barns. No spiritual tie in. I just love Tennessee back roads through the woods with scenes like this. Maybe some day God will bless me with one to convert on the inside into a modern day "She Shed" where I can write all day and night. #DREAMS