But they have not all obeyed the Gospel. For Isaiah says, “Who has believed what they have heard from us?” Romans 10:16
How much does this passage reveal about the personal responsibility Paul felt for other’s rejection of Christ? For any who open their mouth to share the Gospel with their heart fully engaged, there are minefields emotionally. No matter how much you invest beforehand, there will be times when few respond. For the one who preached, that can be internalized as personal failure.
This was my Achilles heel for many years. If I had worked hard to prepare to teach, if I had engaged others to fast/pray for me and for the group I was speaking to, if I had asked God for a fresh anointing before traveling, then I had an expectation of tangible, successful results. When I didn’t see signs of the impact I had expected, I took it personally. I concluded that something had to be wrong with what I had done. I cited the examples from the New Testament when the apostles went out in the power of the Spirit and thousands believed but I failed to take into account that this was the exception. More often than not, a few were converted but the majority rejected the Gospel.
The Spirit of God had to set me free from this destructive stronghold in my thinking. He worked within me to help me define ‘effective’ teaching. He reminded me that Jesus was certainly effective, yet He told His disciples that the masses would walk the road to destruction while a few would walk through the narrow gate. Regarding those who shrug their shoulders and walk away, I am not responsible. God bears the burden and invites me to ‘shake the dust off my feet’ when the message is not received. Bearing the burden for other’s spiritual blindness is a plot Satan has conceived. Jesus is the lifter of our heads.
Set other perfectionists free and use my story of failure, Lord. Amen