The Cup of Rejection
To be called as a prophet of the Lord is to share and partake in the sufferings of Christ and one of those sufferings and cups to drink that cannot be passed on is certainly the cup of rejection. (Isaiah 53:3) Rejection is extremely painful, especially when it comes from family members, friends, and people in ministry that you thought you could trust. I imagine the pain of what Jesus must have experienced in the Garden of Gethsamene or perhaps even at Calvary, being rejected and despised by those even closest to Him.
It only takes a cursory reading of all the Old Testament prophets to understand that they too were men who were deeply rejected. What about the New Testament? John the Baptist was rejected, Jesus Christ was rejected, and many of the prophets that came after Him continued to be rejected. In fact, Scripture is clear that one of the signs of a false prophet is that everyone loves everything they prophesy. (Jeremiah 5:31) In the words of Jesus, He said, “Woe to you when all men speak well of you.” (Luke 6:26) According to the testimony of both the prophets themselves and Jesus Christ, there is no way around rejection if you are truly called as a prophet of the Lord.
Working Through My Own Personal Rejection
Speaking from personal experience, even if you understand at some levels that rejection is part of your prophetic calling and development, it does not make it any less painful when you lose friendships and things turn south rather quickly. I have personally experienced rejection prophetically both on a personal and national level. I can remember vividly a particular week where I received over 1,000 pieces of hate mail and horrible things were said about me simply because of a national prophetic word I had released. I have been rejected by people in ministry who I once considered very dear friends. I recently was sent an email containing contents from a certain leader in the body of Christ who was warning other leaders in the body of Christ to stay away from “Jeremiah Johnson” because of in their words, “how dangerous I am to the body of Christ.”
I have had seasons where I was receiving so much rejection from those around me that I cried on the phone to one of my spiritual fathers and said, “I am struggling so greatly with rejection right now that I honestly cannot discern the voice of God from the voice of my accusers in this season.” Now that’s scary!
Three Pieces of Advice to Prophets of the Lord
Having walked through several deep seasons of rejection and anticipating many more to come on my prophetic journey, I have prayed through three pieces of advice and lessons I have learned in my own struggles that I hope can encourage other prophets who are on their own journey to fulfill God’s call on their life. Here are the three pieces of advice that I have learned:
1. You must receive rejection as part of your prophetic training, but choose not to operate in a spirit of rejection.
This is where the path of a prophet and the need for healthy and mature development can become very difficult. As a prophet of the Lord, you will be trained by the rejection of men, but it is not healthy nor is it the will of God that you walk in a spirit of rejection. When prophets operate out of a spirit of rejection, they are convinced that they are constantly “alone” in their calling and everyone is either against them now or will be in the future. The spirit of rejection operating in a wounded prophet’s life has convinced them that it’s them versus the world and they are out to prove everyone wrong. The motive of the heart behind prophets who operate out of the spirit of rejection is to show the world and religion how bad they missed it with them. These prophets with wounds of rejection have what I call a “told you so” approach to life and ministry. Every open door and potential favor that God gives them, in their eyes, is twisted into proving to their critics how anointed they really were in the first place. These types of attitudes and heart postures are not only signs that a prophet is operating in a spirit of rejection, but they are extremely grieving to God the Father and not a sign of a mature prophetic anointing.
2. You must not interpret Godly correction as persecution.
It is one thing to be persecuted for righteousness sake and be asked to drink the cup of rejection as part of your prophetic calling, but it is another issue altogether to refuse to submit to any type of correction that will come through Godly fathers and mothers around you. Prophets who operate in a spirit of rejection actually interpret Godly correction as rejection or persecution. They have been so wounded by people in the past that they do not know how to trust even those who God is sending them to instruct and develop them into a more mature prophet. Mature prophets who have suffered from rejection but do not walk in a spirit of rejection are being actively fathered or mothered in some capacity. These mature prophets have leaders and trusted friends around them that are helping them process and work through their pain of being rejected as part of their calling. Behind every isolated prophet is hiding a deep wound of rejection. The truth is that they often times want to be rejected and even purposely try to be rejected so that they can remain a victim and center of attention. They get rejected because they are rebellious, not because they are actually fulfilling their prophetic assignment. THERE IS A BIG DIFFERENCE!
Prophets who operate in a spirit of rejection have convinced themselves that no one can be trusted, regardless of how Godly they are. This is an extremely dangerous place to be as a prophet of the Lord and will certainly stunt your growth in the prophetic call upon your life.
3. You must use the rejection of men to always properly examine your motives and heart.
In perhaps my greatest season of rejection, I reached out to one of my spiritual fathers, and brought before him an accusation that had been launched against me. I was looking for comfort and for him to reassure me that what was being said about me was just a big lie. It was so painful that I had a hard time even telling him on the phone what it was. To my great surprise, as I shared what the accusation was, he quickly answered back and said, “What if it’s true?” I was stunned to silence. Did he really just ask me that? Could God actually use the hurtful words and rejection of men to further the character of Christ inside of me? Say it isn’t so!
My spiritual father on the phone said, “Jeremiah, you must not waste this season of rejection. God is using it for your good. You must ask yourself, “What is God trying to crucify inside of me through these hurtful words from others?” This challenge, encouragement, and ultimate gentle rebuke launched me into one of the deepest seasons of prayer, fasting, soul searching, and release of pain and hurt that I have ever known.
The Rejection of Men is a Blessing
If someone said I was rebellious, I actually considered it! If someone said I was arrogant, I actually took it to the Lord and said, “Are they right?” See, I learned and am very much still learning that the rejection I receive from men is actually a set up by God Himself to see what I will do with it. Will I ignore it or just write it off, blinded by my own pride and pain, or will I allow every ounce of rejection to conform me into the image and likeness of Jesus. Over the last several years I have finally realized that some rejection that I have received from men is actually justified. They were right. I was immature, I was arrogant, and I was wounded. I have done my best to apologize and move forward, but I’m actually grateful for all that has been said about me, both good and bad.
The truth is that I now can say with a clear conscience that I count the rejection of men as a blessing in my life. It is an instrument in the hand of the Lord intended to keep me humble, questioning my own heart and motives, and drawing me ever so close to the comfort of My Father in heaven as I mature as a prophet of the Lord. I have resolved that if the price to pay to fulfill the prophetic call upon my life is my reputation, then I gladly give it up and will await Judgment Day for the clearing up of my name.
I pray that what I have written will be an encouragement and challenge to my fellow brothers and sisters who are called as prophets of the Lord. I am sorry for your pain. I am sorry for your losses. You are not alone. You do not have to prove your critics wrong. In fact, your attempt to will only grieve the Holy Spirit. Allow the rejections of men to send you on a healthy search for any areas in your own life that need adjustment and correction. Find people and leaders around you that can help you to be objective when necessary. Never excuse your rebelliousness or bad attitude from being addressed and confronted by others. And most importantly, though God has chosen to train you in your calling by the rejection of men, it is not His will or desire that you operate in a spirit of rejection. There is healing and freedom available today for you. It starts by humbling ourselves and praying.
Grace and Peace,