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Rejected! Rejected!
    by Cary Branscum

I have this against you, you have left your first love. (Revelation 2:4)

    Rejection hurts and its effects linger. Whether it is being rejected by a love interest, a parent, or a friend, nearly everyone “gets” to experience this feeling.

    Rejection hurts deep inside our hearts, because we feel like we just didn’t measure up. It reminds us of other times we didn’t measure up and before we realize it, we’re a mess. The pain is very real. If unchecked, we end up expecting our picture to appear in the newspaper with the headline reading LOCAL LOSER!

    If you’re hurting from the pain of rejection right now, I’d like to give you something to think about as you deal with the hurt. Rejection says a lot more about who and what THOSE who rejected you are, than about who and what YOU are.

    How many times have you rejected a significant relationship with someone without a good reason? Maybe it had to do with where you were in your life. Maybe it could be attributed to your own feelings of insecurity. Maybe it was just not wanting to be involved in the stress of a relationship. You weren’t saying they were a bad person, it was really more about it being bad timing in your life. Often times the relationship rejections we receive have far more to do with the REJECTOR than the REJECTED!

    As significant as this kind of rejection is, I want us to think about spiritual rejection.

    Where do you live? How do you live? Do you feel close to God? Have you rejected God by neglect, just drifting away from him like a boat that has slowly drifted away from the dock and is now far away at sea? It happens very slowly. We say we love Jesus, and then, we don’t talk to him, we don’t talk about him, we don’t read his words, we don’t meet with his people. That sounds a little like rejection from neglect to me.

    While the book of Revelation can be hard to understand, I want to draw your attention to something very clear, found in Revelation 2:4. John is writing to the church in Ephesus. He praises them for doing some good things, then he calls something their attention. They have left their first love.

    What is John talking about here? They have forgotten about their relationship Jesus! They have been so busy living, working, guarding the truth, and doing good things that they have forgotten the reason for the church. Love for Jesus and a loving attitude have simply been left behind. It’s all work, outward forms, and preoccupation, rather than passion for the Savior and his people. It’s rejection by neglect.

We forget about our relationship with Jesus.
    We get so busy with life, so busy at work, and even so busy in church, that we forget about our relationship with Jesus.

    What can we do about this? John says to repent and do the “first works.” Let’s look at each of these two ideas:

  1. Repentance means a change of direction in both our heart and life. It means to turn around and to go another direction, God’s direction. For us, it means to put the brakes on sin! It means to go after the “good stuff” that builds relationship with the Savior, and to quit going after the “bad stuff.” It means we call a halt our slide away from God, from Jesus, and from all we know to be good. Most of all, it means to pursue a relationship with our Lord.

  2. Do the “first works” means to do the loving things we used to do in our walk with Christ. It means to do the things that kept us close to God when we first became a Christian. Oftentimes, a business will “diversify” in order to expand and grow. There’s nothing wrong with that unless it forgets to do the good things that brought success in the first place. When a football team begins to lose, they don’t look for some new gimmick or player, they go back to working on the basics like blocking and tackling. When relationships grow stale, they are often rekindled when the couple goes back and does the same kind of things that they did when they first fell in love. In our walk with Jesus, that is precisely what we need to do!

    How about you? What were the things you first did when you first fell in love with Jesus? Did you study? ...pray? ...praise him? ...regulary meet with other Christians?

    Maybe you need to get back to basics. Maybe it’s time to get back to the love you had at first!

    I want you to daydream a little. Think back to a time when you were close to Jesus, when He walked with you like a trusted friend. Now, I want you to answer these questions: Where were you when you had this close relationship? What were you doing when your relationship with Jesus was more real? What needs did Jesus meet in your life? What kept that close relationship going? List the things you were or did, and then go back and do the things that you did at first, asking God to rekindle your relationship.

    You know how it feels to be rejected in your life. Now think about Jesus. He came to earth, died for our sins, and was raised from the dead. He did this to give us salvation and enable us to have a closer relationship with him. Let’s not allow rejection by neglect to infiltrate our walk with Jesus. Let’s get back to doing the things that we did once before by living consciously and passionately for him!

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About the Author...
Cary Branscum is the Singles minister at the Westover Hills Church of Christ in Austin, Texas.

Title: "Rejected!"
Author: Cary Branscum
Publication Date: March 21, 2000



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