How to Stand Against Popular Opinion
"Why is the LORD taking us to this country only to have us die in battle? Our wives and our little ones will be carried off as plunder! Wouldn't it be better for us to return to Egypt?" (Numbers 14:3 NLT)
In 1979 I was finishing up seminary in Fort Worth, Texas, and I felt like God was calling me to Southern California to start Saddleback Church. So I phoned a guy that I respected a lot and told him what I thought God wanted me to do.
You know what he told me? "Rick, that's the dumbest idea I ever heard. You go out to California, and you'll never be heard from again. It's not going to happen." He poured cold water all over my dream!
Any time you get serious about using your life the way God wants you to use it, there are going to be people who oppose it. You're going to have friends and maybe even family members who oppose you, because Satan is going to throw everything he can at you to keep you from fulfilling your calling. One reason why so few people actually fulfill God's calling is because they are unwilling to go against popular opinion.
If you want to follow God's calling on your life, you must be willing to reject negative advice, no matter who it comes from.
The Bible says in Numbers 14:2-3, "Their voices rose in a great chorus of protest against Moses and Aaron. 'If only we had died in Egypt, or even here in the wilderness!' they complained. 'Why is the LORD taking us to this country only to have us die in battle? Our wives and our little ones will be carried off as plunder! Wouldn't it be better for us to return to Egypt?'" (NLT) When faced with difficult circumstances, the Israelites decided they actually preferred slavery to freedom because it was safe. Rather than following God and doing what he had called them to do, they wanted to go back to their old way of life.
But one of their leaders, Caleb, had uncommon courage. He decided he was going to face the challenges with God's help, even if he was scared. He was ready to reject negative advice in order to follow God's calling.
In fact, Caleb didn't just receive negative advice. Numbers 14:10 says, "The whole community began to talk about stoning Joshua and Caleb. Then the glorious presence of the LORD appeared to all the Israelites at the Tabernacle."
I love the fact that God's presence saved Caleb and Joshua. That will happen in your life, too. Pioneers always get the arrow in the back. You've got to determine now to reject negative advice if you're going to go after God's calling in your life.
Talk It Over
- What slavery are you willing to go back to rather than move forward and take a risk?
- When you evaluate the advice you've received lately from people you love and trust, how much of it helps you move in the direction of your calling? How much of it is negative advice?
- Why is it so difficult sometimes to go against popular opinion or the advice of our friends?