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On Becoming A Servant Leader Pt. 4
Stats: 4,637 words / Reading Time: 23.19 mins

Published: Tuesday 28th January 2020

On Becoming A Servant Leader Pt. 4 is read 431 times on CentreNDL.org 431

On Becoming A Servant Leader Pt. 4

How to Manage Criticisms and Overcome Your Critics

I am sure you remember we are on the series that is titled: On Becoming A Servant Leader, and you have been blessed I believe over the last few weeks. The first thing we examined under that series was titled Reconsider Your 3Ps, and then we moved unto The Three Strategic Questions of Your Purpose, and last week, as the Lord helped us, we considered Rise to The Task Beyond Your Title. Today, we will continue in the same series: On Becoming A Servant Leader, and I believe that God has a word for you. Today we are considering How to Manage Criticisms and Overcome Your Critics, under the bigger headline: On Becoming A Servant Leader.




In the book of Nehemiah chapter 4, we will be reading a few verses there. You could read the entire chapter on your own for better understanding of what we will be discussing today, How to Manage Criticisms and Overcome Critics. I am sure you know that a servant leader is not there because of himself or herself, a servant leader is there fulfilling whatever task, because God has mandated him or her to do it, not for himself or herself, but for the good of the people, and for the glory of God. So, a servant leader must understand that towards doing a good thing for your people and toward glorifying God on a particular task, there will be criticisms, and there will be critics. So, how can you manage those criticisms that will be coming ahead and how can you probably overcome your critics? Those individuals that are bent on stopping you at all cost.


So, I will read Nehemiah chapter 4, from verse 1-3 so that we will have a background with that.


"But it so happened, when Sanballat heard that we were rebuilding the wall, that he was furious and very indignant, and mocked the Jews." 2 And he spoke before his brethren and the army of Samaria, and said, “What are these feeble Jews doing? Will they fortify themselves? Will they offer sacrifices? Will they complete it in a day? Will they revive the stones from the heaps of rubbish—stones that are burned?” 3 Now Tobiah the Ammonite was beside him, and he said, “Whatever they build, if even a fox goes up on it, he will break down their stone wall."


We can see three different actions of Sanballat in that passage. It says he was furious, he was very indignant and that he mocked the Jews as well. Now, that phrase in verse 3 shows us the caption of the criticisms. What is the criticisms? It is embedded in the statement "Whatever they do!" You know, when you get to a point in life that God is helping you, and people even conclude "whatever you do henceforth, whatever", you know, it looks like a prophecy of doom. And if you note that that statement of whatever they do, it is not from a lover or someone who just want to speak over a matter. It is from somebody who is an enemy of progress, and you must know how to manage the statement coming from such people.


And that is why, over the next few verses, I will be sharing with us some ideas that the Holy Spirit has given unto me that can guide you and I in managing criticisms, what our enemies are saying and then overcoming them. Don't forget that these enemies are not the type that you have based on your family background or because of the state that you were born. These are not the enemies we are dealing with today. Don't forget, the focus is On Becoming a Servant Leader, and as a servant leader, you are a man or a woman of influence, and you are emerging in authority, you are carrying out tasks and not carried away by your title, you are fulfilling your purpose and getting yourself busy on the task that God has committed into your hands.


In that state, there is a guarantee tendency for oppositions to arise against you, and when the opposition comes, those who are opposing you and the statement of your oppositions, it is important that you put it in the right perspective so that you will be able to finish your work and at the same time, deal very well with them.


Now the first point I noted in verse 4, and I want to read it. It says: "Hear, O our God, for we are despised; turn their reproach on their own heads, and give them as plunder to a land of captivity! 5 Do not cover their iniquity, and do not let their sin be blotted out from before You; for they have provoked You to anger before the builders." Now, the builders here are also supposed to be called leaders. So, the servant leaders are also the servant builders. Now, because they had provoked the leaders, that is, you who have a tendency and the responsibility to help in the work that God has called you to do, because they provoked you, God is angry. And how is God angry? Because Nehemiah did the first thing that we must always do when we are faced with criticisms in the cause of our responsibilities.


He sent their criticisms to God. He understood that he was not a servant leader to serve himself or to just amass titles, he was there because God has laid it in his heart and God has made it possible. And so, when criticisms came to him, he sent those criticisms to God and that must be important in your life too, because when criticisms come to you and all you do is to bottle them up all the time, on your own, how much and how long will you be able to bottle up criticisms? Don' you think a day is coming that you might just explode? Now to prevent that from happening, it is important that you learn to send every criticisms to God.


The second thing that I noted is in verse 6, and I want to read that portion to us. Now when criticisms come, continued with your task as though no one is speaking for or against your work or cause or project. So, whether you are engaging in a work, in a cause or in a project and criticisms begins to come to you, you must continue to do the work that you were doing before as though no one is speaking for you, and as though no one is speaking against you. You must continue! And in verse, there is a point that I want you to note there. It began by saying: "So we built the wall"


Don't forget in verse 3, they said whatever they build, if even a Fox goes on it, it will break down their stone wall. So, the target of the enemy was their stone wall, and so, in verse 6, the Bible says: "So we built the wall, and the entire wall was joined together up to half its height, for the people had a mind to work." Another way we can put it is so we continued, that very thing that gets them angry, we continued doing it. And I want to read the next point for us and it is also in verse 6.


The point is: Be and remain a good example of commitment toward the work to retain the buying in of your people in the mission or the vision. You must also continue to be and to remain a good example of commitment. You know, when we are talking about commitment, we are talking about your dedication to a task, as if nothing else matters but this one. Do you know why I came to that conclusion? In verse 6, the last point says: "for the people had a mind to work." You wonder, how come the people had the mind to work? The people had the mind to work because the servants who were leading them also had the mind to work.


So, you must, in the period of criticisms, under the attacks from you critics, you must continue to show an example of commitment to your people. Don't expect effectiveness or hard work from your people and you are the one doing the least of them all. Rather, be committed or be a good example of it. Let your people see that from your heart, you love this work and that you are doing it, they will follow you. Now, another point I noted is this: While you continue to work, and show a pattern of good works, be aware. Take a good inventory of the schemes of your critics. You see, beyond talking, there is a tendency that your critics will be having a lot of plans. You see, people can talk against and criticize what you do. But sometimes, beyond talking, some people are also trying everything to bring you down.


They believe talk is not enough, they would want to do this and that to stop you. You must take inventory of their plans. Don't be carried away or be too fixed on the work that you lose touch or lose your sense of environmental awareness. You don't know what your enemies are saying or doing against you. You must be aware of their plans. Even though every criticisms that you receive, you send them to God, you must still be aware of their plans. In verse 7, he said something. It says:


"Now it happened, when Sanballat, Tobiah, the Arabs, the Ammonites, and the Ashdodites heard that the walls of Jerusalem were being restored and the gaps were beginning to be closed, that they became very angry, 8 and all of them conspired together to come and attack Jerusalem and create confusion. 9 Nevertheless we made our prayer to our God, and because of them we set a watch against them day and night."


Now, how do they know these their plans? It is because they were aware of the moves and the plans of their critics. So, the next point I observed in that verse 8 is this. Understand that the ultimate aim of your critics is not just to talk, but to create confusion. See that verse 8: and all of them conspired together to come and attack Jerusalem and create confusion. So, that is the ultimate strategy of your enemy, to create confusion. When they talk about what you do, they want to create confusion around it, create confusion for it and create confusion over it. And so, you must be aware of that.


The next point I noted is in verse 9 and it says: "Nevertheless we made our prayer to our God, and because of them we set a watch against them day and night."  So, in the midst of criticisms, it is not a time to be discouraged or to be weary. It is a time to rather pray to God seamlessly and to be watchful in the spirit. You must be aware that the weapons of your warfare aren't carnal, but mighty through God for the pulling down of strongholds. So, while you send their criticisms to God, you must continue to pray over the work and commit the work to God, you must continue to engage over the work so that the work will not fail. You must continue to lay your demands before God day and night.


Again, I noted in verse 11 that you must know your enemies don't actually hate you, and this is very important for you to understand. By default, you would think that every critic hates you and their criticisms are against you because they hate you. I found out that your enemies don't actually hate you, but your work. They hate your work not you. Their goal is to end your work by creating confusion around it. In verse 11, let us see what the Bible says:


And our adversaries said, “They will neither know nor see anything, till we come into their midst and kill them and cause the work to cease.” 


You see, your enemies can have a thousand strategies, but the ultimate goal, mission and vision of your enemies is that your work cease. So, if you want to really silence your enemies in a way that will also disappoint God, you just stop the work. Whatever that your enemies are complaining about you for, and you know it is for God and for the good of the people of God, just stop it. If you stop that work, very soon they will become your friend. Then you will realize that your enemies don't hate you, it is your work that has made you their enemy. So, if you can stop that work, then you become their best friend. That is why in the world they say "there is no permanent enemy, it is only permanent interest." That is it. Your enemies

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don't hate you, they simply hate your work. If you want to rather frustrate them, continue in that work and then, they will be more agitated and furious against you.


Another point I want to note is in verse 14. It says every time that your critics attack you to the point of giving up, you must remember the Lord and His great power. In verse 14 it says: "And I looked, and arose and said to the nobles, to the leaders, and to the rest of the people, “Do not be afraid of them. Remember the Lord, great and awesome, and fight for your brethren, your sons, your daughters, your wives, and your houses.” Remember the Lord, great and awesome. Why must you remember the Lord that is great and awesome? Simply because your enemies are given you the impression that they are bigger than you, they will finish you, they have all the networks and connections et cetera. When you are confronted with such threats against the work and your life, instead of you to actually withdraw and show disinterest in the work again, you must remember your Lord that is great and mighty, greater than your critics and their criticisms, and with that remembrance, a strength will be built up in you.


I am sure you remember the story of David, when he went out on an expedition, he came back and found out that his families, wives and everything that he had was taken away. And the people who were with him, they also had their belongings and their wives taken away as well, and the people he was even laboring over contemplated stoning him. Bible says and David encouraged himself in the Lord, that is what happens when you remember the Lord, and you remember His greatness and His power, then you are encouraged. You know that the one who is with you is greater than the one who is in the world. God who is on your side is Mighty, and He is the Almighty.


Another thing that I noted is in verse 15 and verse 16. It says whatever you must do to continue your work in spite of criticisms, you must do it. Your enemies will succeed the moment you stop doing what God as asked you to do for the peace and prosperity of a people. You see, what your enemies are after is simple. The enemies in the case of Nehemiah were against their building of a stone wall. So, if you must make sure that your enemies fail, then that thing that they say that you must do, you must not finish, that you must do, that you must finish. And whatever you must do to finish it, whatever wisdom you require, whatever strength and encouragement you require to finish it, you must do it. You must give it all that it demands so that the work will continue.


And in verse 17, I noted something. It says: "Those who built on the wall, and those who carried burdens, loaded themselves so that with one hand they worked at construction, and with the other held a weapon." What I noted is this: Train your people to be able to handle criticisms, the same way they know how to do their work. Don't just train your workforce to just be busy at their work and to know how to do their work, I am sure there are different units of the work that each one is committed into. And beyond that, let everyone be built up with the capacity to respond to criticisms and to attack the critics. You must build that capacity, so that with one hand they are doing the work and with another hand they are defending themselves and they are attacking their foes. With that, there will be more safety, there will be more progress and there will be more peace.


Don't forget, while your enemies are against the work, it is not because of you, but because of the continuity and because of the havoc the work will do against them. Those who are against you don't want your peace and prosperity. And so, if you must continue to prosper, to be at peace, then you must continue to labor at the things and the tasks that the Lord has committed into your hands. You must not forget that the reason why your enemy speak against you is to make sure that you stop what you are doing. So, if you must silence your enemies, then you must continue the work. That is how to manage criticisms and to overcome your critics. Remember the Scripture that says, “If you faint in the days of adversity, then your strength is small.”


I believe by the strength of the Lord, you will not faint in adversity. When the enemies come against you like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord will lift up a standard against them. I believe these points are some of the standards that God intend to help you with so that you will be able to rise beyond your position against your work, the opposition against the work that God has committed into your hands, whether you are in a village or a city or in a metropolitan area, wherever you are, the task that God has committed to you is something that people will rise up against. Don't forget, everything that God asks you to do is against the works of darkness. You are trying to do something that the enemies don't want done, and so, if you are looking for peace with your enemies, then you will not fulfill that assignment.


You must be ready to face your enemies with that force that it requires. You must not be looking for peace with your enemies, you have to continue to do the work. Don't stop the work, because if you stop it, you will make God to be displeased with you. So, why are you looking for peace with men when God is displeased with you? You will rather have peace with God than you beginning to compromise in a bid to get peace with men.


Thank you for the gift of your time, my name is Gboyega Adedeji and you have been listening to Leaderview™. Today we have looked at On Becoming A Servant Leader: How to Manage Criticisms and Overcome Your Critics. The point we noted is that the ultimate goal and aim of your enemy is that the work you are doing ceases, and their ultimate strategy is to create confusion. So, the goal of your enemy is to stop the work and his strategy is to create confusion. But when those things don't work, they come to attack you frontally. When this happens, you must be prepared for it, you must not lose heart, you must never stop doing the work. It is the work that is giving you the opposition, you must continue the work so that the opposition will also remain and the glory of the Lord will be magnified, and you will be blessed.


Thank you for the gift of your time, I hope to connect with you again next week Wednesday. Stay blessed, stay leading and God bless you.

Thanks for the gift of your time, I am Gboyega Adedeji!

Feel free to share your thoughts or testimony with me in the comment box below. I promise to respond to them as soon as possible!

Word of Confession: (Optional)

Lord Jesus, I confess to you that I have sinned against the LORD God - in the rebellion of my heart, I have disappointed your expectations on my life. I have fallen from Your grace and followed wrong influences around me. Today, I retrace my steps back to you - and I ask that in your mercy you accept me as your son and give to me (again) the promise of the Father - the Holy Spirit. Lord Jesus, please, come and make my heart your home, and from there rule in the affairs of all men. In Jesus Name I have prayed.


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