February 13, 2018

Moving Forward in the Face of Criticism

Written by Shana Schutte

Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – February 13, 2018

By Shana Schutte

For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.  Galatians 1:10

Before I became an author, I realized I’d been waiting for someone to encourage me to write a book. I thought if another, more successful writer validated me, then I could start moving toward the dream that God had placed in my heart. Deep down I didn’t want to look foolish and I feared the criticism of others.

One day as I browsed the bookstore for inspiration from an accomplished writer, I sensed that still quiet voice I had heard so many times speak to my heart: “Why are you looking for a leader outside yourself? Write what I have given you.”

No matter who you are, or what you want to accomplish, the only leader you need to move toward your purpose is the Holy Spirit.

“If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31).

Even Jesus knew when to ignore naysayers who wanted to prevent Him from accomplishing God’s plan for His life. In Luke 4:30, those in His hometown became furious when He said He was sent by God. To destroy Him, they drove Him out of town to the top of a hill so they could throw Him over a cliff. What did Jesus do? He walked through the crowd and went on His way.

Because He knew who He was and who His Father was, He decided He would fulfill His purpose, even if no one but His Father agreed.

Sometimes the best way to move on to God’s plan for you is to ignore negative evaluations and comments and, just like Jesus, go merrily on our way.

Can you imagine what Christ’s life on earth would have been like if He had been self-protective and feared criticism?

He would have kept His mouth shut when He was falsely accused. He would have defended Himself. When His enemies spit in His face, He would have retaliated. When they called Him names, He would have called down a legion of angels to defend Him. When they marched Him to Golgatha, He would have run. And rather than laying down His life to give His all to those He loved, the redemption of the human race would have been lost in His misguided passion of self-protection and the fear of criticism.

When we fear criticism and are overly self-protective, we can miss out on being a gift to others. You see, what God wants you to accomplish is not just about you; it’s about many people that God wants to influence and help through you. Ask the Lord to give you the strength you need to move forward in faith in the face of criticism. And remember, you are living your life for the approval of just One.

“But Peter and the apostles answered, ‘We must obey God rather than men’” (Acts 5:29).


Lord, thank you that you will enable me to do what you have called me to and that I don’t need to fear the criticism of others. Amen.  


Write one phrase that stood out to you from today’s devotional and place it somewhere you can focus on it each day this week.

Related Reading

Daniel 3:18; Exodus 1:17; 1 Timothy 2:3

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  1. Jennifer Babcock says:

    I read this devotional immediately after closing my laptop in frustration because the book God has laid on my heart to write in order to share my testimony of His goodness is not coming together like I’d hoped. I keep editing and editing and editing. And deleting, deleting, deleting. I thank the Lord for speaking so clearly to me through you today!

  2. Gwynne says:

    Oh Jennifer, This makes my heart so happy! I absolutely LOVE when God places the words He wants you to see at just the right moment (HIS Perfect Timing).
    This was no coincidence. God speaks to us in so many ways. Thank you Father!
    Keep praying, Jennifer, for His Help and Blessing on your work.
    Shana states in “Moving Forward in the Face of Criticism”, “When we fear criticism and are overly self-protective, we can miss out on being a gift to others. You See, what God wants you to accomplish is not just about you, it’s about many people that God wants to influence and help through you”. Jennifer, I would say that is your call to action! Start praying for guidance and direction and let’s see where HE takes you!
    Please keep us posted and in the meantime, I would like to pray for you, too.
    Joyfully living for our audience of ONE,
    “You are my portion, O Lord; I have promised to obey your words.
    I have sought your face with all of my heart; be gracious t me according to your promise.”
    Psalm 119:57-58

    “For I know the plans I have for you, ‘declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all of your heart.”
    Jeremiah 29:11

    Lord, we praise you for your Love and your Promises!
    Looking forward to hearing from you, Jennifer.

  3. Jennifer Babcock says:

    Dear Gwynne,

    It’s six months later and I’ve just now read your reply! Thank you so much for your words of encouragement and prayers. The last six months have brought many challenges that have caused me to feel like quitting. But I’m still at it.

    My marriage is barely hanging on after a very difficult summer. And it seems like criticism is coming from so many directions these days. But God is using my circumstances to change me into the woman He created me to be. And He’s giving me great material for my book! Cancer, a difficult marriage, and a now persecution for my spiritual beliefs (a new one for me which started this past week) have been my Jericho’s these past two years.

    Shortly before being diagnosed with cancer, God laid Joshua 1:9 on my heart in a big way. I was on my way to walk around and pray over a neighborhood near my church when the story of Joshua and the battle of Jericho came to mind. Later that day, I was invited over to my parents for a 40th birthday celebration dinner and, without knowing about my prayer walk earlier, my parents gave me a birthday present of a wooden plaque with Joshua 1:9 inscribed upon it. God used that to let me know a battle was in my future and continues to use it to keep me moving forward in writing the book He’s put on my heart. He’s with me and He keeps making His presence known in big ways.

    I sat down to write today after putting what I’ve had written aside for the summer while my daughter was home from school and thought again of this blog about “Moving Forward in the Face of Criticism.” It was so good to read it along with your reply on a day I really needed some additional encouragement. So, six months later, thank you so very much!!

    As hard as it is, I look forward to seeing the results of all that God is doing right now. I’m going to keep fighting the good fight and hanging on for the prize and joy He’s set before me!

    All the best of God’s blessings to you,

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