Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. (Hebrews 12:1-2)
To address this fad of ‘church-hopping’. Church-hopping - an insidious trick of the enemy – moving from one church to another or just giving up on God altogether because someone hurt or angered you without even acknowledging your covering is wrong! What happened to staying in your test and allowing God to bring you through it; allowing God to correct the wrong? Do you not recognize the work of the enemy? It is our tests that bring us closer to God; that builds our relationship in God. Jesus told Peter that Satan desired to sift him as wheat.
And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: Luke 22:31
Think of Apostle Paul after his conversion. The church, such as it was at that time initially did not want to receive him and He had to be presented to the apostles
And when Saul was come to Jerusalem, he assayed to join himself to the disciples: but they were all afraid of him, and believed not that he was a disciple. But Barnabas took him, and brought him to the apostles, and declared unto them how he had seen the Lord in the way, and that he had spoken to him, and how he had preached boldly at Damascus in the name of Jesus. (Acts 9:26-27).
But that did not deter Apostle Paul; he didn't pack it in and go his own way without the approval of the apostles. He knew he had been given an assignment through divine intervention and he was not to be stopped; especially because a few 'church people' had heard of him and were fearful of him. Paul was not always treated with respect within the churches that he founded and at one point had to write an epistle regarding certain judgments against him. He didn't stop his God-given purpose. And so we should not either.
And labour, working with our own hands: being reviled, we bless; being persecuted, we suffer it: Being defamed, we intreat: we are made as the filth of the world, and are the offscouring of all things unto this day. I Corinthians 4:12:13
I speak of my own church hurt and how I left God behind it. How I regret that decision! If only I had had the spiritual maturity that God has graced me with now. I let the devil use me for many years under the guise of church hurt! I am strong enough in God now to realize that I didn’t have enough of Jesus in me to sustain me and that was not anyone’s fault but mine. When my testing came, I didn't look to Jesus for answers or results but gave in to my self nature instead. I can remember my first thoughts being, 'who do they think they are' and 'I don't have to take this'. That was my flesh whispering to me and not at one time did I acknowledge God in my actions. Satan embraced me with open arms as I left the church physically and spiritually. When we stand before God, we will not be able to say, ‘Well God, I would have ____, but he or she did so and so.’ We alone are accountable for our actions.
Considering the haters that Jesus had, the beatings, the mocking, and finally the horrific death that He had to suffer, how dare I consider the ‘look’ someone gave me, someone talking negatively behind my back and sometimes to my face, sabotaging my work for God – there is absolutely no comparison! What I’ve come to understand is that the other person may be dead wrong in their actions toward me, but I am just as guilty when I allow my flesh to retaliate or when I give up and leave.
That’s the enemy's desire, but we don’t have to let him. He can only do what we allow him to do when we don’t acknowledge God in all of our ways. We should be strong enough in the Holy Spirit to say, ‘not so Satan, get behind me, I will not let you distract or detract me from the path I’m on’. What happened to praying about the situation; giving it to God and letting him handle it? After all, we get upset, angry and hurt on our jobs, but very few people quit over that. Will you take more from the world than you will for God. His word tells us:
Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord: (Hebrews 12:14)
That's inside the church and outside the church. We have to get it right with everyone and we have to allow the one who wronged us to get it right with us.
Some say it is worse because the hurt is coming from within the church where it is supposed to be full of love and everyone is perfect. Another trick of the enemy! Think of the church as a hospital where you come to be healed, strengthened and edified. Everyone who enters has a different diagnosis and prognosis.
Don’t give up on God and don’t give up on your church unless God is specifically leading you to another area in His kingdom and when He does that, go to your current pastor and get his blessing and endorsement before you leave. You will never build a strong foundation in God going from this church to that church every time things do not go as you want and every time someone says something that you do not like or agree with.
Look first for the change within. Remember:
Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil. (Proverbs 3:5-7)