See opposition as an opportunity to overcome and respond in the opposite spirit
intimidated but prayed for extra boldness to witness, and that God’s power would be manifest to bring about His will (Act 4:28-30). May any disapproval we experience be a catalyst to drive us into closer contact with God, in dependency on His enabling, and spur us onto greater exploits with Him rather than away from Him. Satan wants us to think we can fight life’s battles of our own. He tries to isolate us from maintaining a close relationship with God by preventing us entering into God’s purposes or tripping us up after we have. He is called ‘the accuser’ of the Christians, pointing out our sins before God, so it is essential to walk uprightly and quickly confess any sin so Satan has no area of control over you (Jn 14:30; Eph 4:27; 1 Jn 1:9; Rev 12:10).
Resist him by standing firm in Christ, knowing that others are having similar experiences – don’t think you are alone in the hassles of life (1 Cor 10:13; Jas 4:7,8; 1 Pet 4:12-19, 5:8,9). It is vital to keep our perspective right, “If God is for us, we are more than conquerors through Christ” (Rom 8:31-39). Do not give glory to Satan by elaborating on how ‘attacked’ you are, or complaining that you are not being ministered to. Bigger problems require greater resolve and effort to overcome (Mt 17:21). If you sense you are under attack, examine your heart and life, asking questions such as, am I living uprightly? Is this attack because I am not wearing my spiritual armour, failing to make wise decisions, not dealing with a glaring fault in my personality, or am I not fulfilling a requirement that God has clearly shown me (Eph 6:10-18)? Deal with any issues and be careful not to develop a martyr or victim mentality of self-pity; instead with determination and perseverance strive to reach your potential regardless of the barriers. What those opposed to God meant for evil became good, in fact they outworked God’s purposes (Gen 50:20; Rom 8:28).
Paul said, “Satan stopped us” (1 Thes 2:18). The more effective you are for the Kingdom of God, the more focused Satan’s tactics will be. He uses demonic activity, non-believers or, sadly, sometimes Christians who are not hearing from God, (being jealous and not walking as they should), or maybe those of our own families who are at variance with our stand in Christ (Job 2:9,10; Mt 10:35,36). Paul even wondered if he would come through some of his trials – of which he had plenty (2 Cor 1:8, 11:23-27). Remember the trial of our faith is producing for us an everlasting reward (1 Pet 1:6,7). “The Lord is my helper I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?” (Ps 118:6,7). Refuse to be silenced by those who don’t acknowledge their needs or are not desperate enough to reach out for a touch from the Lord (Mt 20:30-34).
Don’t focus on what is against you – Peter started to sink when he took his eyes off Christ (Mt 14:30). Rather look to Jesus, the starter and completer of our faith, for our confidence is in God. He who is for us is greater than he who is against, with the indwelling Holy Spirit being greater than any opposing evil forces that are in the non-Christian (2 Kgs 6:17; Ps 3:1-3; Heb 12:2; 1 Jn 4:4). With the right priorities we need not fear those who can only kill our bodies but can’t touch our soul (Lk 12:4,5).
Nehemiah and the Jews rebuilding the walls were subject to intense anger and resistance to their endeavours. They were told, “Don’t be afraid of the opposition, but remember the Lord”. They regrouped and instigated a different work practice to complete the walls (Neh 2:19, 4:1-23, 6:1-19). We too, must rely on God’s help to endure the pressures, praying for wisdom to combat these attacks of intimidation, ridicule or physical and emotional abuse.
Faith and resolve are strengthened through opposition. A kite flies skywards against the breeze, a plane takes off and lands into head winds. In a similar way the trials and opposition that press so hard against us (by being contrary to our natural liking) are, if we are yielded to Christ, the best instruments to make us more like Christ and so we are to rejoice even in these situations (Rom 5:3-5). The darker the night, the brighter the light of Christ within us should be. The opposition and storms of life will reveal the type of foundation we have built on – the test comes in the adverse periods not in times of tranquility (Mt 7:24-27). It is through the challenges and what comes against us in life that we develop patience, endurance and strength of character. We are to ‘take up our cross’ (being associated and identified with Christ) and be ‘living sacrifices’, dying to our rights (Lk 9:23; Rom 12:1,2; 1 Cor 15:31).
As believers we should rejoice when the gospel is preached and Christ made known by whatever organisation (Mt 12:30; Lk 9:50). In the great struggle between God and the enemy there is no neutrality. Consequently whatever we do in our Christian life is either for or against Christ.
God, who is all-powerful will do what He states He will do, nothing puny man proposes can stop it coming to pass; what is of God will
withstand and prosper, while what is not will cease (Isa 46:10; Act 5:39).