The Hope of OppositionApril 5, 2016
Opposition is the birthmark of progress. You’ve heard it said many times, “If you do not want to be criticized, laughed at, or scorned: Do nothing, say nothing, be nothing and have nothing.” But if you want to have something, it will require doing something, saying something, and becoming something. When the will is intentional, the warfare becomes intense. What I mean to say is this: if you get ready to do something for God, the enemy will start working diligently to do something to you.
Every major Bible personality faced his or her fair share of opposition. Some of their lives were defined by the struggles of pain, heartbreak, and spiritual warfare. Nehemiah was comfortable in the Persian palace with his luxurious lifestyle and opulent occupation. It was only when he started building the walls for the glory of God that he faced opposition from the surrounding governors. Saul of Tarsus was the rising zealot who gained the attention, accolades, and approval of his countrymen. It was only when he voiced the gospel message for the glory of God that he encountered the briar-patch of opposition.
The pattern is clearly outlined in Scripture – whenever there is an effort made for the glory of God there will be an enemy manifested. I wonder sometimes in my own life: Am I doing anything that bothers the enemy? Seriously….think about it, does he even know who you are?
There were some Jews in Acts 19:11-15 who tried to perform an exorcist on one of the sons of Sceva. The evil spirit responded and said, “Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are you?” These pretentious charlatans had no influence, reach, or authenticity in the work of God. They had no affect on the spiritual realm….do you?
Be certain, anyway who seeks to live for God, serve the church, witness to the world, and raise their family for the glory of Christ will, in some measure or degree, look opposition in the face. Consider a few thoughts:
God Doesn’t Prevent Opposition from Happening, and yet He is still God
Could God stop the hand of the enemy? Could God rid your life of a particular hindrance? Could God tear down every stronghold that comes up against you? The answer is a thousand times yes. God is omnipotent in every way. The earth is His footstool, the heaven His throne room. Angels bow down in His presence, and demons tremble at His name. God is bigger than your opposition. So the question becomes: Why doesn’t He prevent it? God ordained Nehemiah to build the walls, right? So why didn’t He stop the hands of Sanballat and Tobiah? God called Paul to proclaim the Gospel, right? So why didn’t He keep the thorn away from his servant? Those questions may or may not be resolved in eternity, but the one thing we know on planet earth is this: God is eternally good, and in His goodness He allows, orchestrates, and sometimes even ordains opposition. He does this, and He is still God.
God Provides Opportunity in the Opposition
Room would not permit me to detail and outline the glory and grace of God that has been experienced and exhibited in my life as a result of opposition. I would never voluntarily sign-up for heartbreak, heartache, and pain, but I can assure you of this – in every struggle, I have discovered the sufficiency of Christ. I have been given opportunities to trust Him, know Him, and love Him more in the midst of opposition – not in the absence of it.
God is Working all Things for Good in Accordance to His Own Glory
In his second epistle to the Corinthians, Paul said, “For all things are for your sakes, that the abundant grace might through the thanksgiving of many redound to the glory of God” (2 Corinthians 4:16). That is one of my favorite verses in the Bible. It reminds me that everything is working for my advantage. Now when I say my advantage, I do not necessarily mean for my monetary gain, my emotional relief, my physical healing, or my ministerial successes. I mean, that all things, even the bad things, are working for my life to testify of God’s grace and glory. Such a testimony is not possible without the affliction, the trial, the opposition of life.
So you see, the opposition is simply a declaration that I am living in such a way that the enemy is bothered, I am being blessed, and ultimately God is being glorified. That, my friend, is the hope of opposition!