Think About This: “Rome remained great as long as she had enemies who forced her to unity, vision and heroism. When she had overcome all her enemies, she flourished for a moment and then began to die” – Will Durant
Opposition Makes Us Strong…In Christ
Posted on November 17, 2021 by Catey Stover in Freedom Fighters
“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.”
Nehemiah 4:14 (NKJV)
A legend tells of the auction at which the devil offered his tools for sale. One tool, however, was marked “not for sale.” When asked why he would not sell that tool, the devil spoke of it as his best tool of all. “With this tool,” he hissed, “I can work my way into the hearts of the strongest saints and plant in that heart whatever destruction I desire.” Asked the name of that tool, the devil replied, “Discouragement.”
I got those mornings where I find myself just not wanting to bother anymore. For all the effort it took to get a Biblical education, for all the effort it takes to head up a ministry and for all the effort it takes to share the hope that is supposed to be in me, I sometimes just take a real long view at Secularland and say to myself, “Eh, let God sort it all out, as for me and myself, I’m going back to bed.” That usually lasts about one minute, then this new alarm clock I bought starts slowly increasing in volume and lets me know it still to WAKE UP!!!!
I’m not saying that I wanna quit trying to be the witness that Jesus Christ has called me to be, it’s just that when I take a look at how far our society has slipped into a darker place I begin to wonder if anybody is gonna make it to heaven. I often find myself thinking this while at the local Walmart. There’s a whole cast of characters there, each with their own personal agenda, some unhappy that you’re in the way and some actually moving you outta the way. I think the greeter should drop the “Welcome to Walmart” line and just say “You’re in hell, we’ve been expecting you.” But I digress…
Here’s where that Biblical education comes into play…I got God’s Word to pull me outta these moments of discouragement. If there was ever someone in Scripture that coulda got a serious case of the “Discouragements” it was the cup bearer to the king himself, Nehemiah. There ain’t a chapter in his book that disappoints when it comes to having the right attitude towards the circumstances that could have stopped the rebuilding of Jerusalem’s wall and the gates that make it important. He maintained this mentality…
“The God of heaven Himself will prosper us; therefore we His servants will arise and build…” — Nehemiah 2:20b
It’s pretty cool to respond to faith and sacrifice in this way because God’s people in any generation and under any situation in order to experience positive growth, revival, rebuilding, and restoration there must be a determined faith, and commitment to trust and obey God in all that He asks us to do. Our adversary loves to tempt us with that tool of discouragement because he knows that us average, everyday Christian man (or woman) become easily intimidated by what either looks dangerous and/or overwhelming. He enjoys casting God as the bad guy for bringing us to this place of hopelessness and then encourages us to feel justified to wallow in our discouragement.
But if Martin Luther were around today, he might say some like this, “If the devil were wise enough and would stand by in silence and let the Gospel be preached, he would suffer less harm. For when there is no battle for the Gospel it rusts and it finds no cause and no occasion to show its vigor and power. Therefore, nothing better can befall the Gospel than that the world should fight it with force and cunning.” In short, Opposition makes strong…in Christ!
The bottom line to a lot of our discouragement as Christians is because were…Christian. The world around doesn’t have what we have so by its own nature it has to find a way to handle its envy of the hope that we have in us. This is why we need to show them that when they go low, we go vertical, like a cupbearer to a king.
Let me leave you here today with this encouragement from Nehemiah 4:14, “Remember the Lord who is great and awesome, and fight for your brothers, your sons, your daughters, your wives and your houses.” Like the folks during Nehemiah’s time, we get discouraged because we focus on the enemy’s threats, his piles of rubble, and his minions at Walmart (well, that’s my take). We need direct our focus back to the Lord who is great and awesome and to the things that were at stake if they yield to the enemy, namely, our families, churches, and our community. Amen?
Written by Chris Hughes: Chris is a husband, a father, has an education in Biblical doctrine and is a graduate of the Colony of Mercy. He has been a Freedom Fighter contributor since 2008. You can e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This Week’s Verse to Memorize: I, therefore, the prisoner [a]of the Lord, [b]beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, 2 with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, 3 endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. Ephesians 4:1-3