The Shepherd of Hope blog is here to serve you, to help you know Jesus better and to find hope in Him. This blog relies on the Spirit of God using the word of God to build people of God. All material has been prayerfully submitted for your encouragement and spiritual edification. Your questions and comments are welcome.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Adversaries are not Obstacles but Opportunities

Some see hardship and opposition as indications that they are off course from God’s will. That is not always the case. In fact, there is evidence that opposition from the unsaved is an indication that you are right on course. Paul wrote the Corinthians the following words:

1 Corinthians 16:9 - For a great and effective door has opened to me, and there are many adversaries.

Notice the conjunction “and” and how it links “a great and effective door has opened to me” with “and there are many adversaries.” Paul didn’t see adversaries as mere obstacles to ministry but as opportunities for ministry. We should be willing to address opposition speaking truth in love (Eph. 4:15) as we contend earnestly for the faith (Jude 3-4). Jesus suffered on the cross for our sins while we were still sinners (Rom. 5:8). Part of taking up our cross and following Him involves this same mentality (Mat. 16:24). It is the love of Christ which compels us to not shy away from opposition but to love our enemies and overcome evil with good (2 Cor. 5:14-21; Mat. 5:55; Luke 6:27, 35; Rom. 12:21). Indeed God’s promise to those who persist is:

1 Corinthians 15:58 - Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.

Galatians 6:9 - And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.

Persistence is an ingredient which will bring others into the Perfect Life and help us to experience it in a deeper way.

At the onset of WWII England soon found itself the last bastion of hope against Adolf Hitler and the Nazis. At one point when Germany had overrun Europe and England stood alone Winston Churchill the Prime Minister of England summoned his countrymen to endure and press on in the fight at all costs. These were some of his words:

I would say to the House, as I said to those who have joined this Government: “I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat.” We have before us an ordeal of the most grievous kind. We have before us many, many long months of struggle and of suffering. You ask, what is our policy? I will say; It is to wage war, by sea, by land and air, with all our might and with all the strength God can give us: to wage war against a monstrous tyranny, never surpassed in the dark, lamentable catalogue of human crime. That is our policy. You ask, what is our aim? I can answer in one word: Victory – victory at all costs, victory in spite of all terror, victory, however long and hard the road may be; for without victory, there is no survival.”

The Bible says we are in a war of even more momentous proportions than the one Churchill and England faced. It is a battle against principalities and powers and rulers of this dark age; a demon hoard (Ephesians 6:12). Quitting is not an option. If we quit the demons of hell will ravish us and smear the name of the Almighty. That is unacceptable. We are called to persist and we must persist in the power of the Lord.

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