Do you like to go venturing into the woods? Whenever you go hiking, do you take anything with you? Walking stick? Water bottle? Boots? Bring a flashlight, if it's dark? In my experience, I have found that when you go venturing into the woods you must be prepared for opposition.
For instance, one day when I was about 10, I ventured into the woods (actually, my backyard, but it might as well be the woods, since we have land in the country) and stepped on a nail. It wouldn't have been so bad if I wasn't wearing sandals which allowed the nail to go all the way through the sole and into my foot. Not a good feeling. I then realized that I must be prepared and wear more appropriate shoes when I go on my little "adventures". You think that sounds silly? Just wait. Another time, right after we moved to the country, I decided to go "roam" my backyard (aka the woods) and pretend I was in an "enchanted forest" (I was eight and imaginative haha ). As I was searching the "enchanted forest", I decided to hang from this tree like a swing. Little did I know, the tree was
dead. Next thing I knew, I was laid out on the ground with my head on a stump, a tree on my face (lovely image, huh?), and blood on my fingers. Yes, I faced opposition with a dead tree. If I was prepared for my "enchanted forest" adventure, I would have learned what a dead tree looked like...but obviously, I didn't. Now, I know. Those two stories aren't the only interesting experiences I have up my sleeve, but it's obvious I have definitely faced opposition in the outdoors. All silliness aside, my main point is that we must be prepared to face opposition in many aspects of our lives.
If you are a believer and follower of Jesus Christ, I'm sure you've faced a ton of opposition. Today I heard an awesome sermon about facing opposition as believers. Of course, as believers, we are extremely blessed with the gift of salvation and that is the best gift anyone can recieve. However, the Bible tells us many times that followers of Christ should expect opposition. Jesus said, "No servant is greater than his master. If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also" (John 15:20)..... "All men will hate you because of me, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved" (Mark 13:13).... "If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first" (John 15:18). Jesus has made it clear that even though we may follow Him, it doesn't mean we won't face opposition.
We face opposition because we live in a
sinful world. Sin is all around us. Satan is at work. He wants to keep everyone away from Christ and the eternal life that He so freely gives. Satan tries to work through oppositions of sickness, death, financial, divorce, fear, rejection, guilt, broken relationships, failure and more. In John 10:10, Jesus says, "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full."
This may sound discouraging and not like something you want to be a part of, but wait, before you click off of this blog, please keep reading! There is good news! God doesn't want the opposition to take us out. He is here to help us. He can prepare us for the opposition that is to come, but most importantly, He can help us overcome the opposition that we face.
The first way God prepares us to face the opposition is by faith. Pastor Nathan said, "Faith equips us to stand in the face of opposition and to do it well." Today's scripture was Hebrews 11:23-31 and it explains many instances when people faced opposition but overcame it with faith. Verses 26-27 say, " He (Moses) regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward. By faith he left Egypt, not fearing the king’s anger; he persevered because he saw him who is invisible. " Although Moses knew he was going to get in big trouble by the world, he knew he was going to get a gold star from God, because he acted in faith. He looked "ahead to his reward" and "persevered because he saw him who is invisible"....aka he had FAITH! Moses gained strength to get through the persecution of the world because of his faith in God's will.
The second way God helps us get through the opposition is by a wonderful reminder. Pastor Nathan explained..."He reminds you that even though you feel like you're losing...faith says, "you win." Hebrews 11:40 says, " since God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect." For all the opposition we face, it is worth it! 2 Corinthians 4:17 says, "For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all." 1 Peter 4:13 says, "Rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed." 1 Peter 2:20 says, "If you suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable before God."
So if you are facing opposition right now, hold onto your faith. Grasp it. Embrace it. Realize that it will not last forever. If you aren't facing opposition right now, get prepared (just like you get prepared to go hiking)! Read God's Word. Have an accountability partner. Serve. Grow stronger in your faith because that is what is going to get you through it.
Thankfully, because of God's grace and mercy, He sent his perfect son, Jesus Christ, to be crucified for our sins...for anyone who would believe in Him. What's even better is that Jesus was resurrected from the dead to prove that death has no power over our lives. Then when Jesus comes back to take His followers to His heavenly, eternal kingdom, we will no longer face opposition.
The opposition is worth it.