Mark Alan Williams
Opposition Often Means You’re Right on Track
Does God have a wonderful plan for your life?
Podcast (listen-to-this-article-here): Play in new window | Download (Duration: 9:56 — 18.2MB)
Subscribe: Apple Podcasts | Android | RSS
One of the ironies of life is that the more you succeed, the more you’ll face opposition. This seems especially ironic when you succeed in serving God. As we serve the Lord, we get opposition from enemies, from friends and from the Evil One.
Recently I spent time in India with a church leader who is making wonderful advances for the Lord. Yet he’s often verbally threatened by the enemies of the Gospel. He fears for his family, for his ministry and for his personal safety. Some of his workers have indeed been physically mistreated.
Here in America, we usually have a friendlier atmosphere. Yet it seems that while opposition is often subtler, it is just as real.
Does this opposition mean we’ve gotten off track and lost our way? No, quite the opposite. Opposition often means we’re right on track.
Here are 3 reasons opposition can mean you’re right on track with God:
01. The Bible says we should expect persecution from enemies of Christ.
Scripture is clear, “Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.” (2 Timothy 3:12 ESV)
Some believers are surprised when they begin to live for Christ and suddenly things get tougher. But again the Bible warns, “Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you.” (1 Peter 4:12 ESV)
We promise that “God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life.” That is true, but part of God’s wonderful plan is persecution and trials!
How should we respond? The next verse tells us: “But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed.” (1 Peter 4:13 ESV)
My friend in India responds with faith and rejoicing. He also keeps a low profile and tries not to attract too much of the wrong kind of attention. That is practicing what Jesus described; “Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves.” (Matthew 10:16 ESV)
Don’t intentionally incite opposition from the enemies of Christ. But if it comes, endure in faith and remember it probably means you’re right on track.
02. Progress and success often breed jealousy and contempt from fellow believers.
This is sad but true.
The Apostle Paul experienced it. While in prison for the Gospel he wrote about opposition from envious fellow believers; “It’s true that some are preaching out of jealousy and rivalry. They preach with selfish ambition, not sincerely, intending to make my chains more painful to me.” (Philippians 1:15a, 17b NLT)
How appalling that Christians would try to add to Paul’s suffering because of their jealousy.
What was Paul’s response? He wrote in the next verse, “But that doesn’t matter. Whether their motives are false or genuine, the message about Christ is being preached either way, so I rejoice. And I will continue to rejoice.” (Philippians 1:18 NLT)
Wow, he was only concerned that the Gospel went forward!
Similarly, David was one of the best things that ever happened to King Saul. He not only killed Goliath, but as Saul’s military general David led the troops to many great victories. Yet instead of deep gratitude, his success embittered King Saul. (1 Samuel 18:6-8) Saul became so jealous of David’s success that for years he tried to track him down and kill him!
This is the same King Saul who was God’s anointed and who prophesied fervently with the prophets. (1 Samuel 10:11-12) Saul started well, but destroyed his spiritual walk through his egocentrism and envy.
You might encounter jealousy among siblings, coworkers, teammates, and even ministry leaders. How should you respond? Just continue to serve God as best you can and “pray for those who persecute you.” (Matthew 5:44)
And remember, this opposition probably means you’re right on track.
03. The Evil One always opposes those making headway.
Perhaps you feel like you’re making more progress than ever in your Christian life. Yet you’re facing more opposition than ever. If so congratulations, you’ve likely become a target of the devil! Wear it as a badge of honor.
The devil isn’t worried about those who are tepid in their faith, who embarrass the name of Christ, and make people say, “If that’s a Christian, I don’t want any part of Christianity.”
No, the Evil One targets those who are making the most impact.
At a church where I play basketball, one guy likes to put his shoulder down and bully his way to the basket. It’s a challenge to me, I don’t want to give him any ground. My natural reaction is to get in his way. Then he gets mad and cries “foul.” (He might be right!)
In a similar way, when we challenge the Devil, he will take the challenge and oppose us.
What should you do? “Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” (1 Peter 5:8 ESV)
Are you facing opposition? Take heart, it might mean you are right on track. God is using you and thus you can expect opposition from enemies, “friends” and the devil.
For more help on this website with persecution, unfair treatment, and forgiveness:
vlog: Have You Been Pecked At?
NOTE: Facebook is random. Email is reliable. Subscribe via email and you won’t miss any of my articles, podcasts or videos. You’ll also get my eBook: 10 Prayers to Unlock Heaven on Earth