Dear pastors, missionaries, chaplains and friends,
Steve here… The more we seek to live for Christ, the more we should expect opposition. Expect problems, disappointments, even hostility as you step out in faith.
If you’re currently experiencing some tough days, be encouraged—you’re in good company. The Apostle Paul battled opposition constantly. When he entered Jerusalem after completing his third missionary journey, he and his party presented the collection which they had gathered. Here’s what happened:
1. First, Paul experiences opposition from within the church. Rumours surfaced that he had rejected Judaism.
2. Second, some Jews who were visiting from Ephesus and had witnessed Paul’s great success in Ephesus denounce him and stir up the masses with a riot in the temple courtyard.
3. Third, Paul’s life is in jeopardy until a Roman commander, Lysias, saves him from the crowd and a scourging due to Paul’s Roman citizenship.
4. Fourth, the Sanhedrin denounces Paul and his claims and plot to take his life, which causes Lysias to send Paul to Caesarea.
5. Fifth, confined in Caesarea while awaiting his trial, Paul defends himself and Christianity before the Roman governor, Felix. The governor refuses to release Paul, either in an attempt to avoid antagonizing the Jewish authorities or because he was awaiting a bribe on Paul’s behalf.
6. Sixth, Paul waits two years while in confinement in Caesarea until the new governor, Festus, gives Paul a second hearing. Paul appeals to the Roman emperor and before being sent to Rome, Paul defends himself to Herod Agrippa II and his sister, Bernice.
Oh yes, ministry has its ups and downs. Seriously following Christ will mean opposition.
Ron Edmondson wrote of the Biblical examples of opposition found in some Old Testament characters. Which of these men and their stories do you currently identify most with?
· David: fighting a giant,
· Joseph: preparing for the future
(even a bleak future),
· Paul: addressing a changing culture,
· Gideon: feeling like you’re in over your head,
· Moses: feeling overwhelmed with responsibility,
· Abraham: leading into the unknown,
· Noah: standing alone in obedience.
Who do you currently relate to? All of these men experienced opposition and disappointment in the midst of their life and ministry. Consider isolating and discovering what they did in the midst of fighting a giant, or preparing for the future, or feeling like they were in over their heads. Overcome the opposition by learning from those who experienced the same things you’re currently experiencing. Learn from some tried and true overcomers!
Have a blessed week!