In The Midst Of Trials
In talking to many Christians, I have come to believe that many people deal with more opposition and rejection when it comes to their faith we probably assume. Wives living with unbelieving husbands. People working in overtly non-Christian work environments. These situations can become oppressive and often people are directly opposed when it comes to their faith. What should we do in such situations? Nehemiah 6 has a lot to say about handling opposition.
Nehemiah 6:1-4 (NIV)
1 When word came to Sanballat, Tobiah, Geshem the Arab and the rest of our enemies that I had rebuilt the wall and not a gap was left in it–though up to that time I had not set the doors in the gates– 2 Sanballat and Geshem sent me this message: “Come, let us meet together in one of the villages on the plain of Ono.” But they were scheming to harm me; 3 so I sent messengers to them with this reply: “I am carrying on a great project and cannot go down. Why should the work stop while I leave it and go down to you?” 4 Four times they sent me the same message, and each time I gave them the same answer.
Nehemiah was being opposed because people were unbelievers and because they feared change. They liked the status quo and they liked having authority. Nehemiah did several things to stand in his faith …
- Be prepared for multiple attacks. Satan will not quit. The scripture above continues by saying that there were more attacks and varying tactics. Satan will not relent until Christ returns and puts him in his place. People are stubborn. More often than not they will pursue their own gain regardless of truth or how it affects others. Be prepared.
- Answer with truth. Nehemiah simply told them the truth. His mission was more important. Then he stuck to that story. Period. Sometimes we feel like we need to justify our actions. We try to explain ourselves. You do not have to defend God. Politely, kindly, and gently speak truth into the situation. Jesus is Lord. Only He died for our sins. Then be done with it. When they attack form a different angle, use the same answer. Jesus is always the solution.
- Stay focused. Satan is usually trying to get us to take our eyes off of Jesus. If we can stay focused on Him we will survive every battle. The people who oppose you are almost always pawns, they just don’t know it. Our purpose is to give glory to God. He put you where you are for a reason. There are always people to reach, lessons to learn and praise to give. Remember what God has called you to and make sure that mission stays on the forefront of your mind.
- Pray. Nehemiah is famous for his short, timely prayers. He prays here…Nehemiah 6:9 (NIV) 9 They were all trying to frighten us, thinking, “Their hands will get too weak for the work, and it will not be completed.” [But I prayed,] “Now strengthen my hands.”
In the midst of any and all trials, we should be in CONSTANT contact with our Father.
God knows where you are, who you are dealing with, and what your needs are. Who is better at showing you what to do than God Himself? In Thessalonians Paul said “Pray continually”. I believe this is what he was describing. If you are going into battle, do it with God at your side.
We live in a world opposed to God. Whether it is people’s pride or Satan’s schemes, we MUST stand up to the opposition and stand for Jesus so that He gets the glory and we grow into His image. Be prepared, be truthful, stay focused, and include God when you are being oppressed. God will honor it and you will see and know His presence.
See you Sunday,