Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines opposition as: “action that is done to stop or defeat someone or something.” Have you experienced opposition in your life? Better question would probably be, has anyone not experience some amount in their life. Whether that was from a neighborhood bully or student in school or a boss at our job, everyone at some point or another has faced it. But what I want to talk about is the defiance that comes as a result of being a Christian. Being associated with Jesus is going to cost you. If you look at the book of John there are numerous occasions that people were persecuted just for their association with him…
- The Pharisees expelled a man who was cured of blindness from the synagogue just because Jesus was the one who cured him. (See John 9:1-34)
- Thomas, nicknamed the Twin, said to his fellow disciples, “Let’s go, too—and die with Jesus.” (See John 11:16 NLT)
- The Leading Priests decided to kill Lazarus just because Jesus raised him from the dead and they were losing followers. (See John 12:10-11)
This opposition did not stop in the time of Jesus life…Though it is not widely broadcasted in the nightly news, Christian are being persecuted all over the world today.
“According to The Pew Research Center, over 75% of the world’s population live in areas with severe religious restrictions. Many of these people are Christians. Also, according to the United States Department of State, Christians in more than 60 countries face persecution from their governments or surrounding neighbors simply because of their belief in the person of Jesus Christ.” (Source www.opendoorsusa.org/persecution/about-persecution)
Following Jesus has great rewards, but hardship will come. We wonder why we get ridiculed and face animosity for being a Christian, but John 15:18-20 (NLT) is very clear the reason for the World’s Hatred:
“If the world hates you, remember that it hated me first. The world would love you as one of its own if you belonged to it, but you are no longer part of the world. I chose you to come out of the world, so it hates you.
Do you remember what I told you? ‘A slave is not greater than the master.’ Since they persecuted me, naturally they will persecute you. And if they had listened to me, they would listen to you.”
Mark Driscoll said something that really stuck out for me…
Whenever you start serving God in a new way, you are breaking into territory that the enemy wants to keep. The Apostle Paul said in I Corinthians 16:9 (NKJV) that:
“For a great and effective door has opened to me, and there are many adversaries.”
Opposition will always come when we try to do the Lord’s work, just expect it because the enemy does not want you to take away his territory! Press on through and trust that God is Sovereign! And most importantly pray! Prayer changes circumstances and people. In the book, Draw the Circle, Mark Batterson gives this profound statement that will revolutionize our lives if we can grasp this:
Opposition is inevitable but the enemy is ineffectual when counteract the attacks with prayer! I will close with the truth from 1 John 4:4 (NASB)
“You are from God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is He [Jesus] who is in you than he [Satan – our enemy] who is in the world.”