Did you know that anytime you step out to pursue a God-given burden on your heart, you should expect opposition? Nehemiah learned this when he set out to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem, refortifying the city after it had been destroyed by Israel's enemies. The truth is, when you set out to do something for God's Kingdom, the enemy of our souls, Satan, will do everything he can to try and stop you. We may face opposition from haters who criticize us or internal, spiritual opposition in the form of doubt, discouragement, and defeat. This week as we continue our Renovate series through the book of Nehemiah, we're learning from Nehemiah Chapter 4 all about how to stand up to these forms of opposition. The truth is, there's rarely a time that God is closer than when you face spiritual opposition!
WHEN GOD'S WORK GOES DOWN, OPPOSITION SHOWS UP
When you pursue the will of God in your life, you can mark your calendar knowing that at some point along the way, you'll face criticism. There will be haters and even spiritual enemies who want to stop the progress you are making. In Nehemiah 4:1-3, we see that some political enemies of Jerusalem taunted Nehemiah as he pursued God's call on him to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem. Likewise, when you face haters, don't be discouraged. It's not necessarily a sign that you are doing something wrong - sometimes, opposition can be a sign that you are doing something right and righteous for God.
The truth is, the only way to really avoid spiritual opposition from the enemy is to cease from praying big...serving God... and dreaming of fixing broken things for His glory! That's because the moment you step out of your comfort zone to take a step of faith, just like Nehemiah, the Devil will try to step in to stop you. See, the Christian life isn't a playground - it's a spiritual battleground.
TAKE IT TO GOD IN PRAYER
When criticized, in Nehemiah 4:4-5, we see that instead of retaliating against his critics, Nehemiah actually prayed to God. So, if you face criticism from haters, learn from Nehemiah's response. Instead of striking back against your enemies, you can take your hardships to God in prayer. Nehemiah's prayer was honest and raw. Instead of taking revenge against those who opposed him, Nehemiah waged war spiritually with his haters. Similarly, when you refuse to retaliate in the face of opposition, you can trust God to handle the outcome.
GET BACK TO WORK
Last but certainly not least, in Nehemiah 4:6-14 we learn that after praying, Nehemiah and his supporters got back to work on the walls of Jerusalem. He fought his enemies from his knees in prayer, then persevered through opposition to keep working towards his God-given goal. Even when the builders became overwhelmed by the task before them, Nehemiah encouraged them remember the Lord and persevere to fight for their families.
Like Nehemiah, maybe you're working towards something and feel like you've reached a breaking point. Whether you're trying to start a business, fix a broken part of the world, or renovate your marriage, remember this: There's always a "Tap Out" moment before the tipping point. So many of us lose heart, and dreams die on the doorstep of destiny. However, when we persevere in the strength that God alone can give us, we can catch our breath and get back to work.
As you learn from the example of Nehemiah, we pray that you will stand strong, fight from your knees in prayer, and courageously persevere to pursue the God-given burden on your heart. When you are discouraged, think of Nehemiah's encouraging words: Remember the Lord, and fight for your family. Do you know who you are fighting for? What has God put on your heart to work towards today? Be encouraged: God is with you in the face of opposition.
To continue learning what to do when your faith is under fire, check out these additional resources from Liquid Church:
- MESSAGE: Defeating Discouragement - From the series Fixer Upper, continue learning from the Old Testament book of Nehemiah on how to handle the critics in your life. Click here to watch.
- ARTICLE: Standing For Your Values - Ever been in a situation where your values were threatened? Learn our three lessons from Daniel the Lion Tamer as his faith in God was challenged to the point of death. Click here to read.
To continue learning from Nehemiah's example, check out this additional content from Liquid Church's Renovate series:
- MESSAGE: Let Us Rebuild - What's broken in your world that breaks your heart? God can take the burden on your heart and turn it into a global blessing! Click here to watch.
- MESSAGE: Standing Up To Take Action - God chooses ordinary and average people to change the world. You don’t have to be the best, you just have to care the most. Click here to watch.