“Opposition will come from your enemies; it may also come from your friends.”
Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – March 29, 2022
Walk in obedience to all that the Lord your God has commanded you, so that you may live and prosper and prolong your days in the land that you will possess. Deuteronomy 5:33
I love the story of Nehemiah in the Bible. It’s an inspiring account of a man who stepped outside his comfort zone to move on behalf of God’s people and rebuild the wall of Jerusalem—even though he was afraid. It also contains life-giving lessons on how to respond to opposition when you’re working to accomplish a task, fulfill a purpose, or say yes to God’s calling.
One of my favorite lessons from Nehemiah is this:
Opposition will come from your enemies; it may also come from your friends.
I know. This truth doesn’t make you want to shout “Hallelujah!” No one wants to experience opposition from enemies, let alone from those they love.
Maybe this has happened to you. You’ve got a passion burning in your heart. . .something you are convinced God is calling you to accomplish. You’re so moved that you want to share your excitement and tell someone close to you about it, maybe a friend, a spouse, a parent, or a sibling. But rather than hearing words of support and enthusiasm after you share your heart’s passion, all you hear are words of fear or criticism: “Oh, you shouldn’t do that. That could turn out horribly” or “That will never work” or “What a bad idea.”
Nehemiah experienced this too. In Chapter 4 verse 11, he recorded that his enemies and the enemies of his band of builders said, “Before they know or see a thing, we will come into their midst, kill them, and put an end to their work.” Even though unpleasant, that’s an expected response from an enemy, right?
But what isn’t expected is what Nehemiah recorded in vs. 12. The Jews who Nehemiah and his friends were working to help and serve by rebuilding the wall said, “Wherever you turn, they [our enemies] will attack us.”
That’s not what you want to hear from someone you’re trying to help, right? Granted, it’s understandable they were afraid. But couldn’t they get behind Nehemiah’s vision just a little more? The wall would eventually protect them. Who wants to hear negative news when you’re working to accomplish something great?
Not only can we experience a lack of support from our enemies, but also from those who are close to us who don’t agree with our dream, calling, or purpose.
So, what do you do if a dear friend, family member, or colleague isn’t supporting you? First, listen with the mindset that they don’t have your perspective because God didn’t speak to them. He didn’t lay it on their heart to start that new ministry, visit that sick person, or stand up for the oppressed. He didn’t move their heart. He moved yours. So, they can’t understand your perspective.
Next, remember that sometimes people will project onto others what they feel is impossible, because they think it’s impossible for them. They’ll say you can’t write a book because they feel they can’t write a book. They’ll tell you it’s impossible to get that new job because they think they couldn’t get it. Don’t take it to heart. Just remember what’s motivating them, continue to love them, and keep moving forward. Press into God and do what He is calling you to. You don’t have to have their support, even though you’d like it. The support you need is the support God is giving you. If He called you to it, you can accomplish it. He will equip and empower you.
Lastly, remember that the Adversary wants to use those closest to you to keep you from doing God’s will. Obey God even if someone you love doesn’t agree. Press on, friend. Press on.
“Direct my footsteps according to your word; let no sin rule over me”(Psalm 119:133).
Lord, there are some things that I know I am going to have to do alone. Even those closest to me may not stand with me. But you will stand with me and give me courage and guidance. You will help me even if no one else supports me. Amen.
Is there someone you need to forgive for not being supportive like you hoped?
Deuteronomy 31:8; Deuteronomy 13:4; Galatians 5:25
Don Moen: Trust and Obey
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