Opposition and Spiritual Warfare
We cannot talk about Spiritual warfare without talking about opposition. When ever you are doing a work for the Lord, or when God is bringing healing in your life you will experience opposition. People will question your motives of why you are doing what you are doing. You may experience opposition from people you least expect it from. Opposition may come through financial difficulties or health issues, family members, or co-workers. The question is: “What is your reaction when someone opposes you?”
Opposition will come. It may come from those you would expect, or it may come from the least likely person or source.
The enemy will try to intimidate you in hopes to prevent you from moving forward or succeeding.
I want to take a look at a book in the Bible that will shows us opposition will come, but it will also shows us how to keep on keeping on!
Nehemiah was a contemporary of Ezra and a cupbearer to the king. He led the Jewish captives back to Jerusalem after the Babylonian exile. His faith in God and his love for his people are impressive – and this, in spite of hardship and opposition. Opposition from the outside and discouragement from the inside, yet the task of rebuilding was complete in only fifty-two days. As in the story of Nehemiah and rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem, he experienced opposition all along the way from his enemies. From the time he was given permission from the king and scouted out the land, to the very end of completing the walls, Nehemiah was attacked. I want to look at this story and see the steps to combat opposition and break intimidation your enemy will try to throw at you.
Living in the Rubble
“And they said unto me, The remnant that are left of the captivity there in the province are in great affliction and reproach: the wall of Jerusalem also is broken down, and the gates thereof are burned with fire.”
It is worth getting rid of the rubble in our lives. Sometimes the removal of rubble is costly. We may have to give up things. God might require change. Sometimes it is painful, but all the time it is worth cleaning up. Are you living in the rubble of broken dreams, or broken relationships? Do you look at the mess and think it is hopeless to try and rebuild? You need a different perspective on it. From God’s point of view He sees potential. He sees the finished product. Too many times we settle for the rubble and give up. We forget what was there. When God helps us rebuild He brings total healing to our foundation and starts to build up. He knows what needs to be integrated into the structure to fortify it. He knows the process we need to take to become whole again.
God is a god of completion. Just look at His creation and see His beautiful fruit, vegetation, trees, and people. A mango is complete from seed to growing into an adult ripe fruit. God will bring completion to your life too. It is easy to get frustrated when you don’t see the progress you want to see, but don’t get discouraged or give up. God has a plan and will rebuild you in His time.
Nehemiah 1:4 – 11 – Nehemiah’s prayer and cry to the Lord! he wept, and mourned, he fasted and prayed for many days.
Nehemiah 2:1-10 [READ] – Nehemiah sent to Jerusalem – Nehemiah didn’t tell anyone what was in his heart as he went out by night to see the destruction of the walls.
Nehemiah 2:11 – 17 [READ] – Nehemiah views the wall of Jerusalem
12 Steps to Overcome Opposition
1. Be wise to the words of the enemy.
Nehemiah 2:19 (HCSB)
“When Sanballat the Horonite, Tobiah the Ammonite official, and Geshem the Arab heard about this, they mocked and despised us, and said, “What is this you’re doing? Are you rebelling against the king?”
We have to be wise to the words the enemy uses to try and bring discouragement and fear in our lives. In the case of Nehemiah, he stayed strong at each attack.
Nehemiah 4:1 – 3
“But when Sanballat heard that we were building the wall, he was angry and in a great rage, and he ridiculed the Jews. And he said before his brethren and the army of Samaria, What are these feeble Jews doing? Will they restore things [at will and by themselves]? Will they [try to bribe their God] with sacrifices? Will they finish up in a day? Will they revive the stones out of the heaps of rubbish seeing they are burned? Now Tobiah the Ammonite was near him, and he said, What they build – if a fox, climbs upon it, he will break down their stone wall.”
Isn’t it amazing how the very insults had to do with Nehemiah’s faith and his actions? This is how the enemy works. Satan tries to hit us with his best shot and targets the very core of who we are.
In this case, Sanballat ridicules Nehemiah and calls him, and the rest of the Jews, “feeble” and questions their actions of rebuilding the walls. Sanballat also mocks the worship practices of the Jews by saying, “Will they [try to bribe their God] with sacrifices?” He knew how the Jews worshipped, and attacked with words that could have brought discouragement and fear. Yet Nehemiah didn’t flinch.
The last phrase of Sandballat’s attack, “Will they revive the stones out of the heaps of rubbish seeing they are burned?” is actually prophetic as that is exactly what the Jews accomplished.
Tobiah attacked their actions by stating, “What they build – if a fox, climbs upon it, he will break down their stone wall” insinuating all the work the Jews were doing was weak and will be destroyed easily.
This gives us a good look at how the devil works in our life. He will scheme and mock our faith and actions hoping we will start believing his lies and become fearful.
We have to recognize his lies from the beginning. If we start believing them we will fail. You see we are in a spiritual battle everyday. You enlisted in this battle when you received Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior and believed in God. You are a soldier. You have to be militant!
2. Be a strong and courageous soldier.
2 Timothy 2:3-4 (HCSB)
“Share in suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. To please the recruiter, no one serving as a soldier gets entangled in the concerns of everyday life.”
Don’t get entangled with the concerns of everyday life. If you do, you will not see the enemy coming. We can trust God with our everyday concerns as we are delighting our self in Him and following His Word. We have to be strong and courageous as we work for the Lord or receive His healing touch of rebuilding.
God told Joshua to be strong and courageous many times. I believe this was because we as humans need that encouragement and reminder.
Joshua 1:6 – 9 (HCSB)
“Be strong and courageous, for you will distribute the land I swore to their fathers to give them as an inheritance. Above all, be strong and very courageous to carefully observe the whole instruction My servant Moses commanded you. Do not turn from it to the right or the left, so that you will have success wherever you go. This book of instruction must not depart from your mouth; you are to recite it day and night, so that you may carefully observe everything written in it. For then you will prosper and succeed in whatever you do. Haven’t I commanded you: be strong and courageous? Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.”
Joshua was just that, “strong and courageous.” He fought the inhabitants of the land and won. The Israelites did receive their promise land. He didn’t allow fear to creep in to his thinking.
Fear can paralyze us if we let it. Fear has the potential to tear us apart and possibly divide us. We have to believe in faith that God will be there for us. He promises this in His word.
Joshua 10:8 (CEV)
“Joshua,” the LORD said, “don’t be afraid of the Amorites. They will run away when you attack, and I will help you defeat them.”
3. Know your authority in Christ.
Our job is to get in the battle position that God has commanded us and let God to the rest. This has always been my motto when ever I do ministry of any kind, be it preaching, leading worship, or even one on one with someone. I know God will do His part as I am faithful and do what God has called me to do.
God has called us. We must be strong and bold and unashamed. We walk in the authority that has been given to us through Christ.
Luke 10:19 (HCSB)
“Look, I have given you the authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and over all the power of the enemy; nothing will ever harm you.”
Knowing this, we can be assured that God is with us and we should never be afraid of the enemy. The enemy wants us to believe we have no authority over him. Once we have this knowledge, he can’t do anything to us. He lies to us to believe he has power, but he doesn’t. Our fear can give him temporary power in that it stifles us and paralyzes us. That is why we need to not fear and to walk in the boldness God has given us.
3. know Your Authority In Christ
Authority over the enemy:
Isa 54:17 (HCSB)
“No weapon formed against you will succeed, and you will refute any accusation raised against you in court. This is the heritage of the LORD’s servants, and their righteousness is from Me.” This is the LORD’s declaration.”
Mat 16:19 (KJV)
“And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”
Mar 6:7 (HCSB)
“He summoned the Twelve and began to send them out in pairs and gave them authority over unclean spirits.”
Mar 16:15-18 (ESV)
“And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. And these signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up serpents with their hands; and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover.”
Eph 6:10-18 (HCSB)
“Finally, be strengthened by the Lord and by His vast strength. Put on the full armor of God so that you can stand against the tactics of the Devil. For our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the world powers of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavens. This is why you must take up the full armor of God, so that you may be able to resist in the evil day, and having prepared everything, to take your stand. Stand, therefore, with truth like a belt around your waist, righteousness like armor on your chest, and your feet sandaled with readiness for the gospel of peace. In every situation take the shield of faith, and with it you will be able to extinguish the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is God’s word. With every prayer and request, pray at all times in the Spirit, and stay alert in this, with all perseverance and intercession for all the saints.”
Be looking for 12 Steps to Overcome Opposition Part 2 next week.
Pastor Kris Belfils