To recap the first three steps to overcome Opposition:
1. Be wise to the words of the enemy.
2. Be a strong and courageous soldier.
3. Know your authority in Christ.
4. When the enemy mocks: Pray.
Nehemiah 4:4 (Amplified)
“[And Nehemiah prayed] Hear. O our God, for we are despised, Turn their taunts upon their own heads and give them for a prey in a land of their captivity. Cover not their iniquity and let not their sin be blotted out before You, for they have vexed [with alarm] the builders and provoked You.”
The first thing Nehemiah did after hearing the taunts of the enemy is he stood his ground and prayed. He didn’t allow their words to penetrate his heart. He immediately went to his Source for strength and help. When Nehemiah became aware of the growing opposition; in the face of this fear he prayed. This is what we need to learn, and this is what we need to do – when we face fear; when we become aware of opposition we need to pray.
Far too often we look and listen to the circumstance and become overwhelmed. We start to listen to the lies of the enemy and we retreat or start to doubt if God can help us. Our faith begins to die and fear begins to grow. Remember we have the power and authority to overcome our enemy. We should take note of the opposition, talk to god about it – but never stop doing what’s right.
Nehemiah never stopped, but continued to rebuild the walls.
5. Have a heart and mind to work.
Nehemiah 4:5 (Amplified)
“So we built the wall and all [of it] was joined together to half its height, for the people had a heart and mind to work.”
It is easy to get distracted by the enemy and focus on his threats and stop working on the task at hand. I believe many people have done this and still are doing this. They get discouraged and never complete what God called them to do. Remember, if the enemy isn’t attacking you, you are not a threat to him. Let’s be a threat to the kingdom of darkness every day. We should never give up doing well. We need to learn endurance and perseverance.
I remember when God showed me I didn’t have endurance in my life. He started to reveal my character of how I would always bolt when times were tough. It seemed to be my nature. But God required me to go back to a place I bolted from and to “stick it out.” Many times I wanted to leave. From the very beginning of coming back I wanted to exit. Opposition came at me hard and I had to stay where I was. I would overcome and endure one hardship and think I was done, but right away other opposition came. During this time of learning endurance one of my daughters was given a bracelet that simply had the word, “Endurance” on it. It was bright lime green. I knew God was showing me that I was exactly where I needed to be; learning endurance. So I asked my daughter if I could have the bracelet and I would wear it every time I wanted to bolt. It seemed I would wear it for days on end. But it was a reminder, as I would look down at my wrist that I needed to “keep on keeping on.”
“…so the people had a heart and mind to work.” These people had the vision in their hearts. They didn’t lose sight of what God called them to do. In fact they set a watch against the enemy day and night.
6. The enemy will come in many forms
Nehemiah 4:7 – 8 (Amplified)
“But when Sanballat, Tobiah, the Arabians. Ammonites, and Ashdodites heard that the walls of Jerusalem, were going up and that the breaches were being closed, they were very angry. And they all plotted together to come and fight against Jerusalem, to injure and cause confusion and failure in it.”
The enemies hear of the Jews progress and they decide to get more intense with their threats. They gather more people with like minds to join together to injure and confuse the builders. There are Sanballats, Tobiahs, Arabians, and Ammonites out there today that will try and distract and discourage you. They may even come in the form of a fellow Christian, a family member, or a close friend. Bruce Wilkinson wrote a book entitled, “The Dream Giver.”
In it he refers to the “Border Bullies” who try and prevent us from going beyond what we know. They even come in the form of close relatives or friends. But we can’t allow them to. We have to remember Whom we choose to please.
7. Walking in discouragement gives the advantage to the enemy.
Nehemiah 4:9 – 13
But because of them we made our prayer to our God and set a watch against them day and night. And the leaders of Jerusalem said, The strength of the burden bearers is weakening, and there is much rubbish; we are not able to work on the wall. And our enemies said, They will not know or see till we come into their midst and kill them and stop the work. And when the Jews who lived near them came, they said to us ten times, You must return [to guard our little villages]; from all places where they dwell they will be upon us. So I set [armed men] behind the wall in places where it was least protected; I even thus used the people as families with their swords, spears, and bows.”
The enemy was very angry. They came back again and again, now this time with more force. The people became frightened and discouraged. They started to listen to their enemies’ threats. If we become discouraged the devil knows it and will try and capitalize on his progress. Our discouragement will become the enemy’s opportunity to bring more opposition and fear to stop us from doing what right. We have to keep our hearts and minds focused. We can’t afford a pity party. As soon as we start feeling sorry for ourselves, and bring others along to join our party, the devil sees our weakness and takes advantage of it. The more we “pet” the pity monster, the bigger it becomes, until we can’t see to do anything anymore. Self-pity is a form of pride. We have to stay focused and not fall into this sin.
Nehemiah didn’t flinch and assigned armed guards, even families, to guard the wall. Then the fearless leader gave a “pep talk” to the people.
8. Learn to encourage yourself in the Lord.
Nehemiah 4:14 (Amplified)
“I looked [them over] and rose up and said to the nobles and officials and the other people, Do not be afraid of the enemy; [earnestly] remember the Lord and imprint Him [on your minds], great and terrible, and [take from Him courage to] fight for your brethren, your sons, your daughters, your wives, and your homes.”
As a leader, we have to give “pep talks” to encourage others. Most importantly we have to remember to give these talks to ourselves as well. There are enough things in this world that pull on us to get discouraged. We take ourselves where ever we go so it is imperative for us to learn to speak encouraging words to our self. This is faith in action. We can not rely on our emotions to direct us. In these verses the people were expressing their emotions to Nehemiah and not their faith.
9. Allow faith to arise in your spirit!
Proverbs 3:5 – 6 (NKJV)
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, and he shall direct your paths.”
Bringing the word “understanding” down to the original Hebrew we find it means: “feel, or perceive” among other like meanings.
We can not go by our emotions or what we feel or perceive when it is contrary to the Word of God. We have to rely on God and His wisdom and understanding. We can lead ourselves astray with our own thinking if we have not diligently spent time with God, digesting His word, and acknowledging Him for direction.
Allow faith to arise in you and stand on God’s word. Faith says: We can take this land. Faith says: God is for us so who can be against us? Faith says: No matter what my surroundings are I will trust in the Lord to bring me through. Faith says: If I can’t see God’s hand in action in my life I will trust His heart!
Nehemiah expressed that they should not be afraid as God is bigger! He reminded them to remember the Lord and how awesome His is and be strengthened in the Lord. This brought encouragement and the people kept on working. We should never stop working and doing what God assigns us to do. Don’t be a quitter even in the face of the enemy, endure and never quit.
10. Live everyday to work and fight!
Nehemiah 4:15 – 17 (Amplified)
“And when our enemies heard that their plot was known to us and that God had frustrated their purpose, we all returned to the wall, everyone to his work. And from that time forth, half of my servants worked at the task, and the other half held the spears, shields, bows, and coats of mail (breastplate); and the leaders stood behind all the house of Judah. Those who built the wall and those who bore burdens loaded themselves so that everyone worked with one hand and held a weapon with the other hand.”
We can learn so much from this story about spiritual warfare in our everyday life. I think often times people don’t realize the enemy never lets up. Everyday he is trying to bring us down and to defeat us. Everyday the enemy wants us to fail and to give up.
We have to be militant and look at everyday as an opportunity to do what God has called us to do and to be aware of the enemy’s tactics. We have to build and fight!
Hide the Word of God in your heart so you can use it like a weapon when the enemy tries to attack. Continue on with your life and your calling no matter what the devil throws at you. Never give up!
11. Remember God will fight for you!
Nehemiah 4:18 – 20
“And every builder had his sword girded by his side, and so worked. And he who sounded the trumpet was at my side. And I said to the nobles and officials and the rest of the people, the work is great and scattered, and we are separated on the wall, one far from another. In whatever place you hear the sound of the trumpet, rally to us there. God will fight for us!”
God is our Mighty Warrior! He cannot fail. He never loses a battle, never flinches under pressure, and never turns in defeat and gives up. If God is for us, who can be against us (Romans 8:31)? We are not fighting this battle alone. God is on our side. He will not leave us helpless or hopeless.
Psalm 118:6 – 7
“The Lord is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me? The Lord is on my side and takes my part, He is among those who help me; therefore shall I see my desire established upon those who hate me.”
Hebrews 13:5b – 6
“…for He [God] Himself has said, I will not in any way fail you nor give you up nor leave you without support. [I will] not, [I will] not in any degree leave you helpless nor forsake nor let [you] down (relax My hold on you)! [Assuredly not!]. So we take comfort and are encouraged and confidently and boldly say, The Lord is my helper; I will not be seized with alarm [I will not fear or dread or be terrified]. What can man do to me?”
“What can man do to me?” It doesn’t matter what people think. If they don’t approve of what you are doing for God, let their opinion wash right off of you. Don’t allow another person’s opinion of you to prevent you from fulfilling your ultimate purpose and destiny in your life.
We will never have the approval of everyone. There will always be someone who doesn’t like you or what you do. No matter how much you try to please others, it will never completely happen. If you live your life to try and please others and win their approval, you are living in turmoil and becoming their puppet. You will never be happy or satisfied in life. It is not about what others think, but what God thinks. Live for pleasing God and not man.
12. Surround yourself with intercessors.
Nehemiah 4:21 – 23
“So we labored at the work while half of them held the spears from dawn until the stars came out. At that time also I said to the people, Let everyone with his servant lodge within Jerusalem, that at night they may be a guard to us and a laborer during the day. So none of us – I, my kinsmen, my servants nor the men of the guard who followed me – took off our clothes; each kept his weapon [in his hand for days].”
Surround your self with people who will come and pray and support you. It is vitally important to have faithful people who will be at your side when you need it — people who have the same vision and goal as you — who will battle the enemy along side you. Remember we are stronger working together then we ever can be working as a loner.
Regardless of all the Sanballats and Tobiah’s in the world, the battle belongs to the Lord. He cannot fail! It is not in His character. God will fight for you! Remember one of the enemy’s tactics is to tell you many lies and mock you for your work. He will tell you how bad you are and how terrible the work you are doing is. Remind yourself you ARE on the right side and cannot be defeated. Even though you may get opposition, opposition doesn’t mean you are doing something wrong. Use opposition for your benefit. Allow it to fuel your determination to finish what you’ve started. When opposition comes turn it around and allow faith to arise in you.
Don’t oppose yourself. Don’t beat yourself up by believing the lies of the enemy. Don’t think you are a bad person just because there is opposition.
As you are cleaning the rubble from your past and rebuilding your present, trust that God has great plans for your future. He is rebuilding you and making you more like His Son. We have the mind of Christ (1 Cor. 2:16). Therefore we can, by His Spirit, think like Him, talk like Him, and act like Him. We are influenced by His Spirit.
Be strong and courageous in battle. Remember your Great Warrior is fighting the battle for you. Most importantly; Never Give Up!!!
Pastor Kris Belfils