Episode 79 - Two types of opposition we face and how to overcome them
In this episode, Jen and AJ are discussing Nehemiah chapters 4 and 5, and looking at two different ways we encounter opposition + how to overcome them!
Jen and AJ start this episode by sharing about AJ’s love for clean floors! In a previous episode, we talked about our favorite household duty. It was a Q & A episode (you can listen to it here, it’s really fun with lots of great advice!) and the question was “Which would you rather do? Clean the floors, bathrooms, or dishes?
AJ chose floors and our question today is a follow-up to some useful information she shared with us a few episodes ago. So go back and listen when you can!
For the past 2 episodes of the Nehemiah series, we've been talking about our mission. If you are a believer, then you are also on a mission with us. We are all on a mission together, and our mission is to build a kingdom of God. To glorify God in all that we do.
So let’s stop a second and acknowledge that when we go after our mission in life, the mission that God has given us, and do so intentionally, we're gonna get some pushback.
We do have a very real enemy and he does not want to give up any space that he currently occupies. When we attempt to be obedient to God, we are inevitably going to be encroaching on the darkness and on enemy territory, and they're not going to give it up.
We must understand that there is spiritual warfare involved in this. Being a woman of God, being someone who is on mission, will cause you to be a threat to the world.
We have already won the battle. So even though there is opposition to us, we are fighting from a winning position and we need to remember that as well.
In chapters four and five of Nehemiah, we see two different kinds of opposition.
There's a lot of different ways in which we can face opposition, and Nehemiah gives us a couple of different overarching big picture ways that we need to think about and recognize.
In chapter four, the opposition Nehemiah faced was external opposition. Nehemiah prays each time to God. He makes a plan. His people are scared, but Nehemiah tells them “don't be afraid. Remember the Lord who is great and mighty, fight for your brothers, your sons, your daughters, your wives.”
It talks about how the external opposition heard that the repairing of the walls was going forward and the breaches were beginning to be closed, and they were very angry. The enemy will be angry when our breaches close, but we have to first know where the weak spots are.
Nowadays, there's so much opposition to our mission. One of the things we see in this chapter is that the enemy is out to cause confusion. And there is so much confusion today around “What is Christianity? What do Christians stand for?”
“What should we do? Should we be more relevant to people?” There's so much confusion about how to respond to what’s happening culturally, and that in and of itself is a tactic to create division, to get our attention off of what's really most important and onto these secondary issues.
What offers you the most confusion? Recognizing that about ourselves is really important and then to try and close the breach. We can't fix the wall and we can't strengthen our weak spots unless we know what they are.
Someone once said the body of Christ is only as strong as the weakest link. There’s some truth to that because Christianity isn't just a solo sport. The building of the wall wasn't a solo sport. If one person was getting distracted or falling down on their duty, if one section wasn't doing what they needed to do, the enemy was still able to get in. They still were unprotected.
And I think a lot of times we can say “my laziness in my spiritual walk doesn't affect anybody.” That is not true. If we are not at the strength or the capacity that we need to be at personally, or we're not spiritually taking care of ourselves by feeding ourselves the word of God and nourishing our spirits and being vigilant about issues, habits, things in our lives, it’s going to affect others. The breach in the wall is serious. It's not just a personal matter, it's a community matter.
The good news is that we have the strength to fortify it. We have that strength because of Christ in us. We can fortify those spots.
In Nehemiah 5, the next thing that happens is Nehemiah confronts some wealthy Jews because they had been exploiting their fellow Jews during the rebuilding process.
The greatest challenge for them and for us at times as well, is not necessarily external, it's how we live together in grace and community. When we do not contend with each other in gracious ways as Christians, as believers, that is one of the biggest forms of opposition against the mission in general.
Keep in mind that we can sometimes be somebody else's opposition if we are not walking in the spirit, if we are not being clothed with kindness and compassion. It is so easy to say something flippantly in our minds that can actually be hurtful, harmful, or a stumbling block to somebody else.
It's just little things if we are not sensitive or thoughtful to what's going on in the lives of those around us. We can really hurt people.
Nehemiah was an example of sacrificial leadership when Jews were hurting other Jews. He made his servants go work on the wall just like everybody else, instead of using them in his own service.. He was a great example. And in the end, the people repented of their misdoings.
That's where we wanna get to as people of God, because we're not going to become perfect, but we CAN be repentant and be people who live graciously with one another.
For the good of the mission and the good of the people, we also have to be willing to let go of our hurt feelings, to let go of our preferences, to let go of our rights, and even our privileges. We have to be willing to let those things go, so we can fulfill the mission that God's given us to do.
And that's a question we all need to ask ourselves. Are we willing to do that? Are we willing to say yes to the Lord's call on our lives in that way?
We'll see you next week!
If you wanna study Nehemiah with us, this is the perfect time to jump on board Sojo Academy. Let’s do it together! sojoacademy.com
- Become a Sojo Academy member: a community for Christian women that encourages Bible Study, fellowship, and creative worship. CHECK IT OUT HERE.
- Q&A + Advices episode HERE.
Learn more about "Becoming Battle Ready: A Study of Spiritual Warfare and the Armor of God" 4-Week Bible Study: HERE.
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