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Opposition

God allowed the Jews to be taken into exile in Babylon because of their sins. The king of Babylon took the Jews as slaves and a lot of their possessions with him to Babylon. However, the kingdom of Babylon was soon defeated by the king of Persia who allowed the Jews to return back to their own land. Only a few of the Jews returned back home as some stayed behind in Babylon.

Many years later, Nehemiah’s brother, Hanani and some men visited Nehemiah in Babylon. Nehemiah questioned them about the Jewish remnant that had survived the exile and also about Jerusalem, the capital of Judah. The men replied him saying, "Those who survived the exile are in great trouble and disgrace. The wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates have been burned with fire” (Nehemiah 1:3).

This news made Nehemiah very sad, “When I heard these things, I sat down and wept. For some days I mourned and fasted and prayed before the God of heaven” (Nehemiah 1:4.). Nehemiah was then allowed by the king to go to Jerusalem to rebuild the walls of the city. When Nehemiah got to Jerusalem, he encountered oppositions who tried to stop him from building the wall. However, Nehemiah committed everything to the Lord, and they were able to build the walls in 52 days.

Just like Nehemiah, when the Lord calls a person to serve Him; opposition usually follows. Opposition sometimes comes in a very subtle manner, and at other times it comes through strong and open resistance. Opposition can come from one’s family, best friends, Church, unbelievers and believers. The fact of the matter is we would all experience oppositions at one stage or the other in our lives. The earlier we know how to deal with oppositions, the better for us.

Types of oppositions we face as Christians

MOCKERY AND SARCASM

Mockery and sarcasm are ways the enemies can use to stop you from doing what the Lord has asked you to do. Sanballat and his friends gathered to mock the Jews before the work has even begun. They asked sarcastic questions, “What are these feeble Jews doing? Will they restore it for themselves? Will they sacrifice? Will they finish up in a day? Will they revive the stones out of the heaps of rubbish, and burned ones at that?” Tobiah the Ammonite was beside him, and he said, “Yes, what they are building—if a fox goes up on it he will break down their stone wall!” (Nehemiah 4:2-3)

It is not unusual for the enemy to insult anyone involved in God’s work. Goliath ridiculed David, Jesus was mocked by the soldiers and some of the heroes of the faith had to endure mocking. I remember after i was ordained a pastor few people mocked me. One said, “you think you are a fine boy” and another added, “so you don’t want to get married”. We have to understand that the devil will use anybody at its disposal to mock you including your own family

THREATS AND INTIMIDATION.

If one form of opposition does not work, the devil usually gets more aggressive. In the case of Nehemiah, the enemies used threats of violence in order to stop the Jews from building the wall. This is still a common thing today; Satan still uses subtle threats and intimidation to oppose Christians. “If you don’t keep quiet about the fraudulent activities going on at your place of work, you will get fired, If you discipline your child as the Scripture says, the authorities will take them away from you, If you say anything against LGBT or ever mention hydroxychloroquine on Facebook, you will get banned”.

Christians are facing so many threats that a lot of Christians dare not tell their colleagues at work that they are Christians. These are all the plan of the devil; to stop you from speaking up. If you do not voice your objection to any issue, then it is assumed that you support it. What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? (Romans 8:32).

DISCOURAGEMENT

Satan is a tactical fighter and he doesn’t give up easily. He knows when to strike. Discouragement doesn’t come when you have the zeal to do something. It comes when you start to get weary and tired. The people in Judah said, “The strength of those who bear the burdens is failing. There is too much rubble” (Nehemiah 4:10). Discouragement is a key weapon in Satan’s Arsenal. It was discouragement that kept the Israelites from entering the promised land at kadesh. They said, “we can’t attack those people; they are way stronger than we are. We even saw giant there, Next to them we felt like grasshoppers, and that’s what they thought of us” (Numbers 13:32-33).

“We are not able!” is the rallying cry of all who take their eyes of the Lord and start looking at themselves and their problem. Nehemiah didnt pay much attention to these complainers but went right on with the work. If you take time away from your work to listen to everybody who wants your attention, you will never get anything done.

It is worth knowing that Discouragement leads to negative thoughts and negative thoughts lead to depression.

FEAR (Nehemiah 4:14)

Fear is the cumulative effect of all of the above factors. Satan uses fear to paralyse God’s people and keep them from attempting anything significant for the Lord. Maybe it’s a fear of failure; “you’ve never done it before, or “you don’t know if you can do it”. It may be a fear of rejection; If you try it, others will think you are a fanatic and stand off from you. These are some of the tactics that Satan uses to oppose God’s work both in projects that people undertake in advancing the Lord’s work and in individual hearts that want to advance spiritually.

How should we respond to such opposition?

Pray

Prayer should be our first response to any opposition we face. We spend so much time talking about what we are facing that we sometime forget to pray about it. Talking about a problem will not solve it. Just as the Jews lifted u their voices in prayer so should we.

Don’t give up.

Persistence is the ability to maintain action regardless of your feelings. You press on even when you feel like quitting, until you achieve that important goal. People give up too soon because they have wrong expectations of themselves and the outcome. We were told the Jews put their hearts into the work. You must keep your mind focused on the Lord and not on the opposition.

Put your heart into it. No matter how many oppositions you face in life, never give up! Trust that your God is able to see you through.

“No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, that you may be able to endure it” (1 Corinthians 10:13).

Be vigilante

Many Christians are oblivious to the dangers that come from our adversary the devil, who prowls about like a roaring lion, seeking to devour us (1 Peter 5:8). They go out into the world without putting on the full armour of God (Ephesians 6:10-20). Just as Nehemiah, we must be vigilant and always put on the full armour of God. Don’t be caught unaware.

If we are not vigilant, Satan will deceive us. “Therefore, let us not sleep, as others do, but let us watch and be sober. For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk are drunk at night. But let us who are of the day be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet the hope of salvation. For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Thessalonians 5:6-9).

Conclusion

Whenever you have an opportunity to do something great for Christ, you will face opposition. Keep praying and don’t give up because what's on the other side of your opposition is worth the fight.

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