1 Corinthians 16:9 For a great and effective door has been opened to me, and there are many adversaries.
Have you ever known that you were supposed to do something but everything seemed to being going against you? Paul recognized the opportunity ahead of him, but he also saw the opposition. With every opportunity there will always be opposition and obstacles placed in our path to try to detour us from what we are trying to accomplish. We feel the calling and are excited at the new opportunity placed before us, but we often cave in when opposition appears. However, the obstacles that are placed in our path are simply stepping stones on our path to success!
Paul talked about so many different obstacles that had been placed before him in Acts 20 and in verses 22-24 he tells us how those oppositions affected him:
Acts 20:22-24 “And see, now I go bound in the spirit to Jerusalem, not knowing the things that will happen to me there, “except that the Holy Spirit testifies in every city, saying that chains and tribulations await me. “But none of these things move me; nor do I count my life dear to myself, so that I may finish my race with joy, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.”
Paul knew that opposition awaited him everywhere he went, but he had learned to overcome it; to not allow it to stop what he felt he had been called to do. Reaching the goal at the end of his life was bigger than the fear of what the opposition could do to him.
You may think that this doesn’t apply to you; that you are not on the same level with Paul. He was a great preacher and apostle called to the work of ministry. But whatever you feel you have been called to do, whether it is to take a new job, make some changes in your lifestyle or health, get married, or go to college, there will always be obstacles to face and overcome. With every new endeavor there are new challenges! If we will take the proper attitude towards the opposition we will find that it will actually work for our good.
The difference in whether we achieve success or not is in how we view the challenges placed before us. We can go into them knowing that, as a believer, we have God’s support and empowerment to win; to achieve the desired goals; or we can look at the obstacles and back down because of the size of them, not having the faith that we can do it or that God is for us and will help us. The size of the obstacle is not really what is important; it is our attitude towards the obstacle that either causes us to win or lose. We win or lose by what we think about what we are up against. The battle is in the mind. Attitude is everything! You can either soar with the eagles or be confined to the ground with the chickens. Which would you prefer?
Mark 9:23 Jesus said to him, “If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.”
Jesus saw that the disciples had met opposition in their ministry to the child with a mute spirit. They were not able to free him of the demonic control that was constantly throwing him into convulsions. Their inability to set the child free affected the faith of the child’s father. Jesus then told the father that his problem was not that the disciples failed in ministering freedom to the child, but that it was an issue with his faith. We must believe in order to receive! Once the father had the problem identified he was able to call on the Lord to help him.
Mark 9:24 Immediately the father of the child cried out and said with tears, “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!”
Sometimes we are at a certain level of faith, but we need an extra boost to be fully assured that what we are believing for will come into manifestation. I know that when I started to college I believed that God had asked me to do that, but the 4 month time frame that I had to complete 10 courses became an obstacle to me. I constantly had to go the the Lord with this same attitude as the little boy’s father; “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!” I was at a certain level of faith, but needed the assurance that God was there, helping me to overcome the obstacles. It was a walk of faith, not of sight; I needed to trust God to help me achieve my goals.
Do you trust God to see you through to whatever it is that you are trying to accomplish? Do you believe that He is for you and will help you? The disciples thought they needed more faith so they ask Jesus to increase their faith and He responded by saying this:
Luke 17:6 So the Lord said, “If you have faith as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree. ‘Be pulled up by the roots and be planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you.”
It’s not that we need more faith, but we need applied faith. We just need to believe what God says and then act on it in order for our faith to be activated! Strong faith comes from having a strong foundation based on God’s word:
Matthew 7:24-27 “Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock; “and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock. “But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand: “and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall.”
You see the wind and rain come to all of us, but Jesus said the key to withstanding the storms is having a firm foundation based on His word and then acting on what you know that He has said. The key to standing strong is basing your life on what God says, not what you see happening around you. If God said you can do this, then believe it and act on it. It is when we ignore what God has said to us that we fall.
Paul said in Philippians 4:13 that he could do all things because of the strength that he received through Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:13 AMP I have strength for all things in Christ Who empowers me [I am ready for anything and equal to anything through Him Who infuses inner strength into me; I am self-sufficient in Christ’s sufficiency].
Can you say, as Paul said, that you are ready for anything and equal to anything through Him Who fills your inner being with strength? He recognized his inability, but he was convinced that he could do it through Christ’s sufficiency. He believed that even though there were obstacles and opposition, through Christ’s strength he could accomplish his goals. When I look at this scripture I get a picture in my mind of Jesus standing over me with a funnel on top of my head pouring His strength into me. It’s as if He is filling me up so I will be sufficient for whatever I’m going through, not in my own sufficiency, but in His.
God said in 1 John 4:4 that when we meet up with spiritual opposition we can know that we will win because “He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.”
The greater One lives in you and me! How can we lose if God Himself is living and moving through us as we meet up with opposition?
Romans 8:35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?
Romans 8:37 Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.
There is no opposition that can stop us when God is for us! He is on our side and He makes a way where there seems to be no way. We are more than conquerors through Him who loves us! Begin to see yourself as God sees you. He sees you as a winner, not a loser. He doesn’t see you struggling to make it through the difficulties; He sees you rising above them and conquering them! In order to win you must change the way you think about opposition!
Romans 12:2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.
Renew your mind to the truth of God’s word and the obstacles in your path will become the stepping stones to your success!
Father, I thank You for making me more than a conqueror through Christ Jesus! You have made it possible for me to always be a winner! Thank You, Lord Jesus, for strengthening me for whatever lies ahead of me. I know that I can do all things through Your strength, Lord! You are my strength and my salvation. It’s in You that I live and move and have my being. Praise Your holy name! Father, I lift my friends up to You this morning that may be struggling with opposition in their lives. I ask You to show them the way over the difficulties so they may also be more than conquerors in their life’s endeavors. Help them to see themselves as the victors that You have created them to be. May they devour Your word until the Spirit of God brings it to life within them so that they know they are the winners that You have created them to be. Thank You, Father, for hearing and answering my prayers this morning. In Jesus name. Amen.