Whenever we are doing good work we can always expect it to be resisted, evil hates good and will stop at nothing to stall or stop it from producing fruit. Expect the resistance and rejoice when it comes. Jesus said, "Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great [is] your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you. - Mat 5:12 NKJV
If people resisted the Savior of the world and the prophets that foretold of Him how much more will they resist the work dedicated to Him? The devil comes for no other reason except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy (Jn 10:10). The best thing about trials, persecution, and demonic resistance is that it means you are on the right track. These things will bring about godly character, more like Jesus personality, and an ability to love at levels deeper than most if we overcome them in the power of God and not in our own strength.
My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. - Jas 1:2-3 Once our faith is tested and begins to produce patience we will find ourselves on the way to maturity. When maturity begins, we can then begin to add goodness, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, mutual affection, and love to our faith (2Pe 1). When we have reached this level of relationship in Christ Jesus, we are almost guaranteed to reflect the light of Christ in whatever darkness we may end up in. Praise God! Trials bring about good things if we lean into them instead of resisting them.
There will always be enemies in our lives, and sometimes they will come in the form of friends, family, co-workers, and others. Jealousy and fear come forth for various reasons and these emotions will bring ugly out of anyone! When Nehemiah began the work of the Lord to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem he encountered many enemies and much hatred.
Nehemiah received permission from King Artaxerxes to go to Judah with safe travels through enemy territory and to be given the timber for the gates to be built. Once he arrived at the broken-down walls and word got out that the walls would be rebuilt the resistance began.
The Bible says, When Sanballat the Horonite and Tobiah the Ammonite official heard about this, they were very much disturbed that someone had come to promote the welfare of the Israelites. - Neh 2:10 NIV
After a meeting with the Jews, priests, nobles, officials and others who did the work there was an agreement of the people to start the work. Immediately the resistance increased and added to Sanballat and Tobiah are Geshem the Arab. Adversity will get stronger the closer you are to getting the good work started.
Respond With Faith
Nehemiah’s response to the resistance was “The God of Heaven Himself will prosper us; therefore we His servants will arise and build, but you have no heritage or right or memorial in Jerusalem.” Neh 2:20 Nehemiah began warfare by faith in His Protector and his inheritance in God. This is how we are to resist the enemy as we encounter resistance as well. We submit to God, resist the devil, and believe he will flee (Ja 4:7).
As the work goes forth on the walls so does the anger of the enemies of the people of God. Sanballat was so angry that his anger turned to furious and indignant and with that attitude, he began to mock the Jews as they did the work of the Lord.
Tobiah joins in, and they curse the work of the Jews saying it will break and will not withstand but Nehemiah pleads with the Lord to turn their reproach on their own heads! In other words, Nehemiah and the others didn’t cry and complain nor did they give up, they simply asked the Lord to deal with their enemies.
We are to learn to do the same thing, ask God to help us with regards to ridicule, mocking and slander as it comes during the work we are called to do. We learn in maturity to bless our enemies and not curse them; not to stumble at the smirks and persecution of others because we know souls are at risk if we should fall apart in the days of adversity.
Find People Like-Minded
The Bible tells us the “the people had a mind to work” but when they had the wall built to half its height many enemies came forth to try to destroy the work. Sanballat, Tobiah, the Arabs, the Ammonites, and the Ashdodites became angry, and they conspired together to attack Jerusalem and create confusion. The enemy has gone from a couple of disturbed people to several furious enemies. The reason the work was able to continue and be completed is that the people had the same mind, they were of one accord in spite of the many assaults against them.
The enemy works through people by creating confusion through accusations and fear, in hopes that you will retreat from the work and give up. It is of the utmost importance that you do the work of the Lord with the people He calls forth and not the ones you desire. If you pick the people on your own without inquiring of the Lord, you may end up with those who will conspire against you while in your camp.
When the confusion and accusations come, it is time to increase prayer and set a watch against the enemy! When the enemy comes out with full force even to the point of killing your work, your dream, your marriage, your ministry, or anything else you are trying to accomplish for the kingdom of God it is time to fight with the arsenal of God. Pull out the scriptures and speak to your adversary and the atmosphere and declare that no weapon formed against you or the work of the Lord shall prosper and that every tongue risen against you in judgment shall be condemned because this is your heritage in the Lord! (Isa 54:17) Don’t quit and don’t grumble, but gather your resources in people and the Holy Spirit and go to war with faith, knowing that there may be some casualties but in the end, the work will be completed and you and those doing the work with you will be refreshed.
There is so much we can learn from Nehemiah and the rebuilding of the walls of Jerusalem; it is a very encouraging story. We see revival coming forth because people conspired together for the good of God in repentance and community.
We must remember that we are soldiers of the Cross, we are called to battle an invisible adversary that uses people to bring forth his destructive plans. While we are doing any good work called forth by God, it is imperative that we go forth with our armor on.
Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. ... and take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. - Eph 6:11, 13 It is by the word of truth, by the power of God, by the armor of righteousness on the right hand and on the left, - 2Co 6:7 that we can stand in the days of adversities. Remember that Jesus said, “In this world you will have trouble.” But we are to take heart and remember that Jesus has overcome this world and in Him we can have peace in trouble and overcome the world as well. (Jn 16:33).
Heavenly Father, today I choose to face adversity with faith. I ask Your forgiveness for the sins of grumbling and fear, forgive me for the times I have run away from troubles instead of facing them with Your strength. As You send me forth to heal the sick, bring sight to the blind, and cast out demons, I go by faith in You and not my own ability. Remind me daily of the call You have given me and that because You have called me to it, I can be sure to have victory over the naysayers because You have called it forth already. Help me to be thankful and rejoice in the days of adversity knowing that through the testing of my faith my character is becoming more like Jesus. In Jesus name, Amen