Friend, we all face opposition sometimes. Maybe you’re facing it right now.
Sometimes opposition happens simply because there are disagreeable people in your life. It could be from an unreasonable boss or an intrusive neighbor. Maybe it’s in the constant pushback you get from a family member or the outright meanness you experience from somebody you love.
But, with great opportunity comes great opposition too. Sometimes resistance is a sign that you’ve made the enemy mad. You’re doing what he wants to prevent. So, if you know you’re following the Lord, opposition can be an even bigger motivator because it can serve as confirmation that you’re on the path God set for you.
But just because opposition can be a motivator doesn’t mean it can’t wear us out. So, how do you handle opposition when you feel weary and ready to quit?
On this episode of the 4:13 Podcast, KC and I dig into Nehemiah 4 and look at four biblical ways you can handle opposition. You’ll learn how to stay strong no matter what you face. Plus, we end with a great song by Micah Christopher. It’s an anthem that you’ll be singing all day.
4 Ways to Handle Opposition
- Confess, don’t suppress. When you face opposition, you can either take it out on others or talk it out with God. Nehemiah 4:4 says, “Hear us, our God, for we are despised. Turn their insults back on their own heads.” Notice who Nehemiah and the people were talking to in this verse. They didn’t say they were going to return insults to their enemies. Instead, they asked God to take care of those who opposed them.
Often, we take our stress and frustration out on our enemy or the one who opposes us. When we do, things just get worse. And, even if we don’t take revenge on our enemy, if we don’t talk it out with God, we may take it out on somebody on our team. We transfer our emotions to the wrong person. But if we do that, we won’t stay strong. Rather, we’ll weaken our closest relationships.
So, friend, take it to God and talk it out with Him. Be intentional not to transfer it, repress it, and act like it isn’t a big deal. Confess it all to God and tell Him. Psalm 62:8 says, “Trust in Him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts to Him, for God is our refuge.” When we pour out our hearts to God, we need to tell Him how we feel. He hears, and He cares. When you really know that, you can stay strong no matter how intense the opposition is against you.
- Pray and post a guard. Nehemiah 4:9 says, “But we prayed to our God and posted a guard day and night to meet this threat.” It’s interesting that they didn’t just pray and forget about it. They prayed, they trusted, and they still acted wisely and guarded the city.
When you face opposition, you need to apply the same principle. You pray for protection and resolution, but you also take precautions. You set up relational boundaries if you need to. You limit time or exposure to the offender. You don’t do anything to intentionally provoke the person.
It’s okay to protect yourself. This may mean you need to say no. If they are already pushing back and grumpy, then telling them no will not rock their already grumpy world, but it may bring a little peace to yours.
- Watch your low walls. We read in Nehemiah 4:13, “Therefore I stationed some of the people behind the lowest points of the walls, by the exposed places. Posting them by families with their swords, spears and bows.” The high wall didn’t need guarding, but the low walls were their vulnerability. They needed to be reinforced. Consider your vulnerability and think about your “low walls.” What are the weaknesses in your life that you need to guard? Ask God to help you be aware of them and guard them well.
Also, did you notice in this verse that Nehemiah posted guards by families? We need our people to stand with us and guard us in prayer. We don’t do this alone—ever. Second Corinthians 10:3-5 tells us, “…we don’t wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”
You fight with spiritual weapons—with Truth. You trust God’s Spirit to give you wisdom and tenacity to stand strong. And, you do it in community with your people. You live honestly with each other and are strong for and with each other.
- Battle while you build. Sometimes you have to battle and build at the same time. In Nehemiah 4:15-16, we read, “When our enemies heard that we were aware of their plot and that God had frustrated it, we all returned to the wall, each to our own work. From that day on, half of my men did the work, while the other half were equipped with spears, shields, swords and armor.” Half the people worked, while the other half guarded. Nobody quit. Like them, you don’t sit it out, run, and hide because there’s opposition. You don’t quit our call to fight the enemy. You find a way to do it with wisdom while you work.
You can keep working and trust God’s provision because you’ve prayed and given it all to God. And, because you’ve protected yourself, you’re alert to your vulnerability. So, you just do what God’s called you to do no matter the chatter and challenge of the opposition. Instead of focusing on the opposition, you focus on the Lord and what He’s called you to do.
If you’re feeling some pushback from somebody or some situation in your life, remember what Nehemiah did—confess and don’t suppress, pray and post guard, watch your low walls, and battle while you build.
Jesus said, “In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). Since He’s overcome and you are in Him, that makes you an overcomer. So, Overcomer, stay strong when opposition tries to wear you out. You can do this through Christ!