He said: “Listen, King Jehoshaphat and all who live in Judah and Jerusalem! This is what the LORD says to you: ‘Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God’s. (2 Chronicles 20:15, NIIV)
There have been many times in my life that I have faced cultural and personal opposition. Sometimes the opposition is supernatural in origin, sometimes it originates from man. I have worked in secular organizations, parachurch organizations and churches across the nation and I have seen many people deal with opposition in four primary areas. Opposition is not limited to these areas, but most of the time it falls into one of these categories.
Make no mistake about it, there is a devil and he despises mankind. Satan hates God and he hates you. There are principalities and powers that are at work in the spiritual realm that resist breakthrough, and seek to oppress believers and nonbelievers alike. The Bible speaks of this in the book of Ephesians.
“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” (Ephesians 6:12, NIV)
If you are a believer it is important to realize that the battle belongs to God. You can stand on the promises of God and proclaim His Word over your life with certainty that His Word produces change in the life of a believer.
How to Navigate Spiritual Opposition:
Once you realize that the opposition is spiritual in nature, fight fire with fire. Spend time in prayer, reading the bible, and fasting. Be deliberate in your attack: target specific situations with laser-like focus in your spiritual warfare and keep a prayer journal where you document progress and victories.
The greatest battle that you will face is the one in between your ears. This is one area that I see a lot of people lose the victory. It does not matter what the people around you believe; what matters is what YOU believe. It is vital to renew your mind with the word of God and develop a biblical concept of who you are in Christ.
“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will.” (Romans 12:2)
It is vital to renew your mind by The Word of God. When you develop a biblical mindset of your identity in Christ, realizing that you are not alone, you cannot help but approach circumstance with optimism. When you leave the results up to God, it is easier to maintain a peaceful mindset. Don’t stress yourself out worrying about things that are beyond your control.
How to Navigate Mental Opposition:
Renew your mind with the Word of God; it is simple, yet effective. Find specific verses that deal with the situation that is causing mental turmoil and speak them out loud several times a day. You will build your faith and renew your mind at the same time.
This area sometimes works hand in hand with spiritual opposition. There is often friction with friends and family members when a person is on the threshold of a breakthrough. Many times a person will experience relational opposition when dating, consider that a preview of things to come. If you cannot navigate relational opposition when you are dating, you will definitely not be able to navigate it when you are married. Once you are married, the question is not if you will encounter relational opposition, it is when. It is important that you are intentional about communication and flexible in your relationship.
“Do two walk together
unless they have agreed to do so?” (Amos 3:3)
How to Navigate Relational Opposition:
Communicate, communicate, and communicate. Set up a strife free zone where you can talk about things that are causing relational opposition. Wheather it is a friend, family member, or a spouse, nothing will change if you do not communicate. When you are initiating the conversation, proceed with caution and let it be known that you want to work out the source of relational opposition. Do not use this as a time to point fingers or express (insert the emotion of your choice,) use this as a time to build a bridge of communication.
I have worked at some dog-eat-dog businesses in my secular career, and I have worked at several churches and parachurch organizations. There will be good days and there will be bad days. It is important to realize that you will almost always face opposition in your career. Opposition is a great opportunity for you to take the high road. If you work hard, handle your coworkers with grace, and try to better your company, you will find that you are an asset. The goal in a situation of career opposition it to remain an asset and not a liability.
“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.” (Colossians 3:23-24)
How to Navigate Career Opposition:
Confront what you have to, not what you want to. It is important to make sure that you approach career situations fully informed. Do not react to situations, take a moment to collect your thoughts and respond. Know that God is at work for the good of those who love Him and sometimes opposition is an opportunity for him to shine.
The Big Take Away:
Opposition is an opportunity to grow. When a tree sprouts from a seed, the saplings roots grow downward as it grows upward. When the winds blow and the rains come, the roots sink deeper than ever before. The opposition that the tree faces produces growth. The more opposition that a sapling faces, the deeper that it sinks its roots. When you face opposition in any area, use it as an opportunity to grow and thrive. The more you overcome, the stronger you become.