Monday, December 23, 2013

Expect Opposition

"Go! I am sending you out like lambs among wolves." Luke 10:3

Those who dare to live their lives on mission for the sake of the gospel should "go" expecting opposition. There is so much work to be done. "The harvest is plentiful," God's Word says, "but the workers are few" (v. 2).

It would seem the vast majority of believers want the "easy button" and that's why there are so few workers. When God's work gets hard, feels uncomfortable, appears dangerous; when the opposition is great and naysayers seek to discourage, when situations come about that terrify, most shrink back. They revert to what they know, to what is comfortable, preferring their load to be easy and light and in their control. Instead of fearing God, they fear their  circumstances. That may mean living a lukewarm or safe-feeling life, pursuing the "American dream" or "keeping up with the Jones'" instead of getting their hands dirty for the sake of the gospel, or doing hard things for the cause of Christ.

Warfare is real. Just for the record, opposition can be expected. There is an unseen world out there that would scare us half to death if we could see it, but God... God is the Victor. If warfare were visible, we would also see how much interference the Lord runs on our behalf to protect us and prevent bad from becoming worse. Even warfare is used by God to bring about His divine plans. 

Nonetheless, warfare or not, God doesn't want us shrinking back from hard things. Over and over His Word tells us to take courage and not be afraid. Obviously that is our fleshly tendency which is why He said, "Do not fear" more than 365 times in the Bible. It's as though we need to be reminded daily.

As lambs, we are to do our best to remain peaceable and patient in a cruel and threatening world. We are called to be "lambs among wolves." As we set out to follow Christ we must go with resolve to do whatever He calls us to do, and we must go expecting opposition. The work of Christ always gets satan's tail feathers in a ruffle. If we just expect difficulty, trouble, persecution and the like, we won't be so surprised when it knocks on our door. If we anticipate it like we anticipate company, we can almost laugh and say when it arrives, "I was expecting you!" Then leaning into Christ, and with His help, we press on determined to make the best of it, all the while striving to focus more on the mission and less on the distraction. The fruit is worth the trouble!

Go out as lambs among wolves. Expect opposition.

Father God, following You is not always easy, but it is so worth it. I depend on You and ask that You undergird me with Your strength and Your peace, especially when things are hard. Help me to keep my mind on the mission, my heart focused on my calling, and my eyes fixed on You. In Jesus' name I pray, amen.

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