Then I looked things over and told the leaders, the officials, and the rest of the people, "Don't be afraid of your enemies! The Lord is great and fearsome. So think of him and fight for your relatives and children, your wives and homes!"
-- Nehemiah 4:14
If you’ve worked in a corporate environment or held a job in just about any organization, you surely know the drill:
That high profile project from your company’s vice president has taken you days, weeks or maybe even months to complete. Thousands of dollars are on the line and you’ve lost track of all your overtime hours. You’ve done a great job holding it all together and now can see that proverbial light at the end of the tunnel. But then … CHAOS!
Out of nowhere comes a last-minute “concern” from a co-worker or supervisor, or a “new vision” from a client. Your tight schedule is now in total disarray and there’s no way that you can meet your promised deadline. Can’t anything in business (or life in general) ever be easy?
It sounds like you need one of those Easy Buttons that they sell at Staples. Just put it on your desk and hit it anytime your workday starts going crazy. And just like magic, all your problems will disappear.
(That was easy!)
It’s too bad reality doesn’t work that way. And as Christ-followers, we’re particularly susceptible to the obstacles of life when we say yes to God and work to do His will in the world. Note first that these obstacles can take several disheartening forms. It might be criticism or ridicule of your efforts from an enemy, co-worker or even a family member or spouse. And in extreme cases, the situation could even turn malicious or violent.
The observation that “no good deed goes unpunished” is also all too true. So we shouldn’t be surprised when we take some heat for trying to help others see the light. In fact, we actually need to watch out if our faith journeys are too smooth and quiet: it just might mean that the devil doesn’t consider us a threat to his plans. It’s then that we can become our own worst enemy.
“How terrible when everyone says only good things about you,” warns Jesus, “because their ancestors said the same things about the false prophets.”
So what should we do when doing God’s will gets a bit too rough? The first thing is to know your opposition and acknowledge its existence. Running away, ignoring the situation or pretending it doesn’t exist won’t make it disappear. Then pray for God’s help and guidance -- and pray for your enemy. Finally, don’t be afraid to stand up for what you’re doing. If it’s something that comes from God, saying yes to Him and fighting for what’s right is worth the effort.
That’s a tall order. But remember that we’re not in the fight alone. In fact – because Jesus already paid the price on the cross for the world’s sins – the fight is already won. And when we say yes to God, victory is already ours.