1 Peter 5:8 NLT “Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.”
Do you remember the famous line, “Build it and they will come”, from the 1989 Kevin Costner movie, Field of Dreams? As a church planter, I’ve often thought that it should be that easy to grow a ministry. I’m sure someone starting a business has had the same line pass through their thoughts too. But what reality has shown me is that the “they” in this quote is actually resistance. Build it, and all aspects of resistance will show up! It may come in the form of outside resistance (from those who cannot see what you can), inside resistance (which is super hard and hurtful when it’s from people who should have your back), or even still more challenging, from yourself as you wrestle with negative thoughts and self-doubt.
There’s a story in the Old Testament of the Bible in a book called Nehemiah in which the author (same as book title) shares a story of burden, passion and resistance. The burden arose when he heard that Jerusalem’s walls were still lying in rubble, the gates still burned from the Babylonian exile, and all the Jews who survived were currently living in shame. As an employee of King Artaxerxes, he’s released to go back and make things right by rebuilding the walls of his hometown. Immediately, he faces resistance from local leaders in the region as they realize that their power and trade position is at risk with the Jews’ success.
Nehemiah 4:8 ESV “And they ALL plotted together to come and fight against Jerusalem and to cause confusion in it.”
I don’t care what you attempt to do or try to better yourself…to bring order to your day or obey a word from God…you are going to have resistance! And life doesn’t play fair…the devil does not play fair. Just like a lion, he’s sneaky and preys on our great weaknesses and vulnerabilities. So as Peter said, let’s be aware and vigilant to resist him. The half brother of Jesus and a leader in the early church wrote…
“Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” – James 4:7 NKJV
Let’s remember this week who God is. He is faithful. He is good…all powerful…truth…Remember Him and remember what He has promised you. Stay focused on it no matter how hard the pressure to quit gets.
This past weekend I flew to Arkansas to share these thoughts at a church there that my friend pastors at. You know, I never felt any turbulence while we sat on the tarmac. I only experienced it after we took off and we were in the air. I know that no one likes to go through turbulence, but it’s a sure sign that you are flying! And if you just stay the course, no matter how difficult it might be, the outcome is that you will reach your desired destination. Nehemiah stayed the course, faced the resistance and won! Chapter six tells us that the walls were actually finished in fifty-two days, and his enemies realized that God was actively involved in helping the people complete the project! Some of you are closer than you have ever been to your breakthrough… Don’t stop! Face the resistance and win.