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Monday, January 15, 2018

Remembering Who is the Real Source of Opposition

In review if 2 Timothy 2:25-26 it says, “Be humble when you are trying to teach those who are mixed up concerning the truth. For if you talk meekly and courteously to them, they are more likely, with God’s help, to turn away from their wrong ideas and believe what is true. Then they will come to their senses and escape from Satan’s trap of slavery to sin” (2 Timothy 2:25-26 TLB).

Bottom Line:
Be humble in how you speak and deal with people. They will be more likely to listen.

What this means to me:
I am to be humble in how I speak and deal with people. I am to talk meekly and courteously to them. When I do they will be more likely to listen.

There will be time when I will face opposition because of my faith. I just need to recognize the source of that opposition.

It’s not other people. It’s not my co-workers. It’s not a political party. It’s not some other nation or religion. It’s not a competitor. The pressure I’ll feel to cave in or be quiet or sit down when you should stand up — that pressure isn’t coming from others. It’s really coming from Satan. In Revelation 12:10 Satan is called “the accuser of the Christians.” His number one job is to put me down.

I must keep in mind that there is an unseen spiritual battle going on all around me. This pressure to keep me from doing the right thing is not really coming from others. They’re just weapons. Most of the time they don’t even know they’re being used. The real issue is spiritual warfare.

Ephesians 6:12 says, “We are not fighting against human beings but against the wicked spiritual forces in the heavenly world” (GNT).

Satan knows it’s stupid to attack Jesus Christ directly, so instead he attacks those who follow him (me). Satan uses the media and music and popular culture and anything he can to ridicule those who follow Jesus. He’s behind the voices saying, “Those Christians are out of date. They’re on the wrong side of history. They don’t know what they’re talking about. They’re bigots.”

Here’s what the Bible says you should do: “Don’t get involved in foolish, ignorant arguments that only start fights. A servant of the Lord must not quarrel but must be kind to everyone, be able to teach, and be patient with difficult people. Gently instruct those who oppose the truth. Perhaps God will change those people’s hearts, and they will learn the truth. Then they will come to their senses and escape from the devil’s trap” (2 Timothy 2:23-26 NLT).

Without the Holy Spirit in my life, I’d have no defense against Satan. He can master my moods. He can lead me into depression. He can make me angry.

I may think I’m strong, but I’m not strong enough to fight Satan’s attacks on my own. What I need to do is recognize the sourcethe Devil, not the person — and treat the opposition the way Jesus did. How did Jesus treat those who opposed him? Even on the cross he said, “Father, forgive them. They don’t know what they’re doing.

The people who attack me don’t know what they’re doing. The people who put down Jesus and church and Christianity? They don’t know what they’re doing. I need to pray, too, “Father, forgive them” so that I can show love even when I’m under attack. God will fill me with his love, and I’ll have more energy to fight the real enemy.

In summary, because God will examine what kind of worker I have been for him, I should build my live on this Word and build His Word into my life. It tells me how to love and serve Him. Consistent and diligent study of God’s is vital; otherwise I can be lulled into neglecting God and my true purpose for living.

I must carefully work through any disagreements. Learning and discussion are not bad unless they keep believer constantly focusing on false doctrine or unhelpful trivialities. Don’t let anything keep me from my work and service to God.

Timothy helped those who were confused about truth. Paul’s advice to Timothy, and to myself as well, is to be kind and gentle, patiently and courteously explaining the the truth. Good teaching never promotes quarrels or foolish arguments. Remember to listen to people’s questions and treat them respectfully, while avoiding foolish debates. If I do this, those who oppose me will be more willing to hear what I have to say and perhaps turn from their error.