Psalms 138:7-8 ESV
“Though I walk in the midst of trouble,
you preserve my life;
you stretch out your hand against the wrath of my enemies,
and your right hand delivers me.
The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me;
your steadfast love, O Lord, endures forever.
Do not forsake the work of your hands.”
Opposition to the Gospel
Life has its ups and downs. Some people will like us and they will be encouraged by us and by our ministry to them while others will hate us and will find us and our ministry an offense to them. Jesus faced this when he walked the earth.
If we are walking closely with the Lord, doing his will, saying what he gives us to say, sharing his gospel and his messages to his church – messages which are found in the Scriptures – those who are also walking in close fellowship with the Lord should be united with us in heart and mind (Phil 2:1-2).
But not all who profess faith in Jesus Christ are walking in close fellowship with their Lord. Many are worldly, and so they think like the world or they think with human reasoning and understanding, and so they end up missing what the Lord is saying to his church.
When people who profess faith in God-Jesus Christ are living in opposition to the word of God, they aren’t listening to the Lord. They are not in tune with the voice of the Holy Spirit because their minds are set on the things of this world instead of on the things of God and his kingdom.
Many of them are like the church in Laodicea who are neither totally opposed to Jesus nor are they on fire for him, but they are lukewarm, going through the motions of religious practice, but lacking in vital relationships with the Lord Jesus in pure (unadulterated) fellowship with him.
So, those who are lukewarm in their faith, and/or who are living in direct opposition to the teachings of Scripture, who are living worldly lives, and who are thinking much like the world are not generally going to be receptive to hearing the truth of the gospel or messages of exhortation to the church.
In the Midst of Trouble
So, again, if we are walking in close fellowship with the Lord, and if we are doing what he has called us to do, and if we are sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ (the whole counsel of God), and if we are sharing messages to encourage the body of Christ, some people are not going to receive us.
Some of these people who are either totally against us, or who are just not comfortable talking about the Lord and the Scriptures on a daily basis, will just ignore us, while others will outright oppose us, and some of them may oppose us vehemently, too. I have faced all these responses.
Another factor here, which Jesus and Paul both faced, is that those who are opposed to us may attempt to or will be successful in turning others against us because they will slander us and convince others that we are saying or doing what is wrong, or that we have false motives, etc.
Those who believe the lies against us will thus turn against us based on lies they believed from those who oppose us strongly. This is one reason why gossip is so dangerous, because when people gossip about others they give their own opinion of them which may sway other people’s opinions, too.
But nothing is going to happen to us that Jesus didn’t experience first. He had people hating him for no reason or because they were jealous of him or they felt threatened by him. He had people falsely accuse him of wrongdoing who turned other people against him, too.
And Jesus said that how they treated him they will treat us, so we should not be surprised if we face the same kind of treatment that he faced, and that Paul and the other apostles faced, too. And it isn’t easy to be hated and to be lied about. It hurts. But we have to give those hurts to the Lord.
He Preserves our Lives
When others reject us, our Lord receives us. When they speak evil against us, the Lord comforts us. When they ignore us, the Lord listens to our hearts and to our cries for mercy. When they attack us, our Lord protects our hearts with his love and kindness.
When they shut doors in our faces our Lord receives us into his arms and he opens doors for us that no man can shut – not until the Lord shuts the door. For though they may have no use for us, God does if we are willing to be used of him for his purposes and for his glory.
No matter what happens to us or what comes our way, God is still sovereign over all things which he made. He is still in control. The enemy cannot thwart God’s purposes for our lives. The enemy cannot defeat us unless we choose to give in to him, for he has no power over us.
Yes, it will be painful to be hated, rejected, ignored, gossiped about, and to have people think evil about us because they believe the lies being told them about us. And it will be painful to be attacked verbally and vehemently, especially by others who call themselves Christians.
But if we are at peace that we are walking in fellowship with our Lord, and that we are doing his will, as best as we understand it, according to God’s word, and not according to our own opinions of ourselves, then we can rest in the Lord when the enemy attacks us, knowing we are blessed.
Also, the Lord has a purpose for each one of us, and his purpose for the lives of his followers includes suffering for righteousness’ sake. So, suffering for the Lord and for his gospel is something we must accept and we must be willing to even thank the Lord for.
If we don’t let other humans discourage and dishearten us, and if we don’t run away from following the Lord when persecution does come our way, but we allow the Lord to deliver us from discouragement, and we allow ourselves to be used of him despite being rejected by humans, that is good.
The Lord will fulfill his purpose for us who submit our lives to his purpose. He will not forsake us or abandon us. Yes, the trials may get much more severe, but the Lord will strengthen and help us and he will see us through to the end if we will just trust him with our lives.
What the Lord Says
An Original Work / February 24, 2014
Based off Isaiah 43:1-44:5
This is what the Lord says to you:
Fear not, for I have chosen you.
I have summoned you by your name.
You are mine. I died, you to save.
When you go through your trials, so deep,
I will be with you; you will not sink.
You are so precious always to me.
Trust in your Lord, Savior and King.
This is what the Lord says to you:
He who gave salvation to you;
Who delivered you from your sin;
Takes your burdens now upon Him:
Forget the former things of your life.
Give of your heart not now up to strife.
See all the new things I have for you.
Walk in vict’ry. Trust in what’s true.
This is what the Lord says to you:
He who made you; who will help you:
Do not fear what humans may do.
Walk in freedom. Follow what’s true.
Drink of my Spirit given for you.
Trust in my mercy, for I love you.
I have a plan for all of your life.
Follow my ways. Do what is right.