Thursday, November 28, 2013

Expect Opposition

by Andrew Cromwell

There is a principle of life that we all would rather ignore. It is similar to the “no pain, no gain” principle. But where the “no pain, no gain” principle is generally about engaging in personal effort in order to achieve a desired goal, this principle is a little different.

I call it the “Opposition Principle.” The concept is simple. Anything worthwhile in life will be opposed, and the things that are the MOST important are opposed the MOST. No one gets exempted from this principle. No one gets a pass because they are rich or famous or well educated or intelligent. It doesn’t matter where you were born, who you are related to or who you know, any positive movement forward is going to experience resistance.

Isaac Newton put it his way, “to every action there is always opposed an equal reaction.” But we are not just talking about hitting a baseball or pushing a rock up a hill. I’m not suggesting that this principle is merely a natural force like gravity.

This is a spiritual principle because we live in a spiritual world. We forget that because all we can see with our eyes is the natural world. We forget it because our culture refuses to acknowledge the validity of any truth other than those demonstrated by science and science by its very nature deals ONLY with the natural world.

But the spiritual world that we cannot see with our eyes is as important and influential as the one we can touch and feel with our physical being. The spiritual world is the world of love, kindness, courage, goodness, and hope (about which science tells us absolutely nothing at all). It is also the world of angels and demons and God and Satan.

Now I think this is where it gets the most interesting. Jesus Christ, we are told in the Bible, came into this world and was born as a human man even though He was God. He was literally God in the flesh. He moved from the spiritual world into the natural world. And He did this so that we might have a way to reconnect with God the Father and bridge the gap between the two worlds.

Jesus was the only perfect human being there ever has been and ever will be. And yet He experienced everything we experience -- all emotion, all temptation, and even limitation -- the same way we do. This is why He is our perfect model and this is why He is the One we should all follow.

Now back to the opposition principle. It says in the Gospel of Matthew that Jesus was baptized in the river Jordan and received the empowerment of the Holy Spirit in that moment (you might remember the story of the Holy Spirit in the form of a dove descending from heaven and the voice of Father God saying, “This is my Son in whom I am well pleased.”). And immediately after that, Scripture says that the Holy Spirit sent Jesus into the wilderness for 40 days to be tempted by the Satan.

There it is. The opposition principle. This is the moment in Jesus’ life when He was beginning His ministry. He was about to go and heal the blind, the lame and the deaf. He was about to raise the dead. He was about to multiply food and feed 10,000 people in one setting. He was about to talk to the storm and tell it to be still.

But the first thing that happened was that He was opposed by the Satan. Before He did great and wonderful things, He first experienced some hard things. Before God did everything that He wanted to do through Jesus, Jesus first had to walk through opposition.

And you and I do too. God wants to do good things in you and through you. He may even want you to pray for the sick and see them healed. He may want to transform the way you tend to get angry and stab people with your words. He may want to help you heal the breach in your family. I can guarantee you that He wants to do more than you can ask or imagine, because that’s what His word says.

But first, you are going to be opposed. The moment you start to grab a hold of those things that God wants to do in you -- the moment you decide you’re going to get closer to Him, or go to church, or start speaking with kindness, or start forgiving -- that’s the moment you’re going to face opposition. It’s not going to be easy. The Enemy is going to tell you that you’re never going to make it to victory. He’s going to do everything he can to make it difficult for you to get to where God wants you to be.

Just remember, when you are opposed, it might be a sign you’re on the right track!

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