Devotional

“We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.” – Romans 5:3-5.

At some point in our lives we will face opposition. We could face opposition in just about any part of life. It could be at work, at school, at home, on an athletic field. As followers of Jesus we will face opposition when it comes to living a life that imitates the life that Jesus lived. These oppositions come from within and from without. The question is do we walk around discouraged or in defeat in light of opposition, or do we see that opposition as an opportunity? 

There is a passage in Luke 4: 14-28 where Jesus is rejected at Nazareth. Jesus came to worship and reads Isaiah 61:1-2: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, for he has anointed me to bring Good News to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim that captives will be released, that the blind will see, that the oppressed will be set free, and that the time of the Lord’s favor has come.” Jesus rolls the scroll back up and tells them that this scripture has come true today in their very presence. In other words, Isaiah is talking about yours truly.

Initially, the people are thrilled as they see the opportunity Jesus’ claim brings to them. Nothing drew the attention of the Jews more than the fulfillment of prophecy. The Jews were subject to the Romans, who ruled the known world of their day. As emperors changed, treatment of the Jews changed. They were in a precarious position – dangerously unstable – and they hated it…as you and I would.

However, their joy soon turns to anger, hostility and opposition to his message. What are the odds that the Messiah would be a carpenter’s son from Nazareth, anyway?  Basically, He did not meet their “expectations” for a Messiah. The Messiah would be a powerful, intimidating, forceful human being. Regardless of the opposition, Jesus’ ministry goes forward.

The bottom line is God will give us opportunities. But with these opportunities will come opposition from those around us. Some will oppose us because as with Jesus in Luke 4, they want to keep us in our place. Or they want us to act in a way they expect us to act; or go along with everyone else, or because we, like Jesus, in Luke 4, are not what they expect. 

The opposition wants you to be held back, but God says; the opportunities I have for you are much greater than you hope for or imagine. Allow God to use the opposition in your life to spark opportunities.

Discussion Questions:

  1. What is one closed door, disappointment, or obstacle in your life that God has used to set you up for a future opportunity?
  2. What can you do to demonstrate your trust in God when it feels as if He is letting you down?