How can I find the strength to endure when I face spiritual opposition?
By Dr. Charles Stanley
In the Book of Ezra we read of a beleaguered people who faced opposition in doing what God had commissioned them to do. They sought to rebuild the holy temple that was destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar’s forces decades earlier, and they faced stiff opposition from the locals, deceitful offers of “help,” and open attacks from the outside.
Still, God’s people successfully completed the temple restoration. How? By developing a spiritual quality we all need in the Christian life: endurance.
God knows the Christian life is not easy. And it never will become easy, no matter how long we live. In this world, we will face opposition, both from the world and from the enemy of our souls, the devil. Jesus told us, “In the world you have tribulation” (John 16:33).
Surrounded by such opposition, if we’re going to live in a way that pleases God, then we must develop endurance. The Bible is full of examples of people who endured opposition to their work and who received their reward as a result. Hebrews 11, often called the “Hall of Faith,” lists some of those heroes.
But what exactly is involved in developing endurance? At least four things play a big role:
Receiving encouragement from others. The writer of Hebrews encourages us to ponder the lives of those he lists in chapter 11. He refers to them as “a cloud of witnesses” (Heb. 12:1). We cannot see this great cloud of witnesses, but we can read about them in God’s Word and glean from their inspiring stories of endurance.
Getting rid of hindrances. Hebrews tells us, “Let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us” (12:1). This means we need to identify those things that could slow us down, including any sin God brings to our attention.
Running the race. Hebrews 12:1 ends by telling us, “Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.” When the going gets rough, we don’t run away. We can’t be quitters. Rather, we continue on in confident trust, and the longer we persevere, the stronger our faith in Him becomes.
Fixing our eyes on Christ. Hebrews 12:2 advises us to keep “fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith.” Nothing helps us endure like seeing the final prize before us—and that prize is Christ Himself. Do you want the prize? Then you must endure. And Jesus promises to help you.
Adapted from "The Charles F. Stanley’s Life Principles Bible," 2008.
In the Book of Ezra we read of a beleaguered people who faced opposition in doing what God had commissioned them to do. They sought to rebuild the holy temple that was destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar’s forces decades earlier, and they faced stiff opposition from the locals, deceitful offers of “help,” and open attacks from the outside. (Watch The Courage To Face Opposition.)
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