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Why Opposition and Opportunity Go Together
By Rick Warren

“There is a real opportunity here for great and worthwhile work, even though there are many opponents.” 1 Corinthians 16:9 (GNT)

One of the greatest tests of character is how you handle opposition. In fact, opposition is part of God's will for your life; it prepares you for the opportunities ahead.

The Bible says, “There is a real opportunity here for great and worthwhile work, even though there are many opponents” (1 Corinthians 16:9 GNT).

If you're going to make something of your life, not everyone is going to like it. You’re always going to find people who feel it’s their job to criticize every dream or project God puts on your heart. Their favorite word is “no,” and their favorite phrase is, “You can't do that.”

One tactic people use to try to stop you from doing God’s will is ridicule. Nehemiah 4 shows three ways people might use ridicule to oppose you.

People will attack your character and identity. In Nehemiah 4:1-2, one of Nehemiah’s critics, Sanballat, heard the wall was being rebuilt. He “flew into a rage, became indignant, and mocked the Jews . . . saying, ‘What are these pathetic Jews doing?’” (Nehemiah 4:1-2 ISV)

When someone attacks you, it’s typically with their emotions, not their logic. In fact, by the time they’re attacking you, they’ve stopped thinking clearly. When people are angry or afraid, they resort to name-calling and even lies. Their words can hurt, but those words do not change your identity or purpose.

People will accuse you of having wrong motives. Nehemiah’s critics questioned his motives. Sanballat, one of his critics, said, “What are these feeble Jews doing? Will they restore it for themselves?” (Nehemiah 4:2 ESV) Sanballat suggested that they were rebuilding the wall for their own glory and selfish purposes.

The truth is, no one ever really knows another person’s motivation for doing something. We all have mixed motivations. We often can’t even figure out our own motivation for doing something! Only God knows “the hearts of all mankind” (1 Kings 8:39 NASB).

People will predict your failure. One person after another predicted that Nehemiah would fail. One guy even said of the wall Nehemiah was rebuilding, “That stone wall would collapse if even a fox walked along the top of it!” (Nehemiah 4:3 NLT) 

If you set a goal, announce a vision, or begin a business, many will be quick to forecast your failure. But you always have the choice to give a godly response. Tomorrow we will learn three ways to do that.

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