Monday, July 28, 2008

We Are Opposed

Living Right: Part 1

Jesus has come to us with the offer of life. That is the promise of John 10:10; “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come so that they may have life, and may have it abundantly” (NET). Now we can be certain that we have access to this life when we remain in Jesus (John 15:1-8). To remain in Jesus means that we live our lives in faith. Our lives should be a reflection of Jesus’ life.

Yet, we know that just because we have this life-giving connection doesn’t mean our lives will be easy. Remember our lives are being opposed and that we are living in a world that is at war. Jesus reminds us of this fact before making His promise in John 10:10. Satan is in opposition to the will of God and that means he is opposed to us having life. The Enemy is going to do everything in his power to oppose us and to keep us from living the life God created us to live. That means life will be a struggle. I want you to consider this question: How has Satan opposed your life?

Perhaps you can relate to this couple’s Paris vacation:
“Some dear friends of mine just returned from a three-week vacation in France. It had been their dream for nearly twenty-five years. What could be more romantic that strolling the Champs Élysées in the evening, as lovers do? It seemed an ideal way to celebrated their twenty-fifth wedding anniversary. They’d both served God faithfully for decades, but over the years a European rendezvous seem about as reachable as the moon. Then, late last fall, things suddenly came together.

“Friends of theirs were headed to Europe and offered two tickets to come along. TIme off was available. They were going to France. And right after they made it to Paris, it all fell apart. Craig down with walking pneumonia; Lori wanted to leave the third day. All sorts of issues in their marriage surface, but since they were with friends, the issues mostly played themselves out in their own thoughts--which tended toward divorce. It wasn’t romantic; it was hard. Afterward, as we talked on the phone about the whole thing, Lori said, ‘Life never seems to turn out the way you think it will, about 90 percent of the time.’ No kidding. Haven’t we all got a story that goes with that little bumper sticker?” (John Eldredge, Waking the Dead, p. 6)

Our lives are being opposed. Satan doesn’t want you to live life, he wants you life destroyed. Doesn’t this help us make sense of the world? Why do the evil seem to prosper and the good struggle? Why do tragic events happen that erase the joy of life? Only when the answers are built upon the fact that our lives are being opposed do we even begin to make sense of what is happening.

Put this in the context of your life: You have tried to become more obedient to Jesus, but you can’t seem to break free from the habit of gossiping. You just need to be “in the know”. You want to be more loving to your next door neighbor, but then he knocks on your door to let you know all the things that are wrong with your yard and house. He leaves and you are seething inside as you visualize putting your fist through his face. You want to be certain about the truth of the Bible, but last night’s program on the Discovery Channel has you wondering if naturalistic evolution isn’t right after all. It seems so ridiculous to believe in God the Creator in the face of “scientific evidence”.

The more we try to follow Jesus, the more we will be opposed by Satan. Things don’t go as planned because Satan is out to steal, kill, and destroy our lives. Because life is hard we will be tempted to give up and do our own thing. Please remember to do so would allow Satan to win the fight for our life.

Why should we continue our struggle against the opposition of the Enemy? The writer of Hebrews wrote:
1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, we must get rid of every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and run with endurance the race set out for us, 2 keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith. For the joy set out for him he endured the cross, disregarding its shame, and has taken his seat at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Think of him who endured such opposition against himself by sinners, so that you may not grow weary in your souls and give up. 4 You have not yet resisted to the point of bloodshed in your struggle against sin. (Hebrews 12:1-4; NET)

The inspired author of Hebrews tells us that there are two reasons why we should continue our struggle against the opposition to our lives. The first reason is because of the faithful people who went before us. Hebrews chapter 11, as many of you know, continues a list of men and women who remained faithful to God. He reminds us that not one of these people received everything God had promised them, but that they looked forward to the time when God would make everything right. We too must follow their example and look forward to Heaven.

The second is Jesus. Jesus experienced hardships, trials, and opposition, yet in the end He was obedient and faithful. Because Jesus endured so much for us, we should endure through the opposition that we will face. The life God created us to live is not going to be easy, it is going to filled with opposition, but if we endure we will discover it is the best life that we can possible live.

  • Point to Ponder: The more we try to follow Jesus, the more we will be opposed by Satan.
  • Passage to Remember: Hebrews 12:1-4
  • Question to Consider: How has Satan opposed you?

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