When we talk about facing spiritual opposition in life the “go to” person to blame is typically Satan. His name, after all, does mean an opponent or one who opposes so it makes sense that he is going to stand in our way from time to time. One reason he may be our “go to” guy is because we tend to think our way is the right one and so, if we are getting opposition, Satan must surely have something to do with it. But that is pride speaking.
Then there is this little verse that throws a monkey wrench into our nice, tidy theology from James 4:4-10
4 You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world means enmity against God? Therefore, anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God. 5 Or do you think Scripture says without reason that he jealously longs for the spirit he has caused to dwell in us? 6 But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says:
“God opposes the proud
but shows favor to the humble.”
7 Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8 Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. 9 Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. 10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.
While it is tempting to think opposition we face is a sign the devil is at work we must also realize that God will oppose us to our face if and when necessary. When we are going God’s way Satan can and will oppose you for it. When you are going Satan’s way…God can and will oppose you for it. At the end of the day not all opposition comes from Satan. The reason some of our plans fail is because God didn’t think they were what needed to happen. It takes humility to recognize this. It doesn’t come natural to us.
The path of greatest resistance is the path of pride and the path of least resistance is the path of humility. It is the second that God exalts.
The next time your plans go south…ask yourself if there was something in all of that God may have been opposing. It may be an action or attitude…it may just be that the timing wasn’t right and God had other things in mind in order to produce more fruit later in a different field. You just cannot armchair quarterback the moves of God but you can put yourself in a posture to be used by the Lord and that posture is the posture of humility.
So be humble…just don’t let anybody know that is what you are up to!