Very often when God calls us to do something, it is in our weakness that He is made strong. Just think about this: if it was in our “wheel house,” an area where we feel confident and comfortable, the temptation and natural thought would be “it was done in our strength”. So God being God, and we are not, often calls us to do things that “stretch us,” that are not in our “wheel house” of natural abilities. Even though He gives us abilities that we are to use for His glory, He still often calls us to do things…to stretch our faith…so that we know that we know that we know IT IS HIM…”not of ourselves lest any man should boast!”
When God does call us or impress upon us to “STEP” and we do and it feels uncomfortable, take heart. If you OBEY and TRUST, you will FEEL as if you are “walking on water” and we all know that is a “SUPERNATURAL” thing. I absolutely love the Scripture found in Acts 5: 38b where Gamaliel, a Pharisee, persuaded his peers to let the apostles go. He had experienced and was eyewitness to other people proclaiming to be somebody and then watched their efforts and words fail.
He also was very aware that the doors of the prison where the apostles were being held were miraculously unlocked. Acts 5:23, “‘We found the jail securely locked, with the guards standing at the doors, but when we opened them, we found no one inside.'” Then we find in Verse 25, “Then someone came and said, ‘Look! The men you put in jail are standing in the temple courts teach the people.'”
Gamaliel encouraged the rulers with these words, “‘For if their purpose or activity is of human origin it will fail. But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men; you will only find yourselves fighting against God'” (v. 38-39). What a good word for us! Have you ever stepped in “faith” even when there were threats…or opposition…and God “unlocked doors”?
I have now, in my own life, done this–stepped when I was frightened, didn’t feel qualified, didn’t see the end, faced opposition, faced “raised eyebrows”. Side note here: when someone gives you “bad body language” that is as clear as if they had spoken (very passive aggressive). Often times, today, opposition can look like being ignored or a lack of interest in what you are doing.
Don’t get caught up in your eyes being on “man or people”. If God is calling you, read Gamaleil’s words, “You will not be able to stop them if it is from God!” Take comfort. He will equip you. HE will defend you. He will protect you. Remember, suffering can come when you take obedient steps for God. Even though the other Pharisees listened to Gamaliel, the apostles were released but not before they were “FLOGGED!” Acts 5:40, “His speech persuaded them. They called the apostles in and had them flogged. Then they ordered them not to speak in the name of Jesus and let them go!”
It is very important to note here–they were “ordered [by man] to stop proclaiming and teaching about Jesus”. Did they listen after being “flogged?” NO…NO…NO…Even when you are called by God to proclaim His name and “take a beating for it,” don’t stop!
It is very important at this point to realize who the apostles listened to regardless of the threats or “beatings”. Acts 5:41, “The apostles left the Sanhedrin, rejoicing because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the NAME. Day after day, in the temple courts and from house to house, they NEVER STOPPED teaching and proclaiming the good news that Jesus is the Messiah!” [emphasis added]. IT IS SO TRUE!
NOTE: a beating today…in America…could look like hate; exclusion; people, even other Christians, talking negatively about you or criticizing and knit picking what you say or do.
There is so much to learn from this story.
First, as Christians, our eyes have to stay laser-focused on JESUS and what HE tells us to do…regardless of opposition.
Second, expect opposition. It is coming. Don’t be surprised.
Third, God is there. HE will never call you to do something where He will not equip you. There may be “suffering” but there will be UNLOCKED DOORS as well! HE HAS YOU!
Fourth, if you stay the course, not listening to man, you will be able to keep going and rejoice in the process. OBEY GOD… STEP…STEP…STEP. HE WILL NEVER LEAVE YOU OR FORSAKE YOU!
When you step for God and opposition comes, realize people are NOT fighting you. They are fighting God and they don’t stand a chance!