I grew up in a household that was pretty strict, especially when it came to some of the principles of life that my mom held so dear, such as: integrity, loyalty, education, or just telling the truth... but definitely cowardice. She didn't quite get the whole MLK 'we shall overcome' thing. She was more like Leonardes' wife in the movie '300' when she said, 'Come back With your shield… or ON it!' In other words, if some bad kid ran you home from school, you'd better not stop at home, (especially if it was just one kid... your size).
Because, if you ran inside and went under the bed, she'd pull you out and give you that stern look and say, 'You Better Get back out there!'
Today, the kids that chase you home are called bullies. My mom called them a hindrance to your self- respect, and consequently, to your purpose in life. We were taught that the enemy wasn't a person, it was a mentality. She would say things like, 'if you run now, you'll always run.'
While she may not have received the Dr. Seuss parenting award, I think my mom was closer to Biblical teachings than not! The Bible shows us how that counting up the cost, and knowing what you're going up against, will help you prepare for the opposition. Sometimes the most difficult thing for Christians to understand is ‘opposition’. We're hated by some, and we don't get it. We're rejected by loved ones and so-called friends, and it blows our minds. We're under constant attack, and we wonder why we're being shot at. The Apostle Paul, when facing much opposition, wrote:
'We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed;' 2Cor 4:8
Notice, Paul never minimized the attack, but he states his mental response as his strongest weapon! Examine the text... each section explains how God wants us to think when we encounter attacks and opposition… it says:
1. We are troubled on every side = meaning 'to press down'. Has the enemy ever made you feel oppressed on all sides...and sometimes depressed? Yes! But the Apostle Paul says, Yet we are not distressed! This word means 'not crushed'. You are not pulverized and forced inward. Why? Because you push back with faith! You push back with your prayer language (our tongues of fire!). You push back with the Word of God! No weapon that is formed against you shall prosper!
2. We are perplexed = meaning 'to have no way out.' It's that feeling of being trapped and overwhelmed. But remember, we are NOT in despair! The word for despair means 'utterly at a loss.' Wondering what to do next, confused and anxious. You are never at a total loss trapped with no way out, wringing your hands with anxiety. You have the power to operate from another realm and from another Kingdom. You can 'beam up'. You can enter into that secret place and hear from God.
3. We’re persecuted = means 'to be hunted down, to cause to suffer'. This word denotes being chased by pack of wolves. It's when one thing after another is attacking your body causing you pain; then one thing after another attacking your mind causing you to suffer. But remember, God says, you're not forsaken! You are not abandoned, or left to die. The enemy wants to kill your faith and your future... But God has goodness and mercy following you! This means whatever opposition you have that's attacking your health, God is saying, I'm not leaving you to handle it on your own...I will work it together for your good and give you Favor for the process!
4. You are cast down = which means 'to put in a lower place, to throw down'. When the enemy tries to put you in a lower place, he is foolishly dealing with spiritual rank! He can't stop you, so he tries to undermine your position. But Paul responds, 'we are Not destroyed. You are NOT put out of the way, pushed to the side, or put to ruin. Your spiritual rank has been determined by your assignment. And God has given You the authority! Our weapons are not carnal, but they're mighty through God!
Many of us are about to face great opposition because we're about to have Great Victories! So don’t get discouraged by setbacks in finances or your personal goals. Don’t get depressed by disappointments in relationships. And don’t get frustrated with seeing other people succeed at what you’ve been trying to do for so long. There is a set time for your success and that time is now! This is no time to give up on give in. Do your best work; run your best race. Yes, setbacks will happen, trouble will come, but you’re an overcomer! So, get back out there.