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How can I find the strength to endure when I face spiritual opposition?

By Dr. Charles Stanley

Ezra 4

 In the Book of Ezra we read of a beleaguered people who faced opposition in doing what God had commissioned them to do. They sought to rebuild the holy temple that was destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar’s forces decades earlier, and they faced stiff opposition from the locals, deceitful offers of “help,” and open attacks from the outside.

Still, God’s people successfully completed the temple restoration. How? By developing a spiritual quality we all need in the Christian life: endurance.

God knows the Christian life is not easy. And it never will become easy, no matter how long we live. In this world, we will face opposition, both from the world and from the enemy of our souls, the devil. Jesus told us, “In the world you have tribulation” (John 16:33).

Surrounded by such opposition, if we’re going to live in a way that pleases God, then we must develop endurance. The Bible is full of examples of people who endured opposition to their work and who received their reward as a result. Hebrews 11, often called the “Hall of Faith,” lists some of those heroes.

But what exactly is involved in developing endurance? At least four things play a big role:

Receiving encouragement from others. The writer of Hebrews encourages us to ponder the lives of those he lists in chapter 11. He refers to them as “a cloud of witnesses” (Heb. 12:1). We cannot see this great cloud of witnesses, but we can read about them in God’s Word and glean from their inspiring stories of endurance.

Getting rid of hindrances. Hebrews tells us, “Let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us” (12:1). This means we need to identify those things that could slow us down, including any sin God brings to our attention.

Running the race. Hebrews 12:1 ends by telling us, “Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.” When the going gets rough, we don’t run away. We can’t be quitters. Rather, we continue on in confident trust, and the longer we persevere, the stronger our faith in Him becomes.

Fixing our eyes on Christ. Hebrews 12:2 advises us to keep “fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith.” Nothing helps us endure like seeing the final prize before us—and that prize is Christ Himself. Do you want the prize? Then you must endure. And Jesus promises to help you.

Adapted from "The Charles F. Stanley’s Life Principles Bible," 2008.

 

Related Resources

Related Video

The Courage To Face Opposition

In the Book of Ezra we read of a beleaguered people who faced opposition in doing what God had commissioned them to do. They sought to rebuild the holy temple that was destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar’s forces decades earlier, and they faced stiff opposition from the locals, deceitful offers of “help,” and open attacks from the outside. (Watch The Courage To Face Opposition.)

Copyright 2014 In Touch Ministries, Inc. All rights reserved. www.intouch.org. In Touch grants permission to print for personal use only.

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14 comments
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  • April 15, 2013 02:31 PM

    by

    Love reading thoughts on scripture and application to our life. To the person who is struggling with church we need more of Love every where. God is love. Embrace in love and accept what we cannot change and prayerful move forward as we pray. Find peace in you and show it to others. Db
  • April 14, 2013 10:41 AM

    by

    Thank you. I have moved very many times in my life, and always met people with hate for Christ. Of course I live in a country Sweden with very little consern about God and His Son Jesus.Now GOD is moving me again to a place were I can find some peace. But remember that Jesus peace is all that matters and makes it possible to servive and love other with Christlike love!
  • April 14, 2013 09:36 AM

    by

    I needed this reminder to help me deal with my anger and frustration over people who insist on causing conflict.
  • April 14, 2013 08:05 AM

    by

    These devotions always start my day off on the right foot. I am not even out of bed yet and God has shown me through this passage how I am going to start my day. Thank you
  • March 27, 2012 10:55 AM

    by

    V.G
  • December 18, 2011 09:50 AM

    by

    5 stars ....
  • December 08, 2011 11:56 PM

    by

    Thank you, this is encouraging
  • November 22, 2011 09:43 AM

    by

    This is very encourageing to me awesome
  • September 21, 2011 12:28 PM

    by

    Yesssss........Thank you "JESUS"........Thank you Dr. Stanley. you are truely a vessel for the "LORD". glory be to the "LORD"on high.
  • August 19, 2011 05:08 PM

    by

    THANK YOU CHARLES STANLEY FOR BEING A BLESSED OBEDIENT SERVANT TO THE LORD. YOU ARE A GREAT BLESSING TO MY LIFE. AND A BLESSED GREAT TEACHER, EXAMPLE.
  • August 15, 2011 05:12 AM

    by

    Bless you Dr. Stanley & all Intouch team...
    you are a real blessing to millions especially to my life....
  • July 26, 2011 05:52 PM

    by

    Your article was good, but I need some practical help. I am in a small church and every bit of energy I have is drained. I truly want to quit. I have been logging hours there for five years and made some major improvements, by the grace of God. But the people there are still very gossipy and malicous. They talk about the pastor constantly and are very inwardly focussed. My husband wants to quit, but I just don't want to give up and "shake the dust from our sandals". I am also concerned that if we give up now we will be setting the stage for future failures. When do we shake the dust, and when do we persevere?
  • July 10, 2011 12:33 PM

    by

    This is very encouraging and inspiring. Thank you and God bless you.
  • June 23, 2011 11:41 AM

    by

    Thanks

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