"Then the peoples around them set out to discourage the people of Judah and make them afraid to go on building. They hired counselors to work against them and frustrate their plans...." Ezra 4:4-5
Have you ever noticed that when God begins to do a work and rebuilding begins in your life and the lives of others around you all of a sudden you have people trying to discourage you? They try to hinder and frustrate you in all that you are trying to accomplish.
When God begins a new work in your life, you can expect opposition. You may even be surprised that the opposition can come from those closest to you. They may be a family member or a good friend. They want to just offer you some advice to improve your situation. They may even offer to help you out during the process. They will tell you what you are doing wrong and how you need to do things this way or that way. Pretty soon, you are frustrated. It is as if all that you can do nothing right. Someone is trying to give you a set of rules to follow. Please understand I do believe God has a perfect way to do things, but God works through people differently. He is the one who will perform the refining process within the person.
When I began to step out in obedience to God and do as he asked, I immediately was being admonished all the time. People would say, oh, you need to pray first or say it this way because the church said they don't want people to know that they are oppressed. We don't want to hurt people's feelings by speaking the truth. Be careful sharing the word of God because it may offend them if you don't say it right or with love. I learned from God you need to do it this way. Well, they responded that way because you did it wrong. You know the bible is just a guideline.
I was floored by all these people wanting to correct me. What floored me the most was the fact that some of the stuff they were saying did not line up with the word of God. God said that the gospel would be a stumbling block for others, the word would be an offense, he sometimes rebuked and corrected the leaders. The word of God is God. Jesus was the word that became flesh. The word is sharper than a two edged sword dividing the soul from the spirit. The word of God brings life, truth and where it is sent accomplishes God's will. So I was blown away by all of this. It was like being in Galatia where they were setting all these rules and regulations in place to make things work. They have left the simplicity of the gospel of Jesus and the grace given. There was no trust that the Holy Spirit would work things out. Jesus told us not to be concerned about what we would say, but the Holy Spirit would speak. I think about the book of Acts where Stephen spoke. He said some things that really offended the leaders and the people. It was so bad that they stoned him to death. So from that I can clearly see that when you speak truth there will be opposition and persecution.
What surprised me the most was the fact that this came from within the churches and those who call themselves Christians. I was surprised how many do not read their bible or think that they are not called to preach the gospel or share the good news with others. I was surprised when others would gladly accept those who were unbelievers into prayer groups and those that were believers were not so easily accepted. They were excluded from the group. It blew my mind. I then began to wonder if they were really even saved. What even concerned me more was how many people don't like to talk about God and the bible.
Funny part to all of this was God was causing fruit to happen in these peoples lives. By stepping out like a child believing God put this on my heart, he began to do a work in the lives of those he had me speak to. It changed their direction and destiny. Had I listened to those around me, I would have never seen what God was doing. So when God begins a new work in your life rebuilding your life and the life of others expect opposition. Remember do not always listen to those around you and allow them in to what God has designated for you. Pray and seek God for wisdom. And remember that God is bigger than those who try and frustrate and discourage you. Pray for them to find Jesus and be blessed. Jesus tells us to pray for those who curse us. Remember when persecution comes we are told in Matthew 5:10 "Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." All glory be to God!