Opposition & Opportunity

By: Brent Wakefield
But I [Paul] will stay in Ephesus until Pentecost, for a wide door for effective work has opened to me, and there are many adversaries. 1 Corinthians 16:8-9

Paul understood the notion that opposition and opportunity work together perhaps better than anyone. We see in Acts chapters 7-9, the miraculous conversion of Saul (into Paul) and the effect it had on the church.

Saul had been an adversary of the gospel of Jesus for a long time. He was responsible for attacking men and women of the Way, throwing them in jail and even watching them die. He was the opposition. The same man whose shadow fell over Stephen as he was stoned to death would later speak of wide doors for effective service where there were many adversaries. Paul understood that where opposition existed, God would unleash opportunity.

Saul found himself blinded on a roadway and in direct earshot of the One whom he was persecuting. It changed him forever. When the scales fell off his eyes three days later, he was baptized, and his life began anew. He went from opposing Jesus to serving Jesus in one fell swoop. The very voice of opposition sang a new tune, proclaiming the good news to those who would listen.

God literally turned His opponent into an instrument to spread the gospel.

So, years later, when Paul went looking for opportunities, it’s no wonder that he saw opportunity where there were many adversaries. He knew better than anyone that God was at work amid opposition. He had felt God completely unravel an opposing spirit within his own heart.

For us today, we can take great comfort – and even rejoice – when opposition arises. Although it may not feel like it in the moment, the body of Christ does not just skate by and survive during times of opposition … it thrives. It grows stronger. It sees opportunities where there were none before. Not because we are special or have the moxie to pull it off, but because God always steps in when His Son’s name is at stake.

On the heels of being pursued by a murderous villain, the Word says “the church throughout all Judea and Galilee and Samaria had peace and was being built up. And walking in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, it multiplied.” Acts 9:31.

Only God could turn that kind of opposition into an opportunity to build His church.
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