As I am teaching through the Book of Revelation and came to the church of Philadelphia I noted an important point regarding the antagonistic Jews and their disdain for the new Christians. These Judaizers were malicious in their opposition which prompted the Lord to say, “Behold, I will cause those of the synagogue of Satan, who say that they are Jews and are not, but lie, I will make them bow down at your feet, and make them know that I have loved you because you have kept the word of My perseverance” (Rev. 3:9-10 NASB).
As contemporary believers we too face opposition. Anytime you are doing the work of the Lord, you are going to face opposition. It’s inevitable because we have an enemy who does not want to see us succeed, which brings me to an important point, faith sees the opportunity, where fear sees the obstacles.
In our day we have a plethora of voices telling us we’re narrow-minded, bigoted, and misguided. Friend, rest in the knowledge that this same Jesus, who promised the early believers that He would make their enemies bow down, will take care of our enemies as well; just stay faithful! You may be rejected at work, in your neighborhood, or by your family because of your love and commitment to Christ, but remember, He’s promised to act on our behalf. One day “every knee will bow of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father (Phil. 2:10-11).
Here is a great illustration of overcoming opposition with opportunity:
A daughter complained to her father about how hard things were for her. “As soon as I solve one problem,” she said, “another one comes up. I’m tired of struggling.” Her father, a chef, took her to the kitchen where he filled three pots with water and placed each on a high fire. Soon the pots came to a boil. In one he placed carrots, in the second, eggs, and in the last, ground coffee beans. He let them sit and boil without saying a word.
The daughter impatiently waited wondering what he was doing. After awhile he went over and turned off the burners. He fished out the carrots and placed them in a bowl. He pulled the eggs out and placed them in a bowl. He poured the coffee into a bowl. Turning to her he asked, “Darling, what do you see?” “Carrots, eggs, and coffee,” she replied. He brought her closer and asked her to feel the carrots. She did and noted that they were soft. He then asked her to take an egg and break it. After pulling off the shell she observed the hard-boiled egg. Finally, he asked her to sip the coffee. She smiled as she tasted its rich flavor.
She asked, “What does it mean, Father?” He explained that each of them had faced the same adversity—boiling water—but each reacted differently. The carrot went in strong, hard, and unrelenting, but after being subjected to the boiling water, it softened and became weak. The egg was fragile. Its thin outer shell had protected its liquid interior, but after sitting through the boiling water, its inside hardened. The ground coffee beans were unique, however. By being in the boiling water they changed the water. The father then asked his daughter, “When adversity strikes, which are you?”
Far too many Christians discover that when adversity strikes they are more like carrots or eggs than coffee. This results in many Christians and many churches bringing about little or no change in society. Fortunately, this doesn’t have to be the case. Like the small church of Philadelphia we can have a great influence on our community and world for the cause of Christ.
Winston Churchill said, “Most of the significant contributions that have been made to society have been made by people who were tired.” Is anybody tired? If you wait to get things done only when you feel good, you simply won’t get much done. Press on today… no matter how you feel!