by Rick Warren — November 22, 2022
From Building a Better Future
“Anyone who belongs to Christ Jesus and wants to live right will have trouble from others.”
2 Timothy 3:12 (CEV)
Life is full of God-given opportunities. But with every opportunity, there will be opposition—especially in today’s increasingly divided culture. The Bible confirms it: “In fact, anyone who belongs to Christ Jesus and wants to live right will have trouble from others” (2 Timothy 3:12 CEV).
Yesterday we looked at three ways people will try to oppose you with ridicule as you pursue a plan God has put on your heart. How do you respond to that kind of criticism?
Tell God how you really feel. When people put you down for doing great things, don’t get back at them. Instead, talk it out with God—and be honest with him. Don’t hide your hurt. Tell God exactly what you’re feeling. Prayer is a great stress reliever when you feel ridiculed and under attack.
Nehemiah’s habit was to always pray first. Notice how gut-level honest Nehemiah got when he prayed: “Then I prayed, ‘Hear us, our God, for we are being mocked. May their scoffing fall back on their own heads, and may they themselves become captives in a foreign land! Do not ignore their guilt . . . for they have provoked you to anger here in front of the builders’” (Nehemiah 4:4-5 NLT).
God doesn’t want you to tell him what you think he wants to hear. When you’re criticized, demeaned, or demoralized, he wants to hear all about it—and that includes how much it upsets you.
Confidently state your trust is in God. Whenever people oppose you for following God’s will, reaffirm what he has told you to do and commit to following him. When you act on God’s orders, you’re not trusting in yourself; you’re trusting in Almighty God! The greater the opposition in your life, the more you need to depend on God.
How did Nehemiah respond when his opponents ridiculed him? He confidently stated his trust in God: “The God of heaven will help us succeed. We, his servants, will start rebuilding this wall. But you have no share, legal right, or historic claim in Jerusalem” (Nehemiah 2:20 NLT).
Opposition can never stop God’s work in your life unless you let it. When critics put you down, don’t stoop to their level. Don’t retaliate.
Instead, like Nehemiah, be honest with God about how you really feel, and say with confidence, “The God of heaven will help me succeed.”