How do you respond when the enemy throws staunch opposition at you?
How do you respond when the enemy throws staunch opposition at you? (© iStockphoto/bowie15)

How do we respond to opposition? The first thing we have to do is pray. Bring the issue before God. Nehemiah did this after Sanballat and Tobiah ridiculed him. You can ask God to fight on your behalf and help resolve the situation.

When opposition comes, you have to reinforce your weak points. Nehemiah placed armed guards at the lowest parts of the walls in the exposed areas. His workers had a hammer in one hand and a sword in the other. They were ready for opposition as they continued to work.

Strategize, communicate and correct. Nehemiah 4:16-20 breaks down his strategy: "But from then on, only half my men worked while the other half stood guard with spears, shields, bows, and coats of mail. The leaders stationed themselves behind the people of Judah who were rebuilding the wall. The laborers carried on their work with one hand supporting their load and one hand holding a weapon. All the builders had a sword belted to their side. The trumpeter stayed with me to sound the alarm.

"Then I explained to the nobles and officials and all the people, 'The work is very spread out, and we are widely separated from each other along the wall. When you hear the blast of the trumpet, rush to wherever it is sounding. Then our God will fight for us.'"

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Everyone was working around the entire city. They couldn't possibly cover every area with the same strength. They didn't have an army, only a bunch of amateurs trying to build a wall out of rubble. Nehemiah's plan was for everyone to run to an area of the wall to fight together if they heard the trumpet blow. A principle we can learn from this is to keep the lines of communication open during times of intense opposition.

Every time you start building for God, there will be a battle. Satan will be there to oppose us when we get serious about rebuilding. Real leaders must learn to build and battle at the same time. Nehemiah had three choices and so do we. You can give up, leave the rebuilding and go fight, or keep building and arm yourself. Follow Nehemiah's lead. Don't leave the wall to go fight. You could spend all your time putting out fires and never get your job done. You could waste all your energy on the squeaking wheel that is complaining the loudest, and it will take you away from the dream that God has for you. You will never be able to keep everyone happy in your rebuilding process.

But don't fight alone. When you are facing opposition, you need support. If you are a leader, you always need to be careful not to vent to people you are leading. The battle gets tough and there may be moments you are tempted to do that, but don't go there.

Take inventory of who is on your team and who is in your inner circle. When you face opposition from within, it can bring your rebuilding process to a complete stop and even take it backwards. Most of us can spot the obvious opposition from within and deal with it or eliminate it. But sometimes there is an underlying opposition that is much harder to pinpoint, and it can do a lot of damage.

If you are leading something, you have to remember that those under your leadership reflect you. When people you lead aren't on the same page, it creates opposition. In essence, it slows down the progress on the wall where I'm working and rebuilding. But when it is your own team and your inner circle, you have to pause, correct, challenge and pour into them. Nehemiah never came off the wall to go talk with the opposition from the outside, but there were several times he had to rally the troops and correct those he was leading on the inside.

Quitting is not an option. There will be moments when the weight may feel unbearable. Keep pushing. Nehemiah and his crew worked through the night. They even slept in their clothes. Nehemiah led the way. He set the pace and the example. He endured the same hardships and dangers as the people. Real leaders model persistence. What has Satan been trying to get you to quit?  

Taken from ReBuild by Tommy "Urban D." Kyllonen. Copyright ©2015 by Tommy Kyllonen. Used by permission of InterVarsity Press, P.O. Box 1400, Downers Grove, IL 60515, USA. www.ivpress.com.

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