Just between you and me, sometimes when I read the Bible it sounds like the Apostle Paul is out of his ever-lovin’ mind. I imagine getting to heaven and saying to him, “Paul, man, some of that stuff you wrote. Whew.” Then we’d have a good laugh about it because, of course, it’s really me who needs to learn to see things differently.
For example, when I read these words the other morning I thought my Bible must have a typo or the translators had too much pizza the night before. First Corinthians 16:8-9 says, “I will stay on . . . because a great door for effective work has opened to me, and there are many who oppose me.”
The Holley Gerth version would read, “I’m getting out of here because there’s a lot of opposition and surely that means God has closed the door.” Anyone else with me?
But, no, Paul is looking at opposition as affirmation and confirmation. He’s where he needs to be, doing what he needs to do. It’s not a reason to give up or feel like a failure, to think he must have misheard God or be doing the wrong thing. Just the opposite: He decides this means he should carry on.
We will all get to the place where we face “opposition” in God’s will for our lives. Maybe it will come from within, the lies in our heart growing so loud that we’re tempted to listen. “You can’t do this,” they will say. “You’re not enough,” they will warn. Or perhaps the critics and naysayers and committees on the outside will do that work for us. It will be their voices we hear.
We will hang our heads and in that moment the most natural, human thing in the world to say is, “I’m walking away. I’ve clearly messed this up.”
But perhaps Jesus is whispering, “Stay . . . a great door for effective work has opened to you, and there are many who oppose you.” He understands this, after all. He faced opposition and resistance at every step.
Sometimes what looks like opposition turns out to be an opportunity.
It’s an indication that it’s time to press in, press on, and refuse to give up. It’s a message saying that we are fighting a worthwhile battle. It’s proof that we are making a difference.
If we find ourselves in the middle of blood and sweat and tears today then we can remember this doesn’t mean we’re failing; it means we’re fighting. We are fiercehearted women and the enemy of our heart knows the only way he can beat us is if he can convince us to retreat, to forfeit. If we stand firm we can’t lose. We’ll never be defeated. We won’t be overcome.
Here’s the crazy secret the Apostle Paul knew: With God we’ve already won.
Bev @ Walking Well With God says
I wholeheartedly agree with you. I believe that when we are making a difference for the Lord and are advancing His Kingdom then, whether we like it or not, we’ve got a giant bull’s eye painted on our back by the enemy. The enemy tends to leave those folks alone who are not a threat to him or are not making a difference. Trial and persecution will become familiar to the fierce-hearted people who dare to press on and share the Good News unto all the world. The enemy would like nothing more than to discourage those who are squelching his message of hopelessness. If he can put a magnifying glass over our own negative self talk and whisper words like “you’re not worthy” or ” who do you think you are”….he has a chance at bringing us down and what a victory for him that would be. Instead we need to band together and help each other see the enemy’s lies for what they are…lies! Call him out, kick him to the curb, and replace the negative thoughts with God’s truth. Okay, I’ll get off my soapbox now….just echoing your encouragement 🙂
Stay on your soapbox. You’re foot is better isn’t it?
Bev @ Walking Well With God says
I’m doing physical therapy right now which is grueling and painful….still a way to go, but thanks for asking…
Totally agree!! He is a liar and the father of lies and I, for one, am tired of it! I’m with you, fierce sister!
What wonderful and encouraging words, Bev! Your words and Holley’s article are so inspiring nd helpful. Just recently, like many, I felt an attack from the enemy but with prayer, help from God and my husband I am back on track. I also agree with Holley that sometimes when I read about Paul I wonder at his remarks but when I look deeper I see that he was so committed in his faith that he continued on and that is something we Christians can and must do. Fight the good fight and always stay in alignment with God and Jesus! The battle has already been won; our victory lies with Christ!
Michele Morin says
I’ve puzzled over that same passage and marveled over Paul’s unlikely logic — so often I wonder if I’ve misunderstood something that God is saying . . .
Thanks for saying, “Me, too” in so much of what you write, Holley.
Blessings to you!
Rute Barros says
Thank you for your note and for your honesty!
It’s not easy being a Christian in a secular world and being light!
Carol Whitaker says
Thanks for your encouragement, Holly! Really needed this today!
Tonya Salomons says
I have needed these words. This past 6 months have been full of opposition. It has felt like we have hit a brick wall of adversity as we turn every corner in our lives.
In between me trying to finish my Masters; we’ve endured job loss, my mom experiencing a stroke from which she continues to experience set backs. We’ve sold our home, relocated and are currently subletting a room in a house because finding our permanent home is proving to be so difficult.
Lately, I’ve wanted to give up, but worse, I’ve been listening to the lies and most of them go like this… “Tonya, you know how you used to get up every morning and pray to Jesus, yeah well you stopped doing that so this is what you get” or “Tonya, wake up all of this adversity should be a sign that you’ve made a big mistake and that you should’ve never moved”
So reading Paul’s words this morning, they bolster a fledgling hope… that this opposition that we seem to be experiencing is part of a greater purpose and that God will care for as and is with during every opposition, every adversity.
Thank you for these words today.
Natalina R says
Thank you Holley for the reminder of encouragement found in Paul’s words and thank you for opening up a community chat section for real life women to come forth and share their strong stories. I have read some of the posts and they are very encouraging and power giving. Thank you ladies for being open, honest & fruitful. I believe we can benefit from getting out of our own thinking and listening to our fellow sisters. That’s what I did tonight and I thank you. GOD bless.
Yes, God does care for you, and He’s right there with you now. He’s on your team, rooting for you, and your support. Take heart and be of good courage, for He is your advocate, Friend and Lord. He loves you and will always love you.
This is a beautiful post, Holley. I certainly needed the encouragement.
Charlotte R says
Holley. This is the first time I have read your messages. I like your style. Easy to relate to. Thank you
Charlene Lovett says
Too often we tend to focus on the second part of that scripture, “…and there are many who oppose you.” Standing alone, that can be scary, but we are never alone in our battles, that is a truth we need to cling to. His promises are “yes” and “amen”, so when He says, “I’ll never leave you or forsake you”, He means just that. So fling wide that door of opportunity, not ignoring the many who oppose you, but rather remembering the One Who is always with you!
Hi HolleyI, loved each and every messages you shared in this post,specifically the final phrase ” With God we’ve already won”. When you have god by your side you no need anything.
Pearl Allard says
Holley, needed this today. Thank you! Expect attacks, but expect victories, too. Needed this reminder. Love your writing. You are a blessing.
Wow! I needed to hear that. I have been in a battle for so long, lies from the enemy keep trying to convince me of things that are not true. I have been so “crippled” in my faith, my prayer life has been so slim. I question whether I believe in Him or not, but I know that He is the only way. This post was so good for me to hear though, thank you! It gives me a little more to keep going, keep believing, and keep walking by faith
Thank you, thank you, thank you!
…and I’ve thought the same thing about Paul.
This was a much needed message. I’ve spent a week toiling. These were the words I needed for perspective. Thank you Holley. Be blessed.
Thank you for the reminder that facing opposition often means we are in God’s right track. “Me too” regarding the desire to walk away from it. Keep up the good fight all.
A good and timely reminder! Thanks for sharing, Holley!
Wow, I loved this. I’ve lived this! Can’t wait for this new book to get here!
It’s a beautiful reminder Holley. But sometimes it can be so difficult to face it when we are beaten up with so much oppositions. But if we give up, we will never be able to reach the destination we are aiming for. Without God’s message to constantly remind us, it would be difficult to endure all of these.
I like what you said that for every opposition there is a possible opportunity behind it. I just need to remember that to strengthen myself even more.
Thanks for pairing my coffee with a sweet message of yours. I really enjoyed it.
Great point, Holley. Love the idea of the difficult being proof of the difference. 🙂
Lindsay Hausch says
This was the message I needed this morning. Thank you.
Terrie Futrell says
Hey Holley….such a refreshing post and I have to admit….your opening was just so “chatty and every day”….that I had to smile and chuckle… Bible writers and too much pizza the night before! Yep…..exactly what we sometimes think. Now…to what you had to say….SPOT ON! Not what I exactly want to hear…I too often will just back away and say: I give up….I can’t keep doing this!!!” Thank you for an encouraging post! Keep spurring us on!
Kathy Cheek, Devotions from the Heart says
Paul could see a work of God with his eyes of faith that didn’t show itself in the natural world and its opposition. We need Paul’s eyes so we won’t give up!
Amie Vickers says
I love that view of how Paul was able to see and say things like he did. I pray for those eyes to see beyond the natural, even beyond that to be able to live beyond the natural and into the supernatural.
Dear Holley, The gift God has given to you to be able to encourage and speak to people is such a huge blessing ! Praise God for his love for us. Thank you.Danya
Thank you for posting this. God is speaking to me through this post. I was just telling my husband last night I felt crazy because inside I feel stirred about some things going on and it seems no one else is feeling the same way. I started doubting God was speaking to me because you know “they” are better Christians than I am so if “they” don’t feel the same way then why would God put that feeling inside of me and not them? I wanted to walk away and quit. This is just confirmation to me to keep fighting for what I know is right and what God has laid on my heart. Thank you!
I laughed at the Holley version, thinking ‘that’s me!’ – thanks for the uplift and the upbeat column.
I very much enjoy reading the comments which tell me “You’re not alone.” To Marymargaret in particular, I’m sure I will be joining in prayer for you every Encourager who read your comment.
God bless, all.
Amie Vickers says
This was a much needed backing of what the Lord has been speaking to me this past couple weeks! Every day, sometimes all day, I have to remind myself that it is not my default to be in tune with Gods voice or always connected to his heart… the noise of my mind, my flesh and the enemy who works his best game to steal my thoughts are the default. I have to diligently seek alignment with the Father to keep open the door to my heart and mind that let’s His voice shine through… expect the opposition is the Word I got from this today, not to grow weary in my fight to press back the noise, take captive my thoughts and tune into the one who sets me on solid ground every day, all day… He is always there and only He, not by own will or might, can strengthen me minute by minute to win the battle!
Thank you for the conversation your words started for me with my Father in Heaven today!
Eunice B says
Oh, Holley….I totally chuckled at your “translation”…that would be me, too! 🙂 Thank you so much for sharing the bigger picture, and challenging me to realize, God has already won!!! Keep fighting the fight, girl! HE has OVERCOME!! <3
Holley, You sure have a way with words that connect to so many of us. I love this post. Although I am 80 years old, I sometimes feel like giving up to the enemy..You ask “Why”.. Because my husband of 53 years is now involved in a false religion. United Church of God started my Herbert Armstrong. Ray now believes it is the only religion with “the truth”. He has been involved in it for a year and my life is a nightmare. He used to teach Sunday School & sing in the choir; but he now says that was all lies because only this church is the truth. I shall keep your message as a reminder to me to keep on hanging on in God’s strength.. Thanks dear one.
Elsa Seidel says
Thank you for the encouragement. I live in an area where the majority of the population is committed to a “cult” and since it is the majority, politics, some schools, activities, etc. are controlled by “them.” However, I always told my children, “We have already read the end of the book and know who wins – God!!!”
Beth Williams says
Amen to this:: “Sometimes what looks like opposition turns out to be an opportunity”. I have been through trials and it feels like you want to give up. In the end what you find is the opportunity to grow/mature & shine the light of Jesus. I have found that when I’m closest to God the enemy hits me with lies – especially if I make mistakes. I hear “not good enough, why bother, dumb.” This is a spiritual war we are battling and the devil wants us down & depressed. He would love nothing more than for us to believe God can no longer love or tolerate us. We need to fight fire with fire. Recite scripture back to devil and He will have to flee. Be in the word daily and you will win the battle.
I love this! I recently went through a horrible work situation and the “fight or flight” mentality kicked in. I had been bullied and had lies spread about me to the point of being suicidial. I had to take a week off work and attempted to go back but I lived constantly on edge. My anxiety and depression was a constant companion I couldn’t get rid of.
But then I went HR and asked to be moved to a different department and that made all the difference! I’m grateful the head of our HR department is a Christian and she knew GOD would make a way. And HE did. I’m in a new department I truly like.
While I still have the anxiety and depression I’m working on it but the great thing is that I don’t feel like work is the worst thing anymore. But if I hadn’t stuck it out I would have never known what could have been. I’m glad I did.
We are victorious in Him alone.
Holley Gerth says
Thanks so much for being here and sharing your thoughts and hearts! So glad we can encourage each other and overcome together. <3
Really good! And I love your humor, too!
I so needed to hear that today! I have been leading some women in a new prayer group at my church this summer and the warfare in my personal life has been fierce. I was just speaking with them this week about identifying the lies in our lives and using scripture to combat it and immediately, the enemy attacked in the areas I had most struggled with in the past… it’s too hard, I can’t do this, etc. After getting prayer by a few friends, am feeling stronger today, but your words were a perfect confirmation that I am where the Lord wants me, battle or not.
Thank you so much,
Great post Holley! Thanks for the encouragement to never give up.
Cyndi Carter says
Holley, I needed to hear your words today. Thank you for reminding me not to give up.
Cyndi Carter says
Sorry, wrong address. This is the correct address: https://www.facebook.com/HiddenVale
Sonja Carmen Tomiuk says
I started to cry when I read your post Holly, and even more so when I read the post from Tonya Salomons. I have strongly felt that Heavenly Father wanted me and my son to move to British Columbia, Canada. So we visited British Columbia in March and we truly loved it there. I was recently divorced in Dec. of 2015 and really needed to move from Quebec, Canada, where I have lived for the last 64 years. I could no longer be in the same place as my ex-husband for various reasons. I knew I just had to leave Quebec. We have been trying every which way to acquire a condo in Kelowna, British Columbia where we feel that God really wants us to be. We found a wonderful Christian real estate agent who prays for my son and me every morning. As a matter of fact we have become friends through this whole process. The opposition has been fierce, yet when there were so many road blocks God broke all those road blocks down, however I am still trying to get a mortgage and when you are a retired person it is so hard to do so. I remember how Moses parted the Red Sea so that the children of Israel would be able to cross on dry ground away from the pursuing Egyptians. I felt just like that, that Heavenly Father was parting the Red Sea when he broke down the road blocks for me. However I am still waiting to see if I will get my mortgage. It has been a very rough and tough four months. I have cried many tears over this, yet I know that I must be positive in all of this. There have been too many things that say yes, Heavenly Father still wants me and my son to move to British Columbia. Sometimes it is a matter of patience. All good things come to those who wait. Any advice Holly or anyone?
What a great message – needed to read that this morning. Thank you Holley.
Love this. I’m going to print and have it available as a reminder. Thanks !! The enemy took a hit with this msg.!
Victoria M says
I really wish I would have read this email when it hit my email this past week instead of waiting. I hit some really tough patches this week with work where I had those voices in my head, and all I wanted to do was cry. My job has been a struggle for me (understandable because it’s training for a job I’ve never done before), but it’s still hard. Reading the part where you mention that something great will come from this really got to me. As an upcoming teacher I have to remember that line. God has already won, and he placed me in my position for a reason that I will probably never fully understand. Thank you Holley for this blog. There are a lot of times when your words come at just the right time.
Angela Appleberry says
God has an awesome sense of humor, because just read this today but was in this same battle just a few days ago. Much needed and thank you for sharing.
Desiree Montalvo-Holt says
Loved it! Keeping it and believing in my strength in Him! I can because He is with me and walks before me. He loves and wants the very best for me. I am inspried to keep fighting today in my marriage and in my day knowing He is not only watching but is wanting good and joy to fill my heart today.