Then I said to them, “You see the trouble we are in: Jerusalem lies in ruins, and its gates have been burned with fire. Come, let us rebuild the wall of Jerusalem, and we will no longer be in disgrace.” I also told them about the gracious hand of my God upon me and what the king had said to me. They replied, “Let us start rebuilding.” So they began this good work. But when Sanballat the Horonite, Tobiah the Ammonite official and Geshem the Arab heard about it, they mocked and ridiculed us. “What is this you are doing?” they asked. “Are you rebelling against the king?” –Nehemiah 2:17-19 (NIV)
In all of our hearts, God has placed desires to be used for His glory. When we become aware of these desires and surrender them willingly to Him, He reveals to us the path that we are to follow so that His pleasing and perfect will for our lives may be fulfilled. As long as we continue on the path He has laid out for us and walk in His wisdom, we will be assured that we are doing what is right in His eyes. But God does not promise a smooth journey. By choosing to follow Him and His will, we will often earn the opposition of others on account of the stance we have taken. For their own ulterior motives or for their lack of an eternal perspective, they will try to dissuade us from continuing on the road God has explicitly called us to follow. They will even misuse the Scriptures in an effort to deter us.
Under these conditions it can be easy to get discouraged. Doubts cloud our minds and it becomes increasingly tempting to give in to the pressure of their voices. But we must resist through prayer; asking God to give us the strength to carry on in the task He has called us to accomplish and the wisdom to handle the antagonism lobbed against us. When we try to handle hostility towards us in our own wisdom and understanding, we will more likely than not end up sabotaging our witness for Christ. However, when we pray and ask God to control our thoughts, words, and actions, we will be given the discernment to either answer our critics in love but without compromise, or to not deliver an answer at all. When our security and our definition of ourselves are found in what others think of us, we will be forever bound to their desires and whims. But when our sense of assurance is found in the love of Christ and what He has done for us through His redemptive sacrifice on the cross, even the most violent of opposition will not shake us. We will be able to carry on knowing that God will not call us to a task that was not meant to be finished, and is faithful to those who truly serve Him and seek His will.
Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.