Responding to Opposition and Criticism

In the 5th century BC, Nehemiah traveled an enormous distance back to his homeland, leading his countrymen to rebuild the wall of protection that surrounded their capital city. This effort was truly a God-sized task.

Their story is our story. God gives us assignments too. Obedience to His plans impacts lives for eternity. As we seek to obey the Lord on the God-sized assignments He gives to us, we inevitably encounter criticism and opposition.

Remember: “For our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the world powers of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavens.” (Ephesians 6:12)

Recently my friend Pastor Kevin Miller was sharing a message from Nehemiah 4, Responding to Opposition and Criticism. Listen to the message HERE. Below are some of the notes I wrote down from the message. May the Word of God inspire you to live a life of faith & obedience to God, even when you face opposition and criticism.

“You will notice in chapter 3 of Nehemiah that some people with really hard names to pronounce each had a part in rebuilding the wall. Each of those people had an important part in God’s plan to rebuild the wall. All of the things that God wanted accomplished would not have gotten done without each person doing their part.”

“When you are doing something great for God there will always be critics.”

“People criticize visions because visions have gaps. They are not detailed plans. They are visions.”

“People criticize visions because carrying out even God-given visions will require change. And a lot of people don’t like change.”

“In the face of criticism, Nehemiah goes straight to God in prayer.”

“Remember, we are fighting spiritual battles. Our enemy is the devil.”

“The enemy opposes you from the outside and from the inside – be on guard.”

“Sanballat and Tobiah criticized the people’s character, ability, commitment to finish the task, quality of their work, and more. Your enemy will heap criticism upon you.”

“The critics had valid points, but they weren’t factoring in God!”

“Nehemiah did not let the enemy become of the focus of his attention.”

“After he prayed, he and the people went back to work.”

“You should acknowledge your enemies but dwell on Christ. Too many people acknowledge Christ but dwell on their enemies.”

“When faced with opposition, he made adjustments to his plan to protect the lives of the people and to protect the work they were doing. He stationed guards on the wall.”

“Walking by faith does not mean ignoring strategy.”

“In the midst of accomplishing a vision, the plans may change. Changed plans do not mean a changed vision.”

“If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31)

“Our God will fight for us” (Nehemiah 4:20)

“Don’t be afraid. Continue to trust in God. Remember the great, awesome-inspiring LORD.” (Nehemiah 4:14)

Pastor Kev gave six (6) points of application for responding to opposition and criticism:

  1. Pray
  2. Don’t let your enemies become your focus
  3. Don’t be afraid
  4. Remember how great God is
  5. Fight for the cause
  6. Make adjustments as necessary to carry out the vision

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