Negative for Positive
Today's reading: Nehemiah 4:1-23
When we commit to serving God fully, we should expect to encounter opposition. You see, Satan hates it when our lives are dedicated to God and when we share God's love and the message of Jesus with others. I can't tell you how many times I've encountered opposition almost immediately after committing to some sort of project or event that advances the Gospel, or I begin spending more time reading and studying my Bible. And many times that opposition comes from unexpected places and people--sometimes even a fellow church-goer, a family member or someone I consider a friend. So as our relationship with God grows, which means that we will be doing more and more to follow and serve Him, we need to be prepared for the opposition that will arise.
While opposition itself is a negative, we can turn what is meant as a negative into a positive and something good for God. We see this throughout Nehemiah, and particularly in Nehemiah 4. Sanballat and Tobiah wanted to stop the rebuilding efforts, but their tactics ended up having the opposite impact. As Nehemiah and the Jews faced this negative situation, they turned to God and relied fully on Him. The harsh words, ridicule and threats intensified Nehemiah's and the worker's focus on God, strengthened, unified and motivated the group and honed in their focus on the important project before them. What Sanballat and Tobiah meant for harm, Nehemiah and the Jews--with their eyes on God--turned and used for good.
The next time you encounter opposition as you are serving God, how can you respond positively? In other words, how can/will you turn a negative into a positive for God? What encouraged you most from the example of Nehemiah and the Jews, and how might you follow this example in the future? Tami
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