You’ve decided to take charge of some problem area in your life. You’re feeling encouraged. You’re taking the first steps to gaining control of your health – physically, mentally, and spiritually. Hurray!
You’re off to a great start. But I’ve got some news that may seem disappointing. As soon as you begin to take charge and make progress, the resistance will show up. It can feel almost magical – in a negative sense. Anything and everything that can go wrong will start to happen. Negative people, negative thoughts, and negative circumstances will come out of the woodwork to make your life difficult and try to force you to give in and give up.
- Your spouse gets grouchy at the meal plan you’ve created
- You get a nasty cold and your diabetes control gets even worse
- Your wife erupts in anger after you share your vulnerable letter with her
- The project you decide to “put out there,” even though it’s imperfect, gets lots of criticism
- The people you reach out to help don’t want your assistance
Every story of accomplishment, of growth, of healing, of health includes the resistance. Do you know anyone who overcame anything significant who didn’t have a tough time? Anyone who did something that made a difference who had it easy? That’s the way our sinful world works.
The Bible is full of stories of those who were doing God’s work who faced the resistance:
- Moses faced Pharaoh and the Egyptian army
- David faced Goliath, and then the anger of Saul
- Elijah faced Jezebel and the prophets of Baal
- Jesus faced the hostile religious leaders
- Paul faced the hostile Roman empire
Really now, do you think you’re likely to have it any easier than Moses, David, Elijah, Jesus, and Paul?
I don’t think so.
If there’s a pull in your heart to take charge in some area, if God is prompting you that there’s something He needs you to do, if you’re determined to live the Fully Alive kind of life that Jesus came to bring, you will meet the resistance.
That resistance may come in the form of people, circumstances, or your own thoughts. Behind it all lies God’s enemy and yours, the devil. But you don’t even have to believe in a personal devil to sense the resistance. Scripture talks about evil personified, a spirit unseen by our human eyes that’s out to oppose everything and everyone on the side of God and His kingdom. This article is not about the theology of evil. But your soul can actually feel empowered by realizing that it’s not your spouse, your friends, or your world that’s against you. It’s more personal than that. But because Jesus has won, you’re on the winning side too if you have decided to follow Him.
Overcoming the Resistance
You and I can never repeat what Jesus did on the cross in defeating the devil. But we do have a role to play in walking out that victory in our own lives. Experiencing the Fully Alive kind of life God created you for does not mean everything will be easy, but it will be meaningful. You can know that kind of life in your body, soul, and spirit.
The only real way to overcome the resistance is working together with God in never giving up.
Here are some keys to doing exactly that.
- Choose sides. If you only go with what’s easy, the default position, you’ll never overcome. You’ll be defeated before you even start. It takes an intentional choice. Joshua said, “Choose this day who you will serve.” (Joshua 24:15) James said, “Resist the devil.” (James 4:7) You may have made that intentional choice already, but you often need to make it again on a daily basis.
- Don’t give up. Losing weight, learning to have a positive attitude, rebuilding a relationship with your spouse, helping someone in need – those take time. The growth needed in your own character takes time. God is patient, and you should be also. That means paying attention to your thoughts and actions every day, and making sure they are moving in the direction of what God has asked you to take charge of. Jesus said the one who “endures to the end” will be the winners. (Matthew 24:13) You want to be one of those who endures!
- Work WITH God. There are things God wants you in charge of, but you can’t do it all. You take every action God asks you to, give Him permission to do whatever He wants with and through you, and then rest. Overcoming the resistance, living Fully Alive, accomplishing God’s purpose for you, will take every bit of courage you have. But it’s not about anxious striving; it’s about continuing to listen, obey, and grow. Hebrews talks about being “diligent to enter that rest.” (Hebrews 4:11) We do what God asks us to do, and leave the results in His hands.
That may sound rather spiritual. But it becomes very practical when you’re facing the resistance. With my husband’s chronic illness, that means praying daily for healing and health – AND diligently following medical recommendations, eating healthfully, and getting plenty of rest. With my people-pleasing personality, that means taking a day to feel bad when a new roadblock appears in the growth of this ministry – AND getting back up again the next day and doing what God is asking us to do.
It’s likely you don’t have anything nearly as difficult to overcome as David, Elijah, or Paul. Whatever it is, if you’re following what God has put in your heart to do, you can overcome!
Don’t give up!
Next week, I will have some resources to share with you if you’re interested in moving deeper to take charge of some area of your life, especially in the area of living healthy. Stay tuned!
Your Turn: What resistance are you facing as you move forward in taking charge of some area of your life? Leave a comment below.
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