God’s answers are always simple, and God’s answers always work.
…God’s answers are not always easy, and God’s answers are not always unopposed.
The fact is, God didn’t promise that following Him would make your life easier — God promised that following Him would make your life better.
Jesus told his followers,
“Look, I am sending you out as a sheep among wolves. So be as shrewd as snakes and harmless as doves. But beware! For you will be handed over to the courts and will be flogged with whips in the synagogues. You will stand trial before governors and kings because you are my followers. But this will be your opportunity to tell the rulers and other unbelievers about me. When you are arrested, don’t worry about how to respond or what to say. God will give you the right words at the right time. For it is not you who will be speaking — it will be the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.” – Matthew 10
Jesus says this directly after commissioning them to,
“Go and announce to them that the Kingdom of Heaven is near. Heal the sick, raise the dead, cure those with leprosy, and cast out demons. Give as freely as you have received!” – Matthew 10
Sounds like a universally positive mission, right? Who could object to being healed, raised, cured, or saved? Who could oppose the Kingdom of Heaven?
And yet, within just a few sentences, Jesus is warning His followers that they are like sheep standing in the midst of wolves. I mean, how many times have you heard of a sheep taking on a wolf in a fight and the sheep coming out on top or winning? It’s not a hopeful statement, it’s a warning. It’s Jesus making sure to impress on His followers the gravity of the situation they are about to face.
It is going to require commitment, perseverance, purpose, and passion to succeed.
“Students are not greater than their teacher, and slaves are not greater than their master. Students are to be like their teacher, and slaves are to be like their master. And since I, the master of the household, have been called the prince of demons, the members of my household will be called by even worse names!” – Matthew 10
One thing is clear, the challenge facing you is real. Jesus knew it was going to be real and made sure to tell you that it wasn’t going to be easy because He didn’t want you to be surprised or easily defeated by adversity.
“But wait a minute, Steve! What do you mean? I mean if God is for us, who dares be against us? Isn’t it true that no weapon formed against us will prosper?”
I’m glad you mentioned that. The prophet Isaiah said that,
“no weapon turned against you will succeed. You will silence every voice raised up to accuse you. These benefits are enjoyed by the servants of the LORD; their vindication will come from me. I, the LORD, have spoken!” – Isaiah 54
Notice he doesn’t say that no weapon will be turned against you, or that no accusation will be raised against you. Isaiah reports God telling him that when weapons are turned on you they won’t ultimately succeed in accomplishing your defeat and when accusations rise against you they will ultimately be silenced. So, once again, the message is clear — challenges and opposition will face you as a believer, and God is calling you to face them, press through them, and ultimately overcome them by His power.
It’s like Jesus said,
“Heal the sick, raise the dead, cure those with leprosy, and cast out demons. Give as freely as you have received!” – Matthew 10
You have the opportunity to participate in the greatest mission in history — declaring the presence of God, sharing the good news of salvation, and blessing the world with the grace, healing, restoration, peace, and joy that God has given you. You are going to face adversity. The enemy is going to pursue you, obstruct your work, and oppose your message. At every turn there are going to be opportunities to give up, to give in, to let go of your passion, and to forget your purpose. So what’s the point?
The point is that God didn’t promise that His answers were going to be easier, God promised that His answers were going to be better.
God’s best for you is deeper, richer, more fulfilling, and more powerful than you have imagined and it is worth every obstacle you face, every adversity you experience, and every challenge that opposes you.
That is why Jesus says not to worry about the obstacles, the adversities, and the challenges coming your way, because He knows He is going to be with you, giving you the direction, the purpose, the plan, and the vision to turn everything that comes against you to your advantage in such a way that the very things the enemy is looking to use to defeat you can become the greatest opportunities you will ever have to experience God’s strength, share God’s message, and accomplish God’s will.
“When you are arrested, don’t worry about how to respond or what to say. God will give you the right words at the right time. For it is not you who will be speaking — it will be the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.” – Matthew 10
It is easy to get caught up in the moment and lose perspective. It is easy to get downhearted and afraid. It is easy to despair and accept defeat. It is easy to surrender and let the enemy have their way. But that is not what you were designed to do. You were built to be a champion. You were constructed to receive the presence of God. You were created to accomplish something better.
God didn’t promise you it would be easy, God promised you that walking with Him would be better.
So the next time you feel discouraged, anxious, frustrated, and opposed. The next time you think the odds are stacked against you and you feel like the darkness surrounding you is greater than you can overcome. The next time you experience the threats of the enemy materializing against you — realize that you are at the very moment Jesus was saying would come and you are not alone. Be encouraged that the one who created you, the one who designed you with love and with purpose is standing there with you ready to give you the strength, the hope, the vision, the passion, and the plan to rise victorious by His power.
God is giving you the opportunity to shine His light, to bring His message, to experience His presence in greater measure than ever before.
It is true that no weapon formed against you will prosper. It is also true that when God is for you, nothing can stand against you and that with God you are, truly, unstoppable.
God’s victory is certain. But it’s not always going to be easy. And that’s OK.
God didn’t say that life on His path, following His way was going to be easy. Quite to the contrary.
God is telling you that life with Him is going to challenge you, it is going to take you to your limits and beyond, it is going to put you into situations where the odds are stacked against you and where your chances of success are slim to none, it is going to take you to the point of impossible and then break through into a whole new level of accomplishment, and it is going to shape you into the best version of yourself by developing you in ways that you haven’t even considered yet.
God didn’t promise you easy, God promised you better.
And if you are willing to step onto His path, if you are willing to follow His way, if you are willing to embrace the opportunity to share His mission, accomplish His plan, receive His promises, and fulfill His purposes, then God is going to achieve a victory in you and through you that is greater than your biggest and best dreams.
“These benefits are enjoyed by the servants of the LORD; their vindication will come from me. I, the LORD, have spoken!” – Isaiah 54