I think I need to say one more thing about our attitude when handling opposition. We need to remember that we are dead! Colossians 3:1-3 states:
“Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God.” (NASU)
A corpse has a distinct advantage in handling opposition! I mean, how can you hurt, insult, demean, bother, plague, or make life miserable for a corpse? Such things of the earth are gone for the believer who chooses to believe Scripture. We really should be able to look dispassionately at arrows aimed at us, knowing that they will have no effect on someone who has died. Our life is hidden with Christ in God.
All harm aimed at us hits Christ first. Who is better able to handle the hurt than He is? He deflects all opposition and uses it to achieve His good purpose.
So, when opposition comes, we are to “keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.”
This, first, should dispel fear, as we know the right hand of God to be a place of power and justice. It should also cause us to seek Christ’s wishes in the struggle. How will we most glorify Jesus Christ in this horrific situation? He certainly will be most glorified by our Christ-like response to the opposition. He will be glorified if we are His vessels of reconciliation and restoration. He will be glorified if our responses evidence a calm reliance upon Him for the outcome. Glory will come to Him if love and righteousness prevails.
I mentioned in an earlier article that I have sometimes not done the best at handling opposition. Yet, if we as pastors do not model our identification with Christ, who will? I even imagine that God allows a far amount of opposition in our lives so that we would model the proper response. We must decide, when opposition occurs, to respond to it from the right hand of God, not on earth where it is occurring.
The above passage of Scripture has great relevance for me in another area of my life right now. The recent blood work at staff conference revealed an elevated P.SA. At the end of the month, I will have a biopsy to determine if I have prostrate cancer. Perhaps I am in the early stages of a trial that will help me understand and apply further my identification with Christ. How well do I believe that I am a corpse and my life is hidden with Christ in God? If this trial deepens, will I, at each stage recognize that no harm can be done to a corpse? Will I seek the things that are in heaven? Will I know that I am supremely safe and secure with Christ at the right hand of God, no matter what happens to me physically?
Ninety-nine percent of the battle when opposition occurs or when any type of difficulty or trial occurs is fought on the battlefield of our mind. If we win there, no matter what the outcome, we have won. We, at least, have used it as an occasion to glorify Christ. We have shown what it means to be serious about following Christ. We have lived in the full reality of all we are in Christ. May we, especially as Village Missionaries, do so!