God can use opposition for his purposes

In John 15:26-27 (ESV) Jesus said: “when the Helper comes [i.e. the Holy Spirit]… he will bear witness about me. And you also will bear witness, because you have been with me from the beginning.”

Jesus specifically says that in the context of hatred and persecution, the Holy Spirit will ‘bear witness’ (meaning, ‘speak the truth’) about Jesus. The message and mission will continue forward, despite the opposition.

The disciples will also do this. They were with Jesus ‘from the beginning,’ he says. They had a special status as earthly eyewitnesses to what he had said and done.

Today, we don’t have those same credentials; however, we are also used by the Holy Spirit to speak the truth about Jesus to help advance his message and mission. 

In Luke 12:11-12 the disciples are even told that when they are brought before authorities—again, in a context of persecution—the Holy Spirit will help them know what to say!

In moments of pain and pressure, the Spirit prevails for God’s purposes. 

I was recently listening to a podcast about how those of us in North American can learn from the suffering of the church in China which has, in many ways, had to function underground. 

Since the 1970s, the church in China has grown sixty-fold. Sixty-fold! All of this has occurred in the face of hatred and opposition. 

I find this inspiring. And although we are in a different situation in North America, we can’t miss the fact that life will get harder for Jesus’ people. But fear not—God is not thwarted. In fact, God’s people are often strengthened by persecution, not weakened.

Brothers and sisters, there are blood sweat and tears leading up to the gates of heaven, but no further.

Believe with confidence. Love boldly. Take risks for faith. Stand firm. Don’t be afraid to stand out.

Discipleship can be difficult. But the Spirit prevails. And one day in heaven, you will rest under the righteous smile of God wearing the crown of life!

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