When God calls us to something, we should expect difficulties and opposition. Not everyone will understand our actions or motivations. Some people might even misjudge us or actively fight against us. The question is, how will we respond? Will we shrink back? Lash out in anger and frustration, or diligently, confidently forge ahead?
In short, when obedience feels challenging, whose voice will we give preeminence? Those of our naysayers or our own insecurities? Or will we give our Savior the authority He deserves?
Years ago, I served in an area for which I was unqualified and ill-prepared. Having received zero training, I wanted to learn to lead well. To glean from other female leaders who had perhaps encountered similar challenges and understood all the relational dynamics involved with leading women. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find that in the church I attended at the time, so I began reaching out to others in my community. Within a week, I’d gathered eight Christ-led, wise women of grace excited to share their insights and also to learn from others. Basically, to join a mission-minded group of ladies.
Filled with joy, I began envisioning what our meetings might look like. We could discuss highlights from ministry-related articles and books, pray for one another, and share ideas. We could learn from one another’s successes and failures and together, impact our community for Christ.
My excitement quickly deflated, however, when one of the pastors I served under called me in to his office. His facial expression, body language, and tone made it clear—he was not a fan of my endeavors. I sensed, in fact, that my actions raised suspicion, as if this small group of women were in some way acting with subterfuge.
Hurt and confused, I said I would quietly let this group I’d launched die and determined to do my best to honor my role with my limited training and experience. But my heart continued to ache for deep, ministry-related connections with other Christ-focused women. And I was saddened to know how close such a group had come to taking form.
My soul felt burdened to pursue the call God had given me, but the doors in front of me felt perpetually closed.
One afternoon, I shared my frustrations with my husband.
He shook his head and said, “Don’t let anyone stop you from doing what you know is right.”
I contemplated his statement for some time, struggling to determine my next best, most God-honoring step. Did He want me to initiate change in my current environment? Was He calling me to seek support elsewhere?
I prayed over that situation, over the need, the hole God made increasingly apparent, for over a year, until I knew with certainty, He was calling me to act. The following week, Wholly Loved Ministries was born, a place where women from diverse denominations can grow in their gifting and their relationship with Christ. That small group of women who gathered together in a local coffee shop to dream of all the lives God might change, through our first timid yet obedient steps, has now grown to a team of 30 speaking life across the globe.
All by God’s grace, and in part, because we refused to allow opposition to dictate our actions.
Perhaps you’ve experienced a similar situation—an invitation to act that left others confused or even angered. And maybe in the moment, compliance felt easier, safer. Certainly less confrontational. But if we want to live for Christ and fully embrace all God’s called us to, we cannot be swayed by other people’s hostility.
Consider the example Jesus provided in Matthew 12:9-14. He’d recently made some pretty big claims: That He was the Son of God who knew God intimately and always did as God desired. (John 5:16-21.) That He possessed the same life-giving power as God the Father. And that He was Lord of the Sabbath. Then He performed miracles to validate His claims.
About this time, the Bible says Jesus went over to the Pharisee’s synagogue. While there, He noticed a man with a deformed hand. Seeking a way to trick Christ, the Pharisees asked, “Does the law permit a person to work by healing on the Sabbath” (Matthew 12:10, NLT).
They saw this individual as an opportunity for entrapment. But Jesus saw the man’s wounded heart, his need, and was moved by deep compassion. Though He knew His actions would lead to increased opposition, He chose to advance God’s light. He told the man to stretch out his hand. When he obeyed, Scripture says “it was restored, just like the other one” (Matthew 12:13, NLT).
Can you imagine the man’s joy? This was cause for celebration. He had been touched by the light of Christ. But the religious leaders were not impressed. Instead they “called a meeting to plot how to kill Jesus” (Matthew 12:14, NLT).
And yet again, Jesus remained focused on His mission and, leaving the area, continued healing and teaching.
He didn’t let spiritual resistance keep Him from the synagogue or hinder His decision to heal. Nor did He try to fight against it, at least, not as we might expect. Instead, He kept moving forward, kept spreading the light, wherever He went and to whomever would receive it.
His faithful, steady actions provide a model for us. When darkness hits, and it will, we can falter in fear, lash out in anger, or faithfully advance God’s light.
In what way is God calling you to advance His light this week? In what way has darkness threatened to halt your steps? What is one truth that will help you move forward in confidence and victory?
Speaking of embracing our calling, if you haven’t already done so, I encourage you to listen to Faith Over Fear episode: The Courage to Pursue Our Calling.
The Courage to Take a Risk for Friendship – Ep. 50 – Faith Over Fear
And there’s still time to sign up for Wholly Loved’s Beautiful Mess Mother Daughter Conference. Find out more HERE.
For those following our chronological New Testament Bible reading plan, today’s post kicks us off with the first suggested passage.