Has God called you to an important assignment? A big task to complete? Are you on a mission for the body of Christ? Is God counting on you to finish a significant project for the Kingdom? And if so, have you found yourself dealing with distractions? Have you been confronted with opposition? Been mocked and ridiculed? Falsely accused? Has a spirit of fear tried to intimidate you, hold you back from realizing your goals, and even entirely derail you from your God-given mission?
To one degree or another, and at various times throughout your Christian life, the answer to each of these questions is likely to be “yes.” Regardless of whether you’re in school or in the workforce; whether your job is secular or in the Kingdom; whether your family is saved or yet to be; whether your friends, neighbors, classmates, or coworkers are walking with the Lord or running with the devil; you are certain to encounter resistance if you are obedient to be used of God in a meaningful way. The fact is the enemy can use anyone, even Christian brothers and sisters, to bring discouragement and attempt to move you off what you are called to do. Satan will never quit trying to keep you from finishing what God would have you do.
So how should we respond to the enemy’s plots, plans, and schemes against us when we’re working on something big for the Lord? I like the biblical guidance provided in the book of Nehemiah. You may recall that after the Jews came out of their Babylonian exile and the temple was restored, Nehemiah was commissioned by God to rebuild the walls of the Holy City. Sanballat, a Samaritan official, was angered when he learned of Nehemiah’s intention to help the people of Israel, and recruited the help of Tobiah, a Palestinian official, the Arabs, and other enemies of the Jews to come against the project repeatedly and in multiple ways.
Sanballat and associates ridiculed the quality of the work being performed by Nehemiah and his crew, mocked the Jewish people, accused them of rebelling against the king, conspired to fight against them, threatened to kill them, and so on … but through it all, Nehemiah prayed to God, asked God to remember him, trusted Him always, encouraged his people to rely on God in order to finish their work successfully, and never lost sight of his objective.
Nehemiah remained focused on accomplishing what God had called him to do in the face of any and all distractions. No matter the form or intensity of the persecution, Nehemiah remained constant and would not fall prey to any of the enemy’s plots against him. A classic response to an attempt to ambush Nehemiah is found in chapter 6, verse 3, where Sanballat sent a message asking him to “come, let us meet together” down in the nearby plain. Discerning Sanballat’s intention to do him harm, Nehemiah sent a return message saying, “I am doing a great work and I cannot come down. Why should the work stop while I leave it and come down to you?” (NASB).
This is exactly how we need to respond to the enemy, no matter how he attempts to thwart our progress, distract us from our goals, take us out of our calling, or keep us from realizing the completion of the important work God has called us to. Don’t fall into the trap! Stay in faith and stay in prayer. Trust the Lord always. And never stoop to the level of the enemy. He’s under our feet. Simply tell him, “I am doing a great work, and I can’t come down there!”
Marc Loomis is a staff member of Lord of Hosts Church.