The church of Jesus Christ has always resembled her King best when she was in a place, not of dominance, but of yielded weakness. Here are five ways hostility can be an advantage.
- Opposition reminds us what matters.
Believers often get caught up in fighting over tertiary issues. When there is opposition, tertiary issues are forced out, and believers awaken to the singular aim of gospel saturation.
- Opposition weeds out frauds.
The days are over where fish bumper stickers on corporate logos increase revenues. Authentic Christianity becomes costly when confronted with a cultural majority that has little appreciation for the principles we represent. Again, this isn’t all bad. Opposition assists in distinguishing between broad-sweeping evangelical labels to those who genuinely walk with Jesus in His mission. Over time, this will help our neighbors see past the murky religious smog and witness the magnificence of their Savior.
- Opposition raises prophetic voices.
Seasons of opposition tend to elevate new prophetic voices and usher God’s people into a new day. Hostility is likely to elevate godly voices to gain a missionally effective future. The dominant voices of the past who have perpetuated the spiritual status quo will have little compelling insight into the church’s future.
- Opposition enhances the need for genuine discipleship.
Often the term “discipleship” is confused with leadership development. We “disciple” people to care for kids, lead in music and facilitate small groups. We’re not actually helping people develop the disciplines and spiritual rhythms that will allow them to thrive outside the walls of the church. Opposition helps prioritize discipleship.
- Opposition unites believers.
We often find more organizational passion in our sacred distinctions than we do in fulfilling our shared mission. Competition with contending brands replaces our rivalry against darkness. But opposition has an effective way of deflating spiritual hubris. When we awaken to our mission and to the actuality of our true competition, we find estranged kingdom allies living in close proximity. And in this kingdom realignment, we discover the unity Christ intended. The world finally will see that we are His.
Jeff Christopherson is an author and chief missiologist at NAMB. Adapted from article originally published on ChristianityToday.com.
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Published June 18, 2019