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Affluent Christian Investor | September 20, 2017

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Your Purpose Enemies

Christ in the Wilderness (Painted by Ivan Nikolaevich Kramskoi) (1872) {{PD-US}}

Christ in the Wilderness
(Painted by Ivan Nikolaevich Kramskoi) (1872) {{PD-US}}

I returned from Kenya last Friday. It was a quick trip of only eight days, but it was highly productive as you can read from my report, complete with pictures. For now, I want to continue our purpose profile of Nehemiah to see what you can learn to help you in your PurposeQuest

Nehemiah faced a lot of opposition as soon as he began to rebuild Jerusalem, and that is the fourth point we can learn from Nehemiah’s PurposeQuest: You will always face opposition when you seek to fulfill your purpose – some of it from without, some from within.

When Sanballat heard that we were rebuilding the wall, he became angry and was greatly incensed. He ridiculed the Jews, and in the presence of his associates and the army of Samaria, he said, “What are those feeble Jews doing? Will they restore their wall? Will they offer sacrifices? Will they finish in a day? Can they bring the stones back to life from those heaps of rubble-burned as they are?” Tobiah the Ammonite, who was at his side, said, “What they are building-if even a fox climbed up on it, he would break down their wall of stones!” (Nehemiah 4:1-3).

That’s how it is with people of purpose: your enemies don’t show up until you get serious about doing God’s will. Nehemiah wasn’t the only one to face purposeful opposition. Joseph faced the enmity of his brothers when he shared his dreams with them. David incurred the wrath of Saul after David was anointed king. Daniel was a faithful public servant in Babylon, but then one day people conspired against him that ultimately sent him to the lions’ den.

And Jesus didn’t have an enemy in the world until He preached and healed on the Sabbath. After He did, there was a group of men dedicated to see Him die. Your enemies are actually a sign that you are doing something right, not that you are doing something wrong. The Apostle Paul was a devoted Jew who then preached that Jesus was the Messiah. After that, old friends and even family became his enemies, some devoted to his assassination.

Therefore, it’s important to remember that your opposition is not a sign that you are doing something wrong, but rather something right! So where is your greatest source of external opposition? Is it from family, friends or associates?  Identifying what you do that attracts the greatest opposition may give you a significant clue concerning your purpose.

Next week, we will talk about what attracts the most internal opposition from your own heart and mind, but for this week, just reflect on what you do that seems to rile people up the most. See if that can help you clarify your purpose and I’ll be back next week to continue the discussion. Have a blessed seven days until we are together again!


Originally posted on The Monday Memo.

John Stanko was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and attended Duquesne University where he received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in economics in 1972 and 1974 respectively.

Since then, John has served as an administrator, teacher, consultant, author, and pastor in his professional career. He holds a second master’s degree in pastoral ministries, and earned his Doctor of Ministry from Reformed Presbyterian Theological Seminary in Pittsburgh in 2011.

John founded a personal and leadership development company, called PurposeQuest, in 2001 and today travels the world to speak, consult and inspire leaders and people everywhere. From 2001-2008, he spent six months a year in Africa and still enjoys visiting and working on that continent, while teaching for Geneva College’s Masters of Organizational Leadership and the Center for Urban Biblical Ministry in his hometown of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Most recently, John founded Urban Press, a publishing service designed to tell stories of the city, from the city and to the city.


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