“But when the Jews saw the multitudes, they were filled with envy, and spake against those things which were spoken by Paul, contradicting and blaspheming.”
You would think the growth of Christianity would have brought joy to the hearts of many, but as can be seen in the verse above, this was not the case. The Jews saw the influence of their religion being threatened by the early church, and they knew that the multitudes who came to hear Paul would be converted because what he spoke was the truth. It was the growth of the church and Paul’s influence that brought opposition to his ministry and the church.
You will find many will be for you when you first start a ministry. The reason so many are for you is because you are not a threat to them. You will find that when you start a smaller ministry that many won’t think you can do anything, so their support of your ministry is a mere condescending, “God bless you.” I am not saying that everyone is like this, but I am saying that there will be many who won’t be whole-heartedly behind what you are doing. You mustn’t let the thoughts of others stop you from doing what you know the LORD wants you to do.
However, you are going to find that when you begin to grow that opposition will begin to arise. Those who once praised you when you started will suddenly begin to criticize and become skeptics of what the LORD is doing through you. Growth is a funny thing in that some will jump on board because they want to be a part of the next “big” thing, and others will become skeptics and opponents to your ministry. In either case, growth has opposition that you will have to overcome. Let me point out a few things from the verse above that you must beware of when you experience growth.
First, jealousy will set in by those who are not growing. Misery loves misery, and failure loves failure; however, failure doesn’t like to see success. You will find that many who called themselves friends will become jealous of you when growth begins because they are not seeing the same growth.
Second, adversaries will arise. Just like people spake against Paul, you will find people will begin to work against you. My friend, you can’t expect growth to be easy. You will have to get a thick skin and ignore the adversaries and their whisperings about you. Everyone is not going to like that you are growing, and you will gain adversaries by merely succeeding in the LORD’s work.
Third, obstacles will arise. Growth always presents obstacles that stagnation never presented. You can either let the obstacles become an opportunity for God to show His strength, or you can let the obstacles become your quitting point and plateau at your present position. You will never be happy if you let obstacles stop you. If obstacles stop you, you will always wonder what could have been if you would have continued.
Fourth, attacks will come. Nobody said that growth would be easy. People will say mean and untrue things about you, but you must silence your ears to the negative attacks and keep on reaching the lost for Christ. Never let attacks sidetrack you from what you are supposed to be doing.
My friend, you can’t let these things stop you because the cause is too great. Souls are at risk of an eternity in Hell. Let me encourage you not to let growth’s opposition to stop you.