Three Keys to Dealing with Opposition

We are still in the beginning stages of studying the Book of Acts, but one thing is already certain: If you and I are going to do something great for God, it will attract opposition from the enemy.

We see this in Acts 3 after the healing of the lame man, the extraordinary event that saw a 40-year-old man who had not been able to work since birth miraculously receive strength in his legs. From that miracle, Acts 4:4 tells us that just out of the men, 5000 people came to faith. Naturally, opposition and tribulation immediately followed as Peter and John were arrested for preaching Jesus. Anything worth doing for God will attract resistance from the enemy.

The Other Side of Opportunities

In 1 Corinthians 16:9 (AMPC), Paul describes an amazing opportunity that had been opened to him to preach the gospel. But with that opportunity came something else: “For a wide door of opportunity for effectual [service] has opened to me [there, a great and promising one], and [there are] many adversaries.”

Paul recognized that with every opportunity, an adversarial spirit stood in the way of progress. But he also understood that through Christ, victory from every form of opposition was inevitable. Writing to his protégé in Timothy, he says, “my persecutions and sufferings that happened to me at Antioch, at Iconium, and at Lystra—which persecutions I endured; yet from them all the Lord rescued me.

In the Book of Acts, we have a powerful pattern outlined for us on how to deal with the adversarial spirits that stand in our way. Through this pattern, I want to give you three keys you can use to deal with the opposition you may be currently facing.

They Prioritize Prayer

After Peter and John are released from their arrest, the first thing they do is call a prayer meeting; “When they were released, they went to their friends and reported what the chief priests and the elders had said to them. And when they heard it, they lifted their voices to God and said, “Sovereign Lord, who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and everything in them” (Acts 4:23, 24 ESV).

The natural response of the disciples to opposition was not one of panic or paranoia, but prayer. Why were they so confident in the power of prayer to counter the hostility against them? Because they had seen Jesus do it! He prayed with confidence, authority and boldness, and His prayers were always answered.

We recently had the Superbowl, and it was a thrilling overtime win for the Kansas City Chiefs over the San Francisco 49ers. In the final moments, the 49ers attempted a Hail Mary play that was unsuccessful. In fact, according to, only 9.7% of Hail Mary attempts ever work out. Unfortunately, many people treat prayer like a Hail Mary play: “I know it’s a long shot, I know it probably won’t happen, I know You may not be listening, but here goes anyway…”

But the Bible teaches that prayer is the most powerful, effective force in the universe because it brings God’s unlimited power on the scene! It was so effective, that the religious leaders implored Peter and John not to do it in Acts 4:18; “So they called them and charged them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus.” If we are going to see victory in our situation, prayer be our natural response to the oppositions of life. (Pastor James had a great message on the power of prayer that you can see HERE.)

They Continued with Purpose

After praying, Acts 4:31 tells us what the disciples did next: “And when they had prayed, the place in which they were gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and continued to speak the word of God with boldness.” Notice they did not stop preaching, but continued on in their purpose.

One of the most effective attitudes we can have when we face hindrances is to simply continue. Satan hopes that the opposing forces will intimidate us enough to delay our obedience to the purpose God has given us. When we continue despite the opposition, it is an act of faith towards God, and an act of defiance against the enemy, that we trust in Jesus to deliver us.

They Received Boldness from His Presence

When I was a child, my mom could tell who I had been with based on how I acted when I came home. If I was acting belligerent and rude, she knew I had been playing soccer with Mark. If I was courteous and kind, then she guessed that I had spent the day at Oliver’s house. We end up emulating who we spend time with the most, for better or for worse (See 1 Corinthians 15:33). And one of the benefits of being in the presence of Jesus is that we begin to emulate Him.

As the elders and scribes tried to intimidate Peter and John, they recognized something about them that they had seen in their mentor, Jesus. Acts 4:13 says, “Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated, common men, they were astonished. And they recognized that they had been with Jesus.”

Notice that it was the boldness they exuded that betrayed their association with the presence of God. Similarly, when we counter the oppositions in our lives by spending time in God’s presence, boldness is the result.

Whatever opposition you may be facing today, prioritize prayer, continue with purpose and receive the boldness that comes from His presence. Then you will be able to say like King David, a man well acquainted with opposition: “Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the LORD delivers him out of them all” (Psalm 34:19 ESV).