But I will tarry in Ephesus until Pentecost. For a great and effective door has opened to me, and there are many adversaries. —1 Corinthians 16:9
Today’s devotional has Paul pairing ministry and adversity almost as casually as though one is never found without the other. That’s because one is never found without the other! I have to say, though, I have encountered far too many Christians over the years who have said that the reason they did certain things was that they “had a peace about it.” My standard reply to that is always “Peace is not a fleece.” The peace that the Bible promises is a peace experienced during adversity, not in the absence of it.
Paul reminds us here in 1 Corinthians 16 that open doors are always opposed. Failure to understand this has stifled more Christian progress than any other tactic of the enemy. Too many Christians want everything to be perfect, with no ripples in the water and a peace in their hearts (meaning they feel good about it), before they will walk through a door of opportunity. But the fact is, we are going to encounter adversity anytime God is guiding us into what He wants us to do and where He wants us to go. So there must be more to moving forward with Him than just having peace about a decision or a direction. Great and effective doors of opportunity provoke many adversaries. Rather than using “I feel good about this and have peace” as a guiding principle, the more suitable litmus test is “Can any amount of opposition keep me from doing what God has put in my heart?” If the absence of adversity is your litmus test or having peace is your guide, it is very unlikely that the door you are considering walking through is either great or effective. When a Christian tells me, “I am not sure what to do. Things keep popping up, and a million things seem to be standing in the way,” I know that person is likely standing on the threshold of a great and effective door. Even in the midst of all the adversity, a quiet knowing resides inside of them, assuring them that this is the will of God.
That is what a friend of mine calls “stupid peace.” It just doesn’t make any sense to others around you, but you have it nonetheless. That is the peace that passes understanding, and no amount of adversity can take it away. Great and effective doors are often identified by adversity—not by feeling peace!
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