Facing Opposition 1 – With Logic Through Calmness
Updated: Jan 24, 2020
Chan Gin Kai
Jesus was driving out a demon that was mute. When the demon left, the man who had been mute spoke, and the crowd was amazed. But some of them said, “By Beelzebul, the prince of demons, he is driving out demons.” Others tested him by asking for a sign from heaven. (Luke 11:14-16)
Opposition. It is annoying at best, and detrimental at worst. Sometimes, we brush them aside and find strength to persevere on. Sometimes, we get discouraged by them, and feel tempted to give up. Sometimes, we may even have to confront them, and be prepared for a tougher battle.
We’ve all faced them before. We try to do our altruistic best, and cynics doubt our motives. We gather up courage to dream again, and naysayers pour cold water. We labour hard to serve God and man, and cynics attack our work.
But that is reality. Just because what we do is good and right doesn’t mean we’ll have people queuing up to thank us. On the contrary, there will be antagonists, and even persecution.
That’s what Jesus faced too, all the time!
He exorcised a demon from a man, healing him of his muteness, and he faced opposition. Yes, there were those who were amazed; but a critical group accused him of tapping power from the devil, and a sceptical group wanted to see more miracles before they would believe.
Jesus knew their thoughts and said to them: “Any kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and a house divided against itself will fall. If Satan is divided against himself, how can his kingdom stand? I say this because you claim that I drive out demons by Beelzebul. Now if I drive out demons by Beelzebul, by whom do your followers drive them out? So then, they will be your judges.” (Luke 11:17-19)
I would have lost my cool if this accusation happened to me. “What kind of ridiculous contradiction is that? I cast out demons and you accuse me of being in cahoots with the devil?” That’s how we’ll feel... the more unfounded and ridiculous the accusations, the bigger our tendency to get upset.
The fact is, the more unfounded and ridiculous the accusation, the easier it is for us to prove them illogical. But that’ll take a cool mind, not one that is angry, hurt or discouraged.
Jesus was as cool as a cucumber. He maintained his calm, and that gave him advantages. Because he didn’t get agitated or emotional, he “knew their thoughts” and saw their ploy. If we can stay collected under confrontations, it becomes easier to deduce the motives of our adversaries and read their angle of attack.
Jesus showed his enemies (and the public) how stupid their accusations were through a simple logic – Why would Satan give him power to drive out demons? Satan is evil, but he certainly isn’t dumb. He wouldn’t be “divided against himself” and destroy his own kingdom.
Jesus then cleverly turned the question around by asking by what power their exorcists drive out demons. Why don’t they question the exorcists from their camp? Why the double standards? He exposed his enemies’ motives to those who were around.
“But if I drive out demons by the finger of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you. When a strong man, fully armed, guards his own house, his possessions are safe. But when someone stronger attacks and overpowers him, he takes away the armor in which the man trusted and divides up his plunder. Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters.” (Luke 11:20-23)
Jesus didn’t just competently rebut their accusation and made them look stupid, he swung the momentum of their attack into a testimony of his strength.
Jesus went on to describe how Satan, like a “strong man, fully armed”, guards what belongs to him, but how he (Jesus), the “someone stronger” will overcome Satan. He had already shown how he had won Satan by casting out the demon. He would later have a bigger victory when he conquered death through the cross. And there will be victory in the final battle with Satan too.
Jesus presented a choice to all of his hearers, do they want to choose the “strong man” Satan, or “someone stronger”, Jesus? In the conflict between light and darkness, there is no neutral ground. Jesus said, “Whoever is not with me is against me”. Are you for or against Jesus?
In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted. (2 Timothy 3:12)
Persecution is guaranteed, but our final victory is assured. When we draw courage from God’s power, trusting in His strength to deliver us, we can learn to face opposition with logic through calmness.
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Chan Gin Kai
Gin Kai is a film producer who believes in the power of media to inspire positive changes. He has spearheaded disaster relief and capacity building projects in impoverished communities across Asia. In church, he serves as a mentor to young professionals in the EDGE Ministry. He describes himself as "just a sinner who wants to get right with God". Gin Kai joined the Central Christian Church in 1988.