Acts 7:51 “Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye.”
Resistance is a two-edged sword that can be both good and evil.
When pressed in our spirit to follow after our flesh, resistance to that which would draw us into bondage is a good thing. But, to resist the conviction of the Holy Spirit to bring about confession and repentance is a bad thing.
As I read this today, I came under conviction for the times I have knowingly resisted the Holy Spirit’s leading. But to hear Stephen’s sharp rebuke:
“…ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye.”
I had to ask, “Have I always resisted you, Holy Spirit?”
I knowingly yielded when convicted of my lost condition, my need of a Savior, and humbly bowed and received forgiveness through Jesus Christ and was gloriously saved. So, there was at least one time!
But through these almost 30 years of being a child of God, I have known both sides of resistance. God reminds me that first and most personal is my obedience to the indwelling Holy Spirit, who lives inside me. To resist Him is to thumb my nose and God and walk away, wanting only my selfish wants and desires.
God places authority in my life for me to understand His hierarchy and purpose.
Romans 13:1-2 “Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation.”
Resistance to the higher powers in my life will not end well, according to God. I have adopted a principle that I will not submit to any authority that would require I deny my faith and belief in God. But, in all other cases, I will submit as God tells me I ought.
Every child of God should join themselves to a local, New Testament church, led and confirmed by the Holy Spirit. We have been gifts and talents that are to be used in the body of Christ. Specifically to glorify Him, edify the body, for the perfecting of the saints, and the work of the ministry.
Ephesians 4:11-12 “And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:”
When we resist our pastor or the leadership of our church, we are resisting the power God ordained for us to follow. In this day and age of information, we have at the ready, ammunition given us to accuse our authority the moment they misstep or make a mistake.
We expect perfection from those in leadership, yet, want mercy and forgiveness in abundance when we fail at lesser things. Lack of resistance or restraint, causes us to accuse quickly, but forgive slowly. We exhaust our energy in making known other’s failures, not taking into consideration our own.
We must spend that energy on resisting the sin in our own life.
Hebrews 12:4 “Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin.”
Have we truly spent ourselves in the resisting of sin in our own life before we start to look at others? Mom always taught us:
“People in glass houses should not throw stones.”
Meaning, I should consider my own ‘house’ before I think about accusing another.
There is also a good and right resistance that we should practice.
James 4:7 “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”
Our God is a God of order.
First He says, “Submit yourselves therefore to God.”
Then, I am to resist the devil.
When I follow God’s recipe, the devil must flee. But, if I don’t submit, Satan is not obligated to do his part. When you and I fulfill our part, we can, by faith, know that God will do His.
Pride is a hideous sin.
It is a subtle and most effective weapon of our enemy. Satan himself was lifted up in pride when he desired to be like God and worshipped as God. So, his tool of pride is often an effective device he uses to get us to resist God.
Often, we cannot detect pride until we see its fruit.
Pride is present when I find God resists me.
James 4:6 “But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.”
Pride is present when I am in contention with others.
Proverbs 13:10 “Only by pride cometh contention: but with the well advised is wisdom.”
When I fail to submit to the authority over me or respect those elders in my life, pride is present.
1 Peter 5:5 “Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.”
Finally, resisting the devil and all he throws at us is paramount.
1 Peter 5:8-9 “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.”
Being ever-watchful of the devices Satan uses to trip us, trick us, and deceive us into resisting God and His will for our life, we then must follow God’s prescribed plan for us to succeed.
Resistance is a tool to be used as God would have us. May we pray to never be found on the wrong side.