Jesus said: I am the vine, you are the branches (John 15:5); and we know that fruits don’t grow on the vine but on the branches. So it is with us today; the fruit of the Spirit is borne by you and I who are the branches of Christ. No one can see the Spirit but they can only see His presence in the fruit that He produces through and in us.
But as we continue to live and bring the atmosphere of heaven to bear on earth, it is important to know that the world will be hostile against us most of the time. Jesus said that though we are in the world but we do not belong to the world and that the world likes darkness instead of light (See John 3:19-20, 15:19). So when we begin to manifest heaven on earth, darkness will want to oppose us and to stand against us.
But what are we supposed to do when they oppose us and push us to act contrary to the culture and lifestyle of heaven that we represent? The answer is WE CAN CHOOSE HOW WE RESPOND. This is why the Scripture says in 1 Cor 10:13 that “No temptation has taken you but such as is common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted above what you are able, but with the temptation make a way of escape that you may be able to endure it”.
So no matter what happens to you with people, and circumstances:
First, you always have a choice as to how you will respond. To the believer, the Bible says sin does not have dominion over us because we are under grace and not under the law. So in grace, we can choose whether to give in to a provocation or temptation or to sin. The choice is ours. We are not under the power of sin to fall for temptations (See Romans 6:14)
Secondly, God always provides a fruit of the Spirit to enable you to overcome. For every temptation that comes there is a corresponding fruit of the Spirit to overcome it. That means we are to constantly look inwards to the working of the Spirit to know the card to draw that matches the need at hand. So it is not about others, it is about you and how you show up, how you respond.
So here are some do’s and don’ts that will help in dealing with external opposition
– Don’t react, blame, justify, pay back–this is what the world does. (Eph 4:27)
– Look for the wisdom-the fruit of the Spirit that matches that situation (Luke 21:15)
– Consciously work at overcoming evil with good. “Be not overcome with evil but overcome evil with good” (Rom 12:21)
– Follow the way of love. Jesus says for us to love our enemies, bless them that curse us, do good to them that hate us, and pray for them that disrespectfully use us. In doing this, we may be children of our Father which is in heaven. (See Matt 5:44-45)
– Don’t let the devil steal your identity–you are a child of God so always act like one. And
– Follow in the steps of Christ, and this means copying His example, obeying his commands. (See John 14:21-23 and 21:21-22)
Jesus modeled heaven’s lifestyle for us, so we are to consider Him, ponder His paths as recorded in the Scripture and by doing that, His nature that is formed in us in the new birth will grow until we become fully matured and perfected like Him, lacking nothing.