Resistance takes many forms such as that from the political realm when people resist policies or legislation or even standing in resistance against nominees. We can also see resistance within crime when individuals resist arrest. However, in the realm of biblical Christianity there’s another type of resistance we need to address. In this case it’s a kind of resistance that knows how to resist the world while following Christ.
Joining Jim to look at this issue was James Spencer. James is the president of D.L. Moody Center, an independent non-profit organization inspired by the life and ministry of Dwight Moody. He’s author of the book: Christian Resistance: Learning to Defy the World and Follow Christ.
The challenge for Christians is this: How do we go about navigating the expectations and social conventions that we experience as those things attempt to shape and form us into something other than Christ? At some point we need to begin resisting those things because our goal is to be conformed to the image of Christ.
To begin, James defined the term, “resistance.” At one time he was a personal trainer so he used to work people out with resistance in the form of weights. He explained how those weights are the pressure that you push or pull. This is a positive kind of resistance because as you resist, your muscles break down and eventually become stronger.
The other kind of resistance he was thinking of as he wrote his book was that of a dam. On one side you have what appears to be tranquil water that is sitting against a huge concrete wall. Because the water is tranquil you can be fooled into thinking there’s no great pressure when in fact that concrete wall provides a great deal of resistance to keep the water in place.
He noted that this is a great way to think of Christian resistance. It isn’t that we’re trying to fight back against something. Instead, our resistance helps keep a clear separation and a strong boundary for ourselves so that certain things don’t get into our lives and others stay in their proper place.
What about the times when we resist against God and give into Satan’s devices? Why is it so natural to resist God in this way when we should be doing just the opposite?
James explained that most of the time when we resist, we follow the pattern from Genesis 3 where what’s really going on between the serpent and Eve is him convincing her that God is not sovereign, wise and benevolent. He’s trying to convince Eve that God is holding her and Adam back, that the world around them may appear to be ordered, but it’s not the height of order that would exist if humans were in charge. So Eve was being taught to question God’s ways and ignore His wisdom. The root of our resistance comes about in the same way because we don’t always experience God nor trust Him as sovereign, wise and benevolent. So if we don’t trust Him, there’s no reason for us to obey Him and follow after His ways.
As this program continued, James looked at other factors that are part of the resistance equation such as:
- Distractions—Those things that can cause us to make Jesus a background issue.
- Knowing the Scriptures and how that plays out in terms of resistance.
- Resistance and the “me” factor.