Darkness tried to prevail against the Early Church but could not. John 1:5 makes it absolutely clear that darkness does not have the ability to suppress or to hold the light under its domain. Darkness may try to prevent the light from shining, but it never holds back the light permanently. Eventually it always comes shining through.
This is true of you and your dream, vision, or calling as well. You may feel hindered from time to time in your attempts to fulfill the call God gave you, but don’t despair. Those hindrances won’t last long. The only way the devil can steal your dream, vision, or calling is if you surrender to him first! If you hold on and refuse to give up, your faith will overcome every encumbrance the devil tries to set in your path!
SATAN TRIED TO HINDER THE APOSTLE PAUL
In First Thessalonians 2:18, Paul gives his own testimony of how Satan tried to hinder him from doing what God put in his heart. He wrote, “Wherefore we would have come unto you, even I Paul, once and again; but Satan hindered us.”
The word “hindered” is the Greek word egkopto. This word was used to describe the breaking up of a road to make it impassable for travelers. This kind of impasse made it impossible for a traveler to get where he needed to go. As a result, the traveler’s trip was hindered. It was delayed, postponed, or temporarily put off. The traveler could still take another route to get to the same destination, but the alternate route was inconvenient, cost a lot of extra money, and took precious time that could have been used another way.
By using this word, Paul informs us that demonic attacks inconvenienced him on occasion. Satan craftily sought to abort advances of the Gospel by arranging unexpected problems that delayed, postponed, and hindered the missions in Paul’s heart. But did Paul sit down and cry because plans didn’t work out as he intended? Did he throw in the towel and quit? No!
The apostle Paul never stopped just because the devil tried to get in his way! No impasse or roadblock was going to stop him! He refused to take “no” for an answer. He was going to get the job done, regardless of the inconvenience, money, time, or effort involved. He was so resolute about doing what he was called to do that he always found a way to do it.
An example of this is the time Paul left the city of Ephesus because his life was in danger (Acts 19). It could have been a devastating situation.
Paul had given three years of his life to the believers in Ephesus. When he left, he could have cried, “Oh, I don’t understand why the Lord let this happen! He knows how much I love the leadership of Ephesus!” Paul could have bemoaned, “Now I’ll never see the Ephesian believers again. The devil has attacked me, and the door to Ephesus is permanently closed for me!”
But Paul understood that crying and lamenting doesn’t change a thing. So instead, he went down the road to the seaside town of Miletus and rented a large facility. Then he called for the elders of Ephesus to meet him there (Acts 20:17)!
Paul figured if he couldn’t go to Ephesus, why not invite the leadership to come see him? Why resign himself to defeat just because he’d hit an impasse in the road? Paul knew there’s more than one way to accomplish a goal. So he put his brain to work and found a way to do what God wanted him to do.
We must be determined to keep doing what we’re called to do even if the devil tries to slam the door shut in our faces.
Why should we stop just because the devil gets in the way? If that were the case, we might as well stop everything we’re doing for the Lord right now! There will never be a time that the enemy just lets us do what’s in our hearts. We must be determined to keep doing what we’re called to do even if the devil tries to slam the door shut in our faces.
So what if Satan shut the door to Ephesus? That was a good time for Paul to look for an open window! If he couldn’t go to the elders, why not call them to him?
Paul discovered an open window in Miletus. He called for the leaders, met with them, and finished his assignment, exactly as God had ordered him to do. Mission accomplished!
You see, Paul had a “bulldog” attitude that refused to give up. It didn’t matter how much opposition was leveled against him, he had already decided he would outlive the opposition. Somehow he’d find a way to do what God had called him to do.