But the Lord stood with me and strengthened me.
— II Timothy 4:17 NKJV
When the Apostle Paul was in the city of Ephesus Alexander the coppersmith had caused him a lot of trouble. Paul had been trying to preach the gospel to the Ephesians and Alexander had strongly opposed his message. When Paul made his defense against Alexander’s objections no one stood with him. He had to defend the gospel on his own. After Paul left Ephesus Timothy came there. Understandably, Paul felt the need to warn Timothy about Alexander.
Everyone who is a disciple of Jesus Christ has a role to play in the spread of the gospel. The role may not be that of evangelist or preacher like Paul and Timothy, but it will be a role that in some way helps to advance the spread of the gospel. Further, every disciple will also be given gifts of the Holy Spirit that will enable them to fulfill whatever role or roles they have. Given all this, no one should be surprised if they need to be warned from time to time just like Timothy.
No one should be surprised because every church member will, sooner or later, run into the Alexander the coppersmiths of the world. Given that every disciple has a role to play and the spiritual gifts necessary for the role, they can expect opposition from the enemy. Jesus Himself warned us about this. He said, “‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you” (John 15:20). Getting warnings like the warning Paul gave Timothy, then, is an understandable part of being a disciple of Jesus Christ.
As was the case for Paul, you may find yourself alone when Alexander comes to give you trouble. After all, spiritual opposition is difficult and many may want to avoid it at all costs. However, although you may have to stand alone, you are never really alone. The LORD is always standing with you. Jesus said, ‘”I am with you always, even to the end of the age'” (Matthew 28:20). The LORD will stand with you, like He did with Paul, and strengthen you in order to help you fulfill the role you have been called to do ? despite the opposition.
You may feel lonely today, but you are not really alone. Take a look to your side ? you will see the LORD standing there ready to help.
© 2016 by Bible League International