To prevent Nehemiah from rebuilding Jerusalem’s walls, his enemies spread rumours about him. ‘It is reported among the nations, and Geshem says, that you and the Jews plan to rebel; therefore, according to these rumours, you are rebuilding the wall, that you may be their king’ (v. 6 NKJV). We can’t control what people think, or stop them saying it, but we can control our response. Nehemiah did: ‘I sent messengers to them, saying, “I am doing a great work, so that I cannot come down. Why should the work cease while I leave it and go down to you?” But they sent me this message four times, and I answered them in the same manner’ (vv. 3-4 NKJV). This story teaches us three important principles when we’re following God’s will: 1) Refuse to give more attention to a critic than you would to a friend. The people who mattered to Nehemiah were the ones who were for him rather than those against him. So instead of trying to change minds, he changed gears and moved forwards. 2) Realise that with opportunity comes opposition. Paul wrote, ‘There is a wide-open door for a great work here, although many oppose me’ (1 Corinthians 16:9 NLT). Opposition can sometimes be a sign that you’re heading in the right direction; if you weren’t succeeding, they wouldn’t even notice you. 3) Remember that it’s the big battles that produce the big victories. Satan won’t give up because you’ve decided to do God’s will; he’ll fight you every step of the way. But ‘greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world’ (1 John 4:4 KJV). Keep following God, draw on His strength, and refuse to let the opinions of others pull you off His path.