"Salvation" is only gibberish to the wicked because they've never looked it up in your dictionary. Your mercies, God, run into the billions; following your guidelines, revive me. My antagonists are too many to count, but I don't swerve from the directions you gave.
(Psalm 119:155-157 The Message)
In nursing, there are certain medications administered for the very purpose of acting as "antagonists" to some other medication in the body. The purpose is to "bind" something of harm to your body, such as too much narcotic, an over-abundance of a particular electrolyte, or a blood-level of medication that is harmful at a particularly high level. The antagonistic effect of the medication actually ends up saving your life!
Sometimes we view people and things in our lives who function as "antagonists" in a very negative sense. I challenge you this morning to consider if perhaps the "challenging" thing or person is functioning as an antagonist in order to produce something that will actually "save" your life! As you examine these "challenging" people or things, you may actually find their "influence" to seem a little uncomfortable at the moment, but in the end, the outcome may be quite positive.
Let me illustrate. A person may take too much of a narcotic pain killer, causing them to have suppressed respiratory status and slowed heart rate. The effect of the pain medication actually threatens your life. If I give a medication to bind the effects of these medications in your system, I am causing the "sense" of pain to return, but I am bringing back equilibrium to your respiratory and cardiac status. Now, which would you say was the most important? Breathing and heart beating soundly, or pain control? As a nurse, I would say we could deal with the pain in another way, using less sedating medications, but we have a whole set of new issues when you stop breathing!
Usually we think of an antagonist as someone struggling "against" another - almost competing for something the other has or enjoys. We could say chaos is the antagonist of peace; hatred is the antagonist of love; and so on. Remember, I told you the effect of the antagonist is to "bind" - one in competition with another is really in a place of attempting to "bind" us in order to keep us from being successful.
If we begin to view the antagonist in our lives as possibly driving us back to the things which really matter (like breath and heartbeat to the over-sedated), we might view them a little differently! When faced with someone acting as an "antagonist" in my life (an opponent), I allow their opposition to bring out the stuff that needs to be "bound up" and removed! In relying upon God to "filter" out the stuff which brings me harm (like anger, frustration, gossip, etc.), I am actually coming away from that opposition in a much "healthier" condition spiritually, emotionally, and sometimes even physically!
We may feel like our antagonists "run into the millions" - - don't lose hope - - God's mercies "run into the BILLIONS"! In fact, we cannot even count them! So, although we may not WANT the antagonist, trust the one who oversees the use of the antagonist in our lives - - GOD! He is skillfully placing exactly what we need to "bind up" what does not belong! Gotta love it!