For the last few weeks, we've been drawing inspiration from the life of Nehemiah, an ordinary man whom God called to lead a massive building project: Rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem! The truth is, right now many of us are also trying to rebuild or renovate our lives. Maybe you're trying to renovate your marriage, your finances, or rebuild after struggling with an addiction. Have you been tempted to give up? Life renovations takes time and effort. In order to reach our God-given goals, we need to persevere through the hard times and fight to the finish.
THE CLOSER TO THE FINISH, THE HARDER YOUR ENEMY WILL FIGHT
When progress on Nehemiahs' massive project was going well, he faced a series of opposition (Nehemiah 6:1-15). It's understandable that when God's work goes down, opposition shows up! By the time Nehemiah's crew got the bolts and bars and doors in place, they had already persevered through some opposition from political and spiritual enemies. The truth is, the closer you get to the finish, the harder your enemy will fight. That's what happened as Nehemiah and God's people approached the end of their building project. But, as the Enemy fights, we know that God fights harder! If the enemy can't destroy you, he'll actually try to do two things along the way:
#1) THE ENEMY WILL TRY TO DISTRACT YOU
In chapter 6, Nehemiah's enemies called him down from the wall to meet him on the "Plain of Ono". They knew they couldn't keep him from pursuing his project, so instead, they tried to distract him. How many of you have heard an "Oh no!" voice in your life? What did you do? While Nehemiah recognized that his enemies were scheming to harm him, he knew God's purpose for him was to stay focused and continue on to pursue his calling.
So, the next time the enemy cries out to you, say "No!" to distractions. Say "No! I ain't coming down!" with all the heart, passion, and courage you can muster! To refuse distraction by our spiritual Enemy's schemes, you may have to say no a lot. So, remember your purpose and keep fighting to the finish.
#2) THE ENEMY WILL TRY TO DISCREDIT YOU
Next, if our spiritual enemy the devil can't distract you, he'll try to discredit you. Nehemiah is one of the most selfless, servant leaders in the Bible - but in Nehemiah 6:5-9, he gets slandered by his opponents. Sanballat's servants came to Nehemiah to share a rumor that Nehemiah was trying to plan a rebellion. Likewise, the more you do for God, the more people will question your motives, gossip about you, and spread crazy rumors.
Nehemiah didn't let his enemy's attempts to discredit him stop him. Instead, verse 9 says he prayed "Now strengthen my hands." Following Nehemiah's footsteps, don't let someone else's opinion of you disrupt God's calling on your life.
FIGHT TO THE FINISH
Instead of bending to the Enemy's attempts to discredit him, Nehemiah developed a spine of steel and continued with courage and conviction. He doesn't get distracted from his work, and he stayed strong in his convictions and calling in the Lord. God strengthened Nehemiah to finish the walls of Jerusalem in just 52 days, which is amazing! Wherever you are on your own journey to renovate your life, we pray you'll be encouraged to persevere. To fight to the finish. Remember: God hasn't saved you from Hell to live a polite life. He hasn't saved you to live a powerless live. God saved you to partner with His son Jesus to fix a broken world in His name!