When the people of God and the church have troubles, we often look on the outside to see what the stress, persecution and difficultly is. Yet we might be looking in the wrong place. As McGee said, our enemy can evil be right in the middle of who we are.
Nehemiah found this happening in chapter 5 of the book that has his name. We are making our way through a study of Nehemiah at The Community Fellowship, and the things we are learning are incredible. The walls were rebuilt in record time. The people who lived in depression, dissension and difficult times rallied together to. During the work trouble came up from within.
One way to deal with trouble is to understand what community is all about. Don't think geography when it comes to community. Think relationally. God put us together to help, serve, protect, lift and love each other. In the setting of Nehemiah these people were in deep need when God showed up. He taught the people to look at things differently.
Nehemiah5:8 nlt …"We are doing all we can to redeem our Jewish relatives who have had to sell themselves to pagan foreigners, but you are selling them back into slavery again."…
Luke 17:2 nlt --- It would be better to be thrown into the sea with a millstone hung around your neck than to cause one of these little ones to fall into sin.
Nehemiah pointed people to the clear truth of scripture, and he led them with convincing confidence. We need to do the same. They way we treat people often dictates the way we will be treated. God called us to be people of compassion who lead others to know Him.
The first church did this … Acts 2:45 nlt --- They sold their property and possessions and shared the money with those in need.
This man led different. Before Nehemiah their governor was not so kind.
Nehemiah 5:15 nasb --- But the former governors who were before me laid burdens on the people and took from them bread and wine besides forty shekels of silver; even their servants domineered the people. But I did not do so because of the fear of God.
Hebrews 13:7 nlt --- Remember your leaders who taught you the word of God. Think of all the good that has come from their lives, and follow the example of their faith.
Who has been a godly example for you and let you to know and serve God? Those people have taught us to literally fear God which is another way to deal with conflict or trouble that comes from inside of us or inside the church. To fearing God means you live in constant awareness that God in is charge of our lives and has the right to do as He pleases. It always means that by fearing God you have a desire to please God that is so great, that displeasing Him is your greatest fear.
"The remarkable thing about fearing God is that when you fear God, you fear nothing else, whereas if you do not fear God, you fear everything else." --- Oswald Chambers
When we chose not to deal with internal issues and problems, we point people away from God. It is my role as a leader to point people to God and to lead with confidence. My prayer is that we will let God shine through us in all we do. But that might just have to start in how we deal with the problems that come up around us.
Matthew 5:16 nasb --- Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.