Tuesday, March 5, 2013

determination: facing your fears



One of the most incredible stories and incredible leaders is Nehemiah.  He was a man of faith but lived in a foreign country working when he heard that things back home were not well.  As we should do the same, Nehemiah learned of the problem and went to God bearing his hurt and his heart.

What came next could only be described as “look what God did”.  But one of the big pieces of this is the determination that Nehemiah had.  Read part of this story and notice some things that made this man a good leader.

Then I told them about how the gracious hand of God had been on me, and about my conversation with the king.  They replied at once, “Yes, let’s rebuild the wall!” So they began the good work.  19 But when Sanballat, Tobiah, and Geshem the Arab heard of our plan, they scoffed contemptuously.  “What are you doing?  Are you rebelling against the king?” they asked.  20 I replied, “The God of heaven will help us succeed.  We, his servants, will start rebuilding this wall.  But you have no share, legal right, or historic claim in Jerusalem.”

Several things could have changed the situation that Nehemiah faced.  How he looked at the situation helped him set the goal and take God’s people with him.  Nehemiah was gifted as a leader, but he was also submissive to the authority God had given him.

The problem in front of God’s people was huge.  It was the entire city that was in total devastation.  Homes had been destroyed.  The walls had fallen.  The hearts of the people and their future had been robbed from them.  The verses above depict a man on a mission after discovering the need and pressing on.  Nehemiah didn’t allow the enormity of the problem to discourage or distract him.

Another piece that could have diverted Nehemiah’s attention were the naysayers that threw their words toward God’s people and particularly in the direction of God’s man for the job at hand.  Sanballat, Tobiah and Geshem were the names of the people who most likely represented many more people who said the city couldn’t be saved and that the people of God were weak.  Nehemiah might have heard their negativity and discouraging words, but he wouldn’t let it sink in.

There are many things in our lives that take on the characteristics of fear, and each of those things that shows themselves as fear in our lives will keep us tied up where we cannot accomplish anything.  If we allow fears to take over our hearts and our plans, we will surely miss the big things of God and the blessings that He intends for us to have.

Leaders have a choice.  We can either let fear kick us to the side and make us weak and useless, or we can kick fear to the side and press on with the goals that we have set before us.  This could be said for a business leader, for a parent, for a pastor or anyone who is determined to accomplish something.  But like Nehemiah found there are spiritual consequences to the choices we make and to the way we deal with our fears. 

Because Nehemiah believed that God could rebuild the city and because he wouldn’t listen to those who opposed him, God used Nehemiah to do incredible things.  Just a couple chapters after these verses we learn that the walls were rebuilt in 52 days which was a miracle.  It should have taken much longer and have needed many more workers.  God did this through the determination of Nehemiah.

What does God want to accomplish through you?  Are you allowing what you fear to tie you up so you can’t do what God has called you to do?  Behind your fear might just be the greatest victory and the greatest days your have ever had.

As I was walking and praying recently, I was listening to music, and a song that I recently downloaded spoke to my heart.  In closing I share part of that song with you:

Settle down, it'll all be clear
Don't pay no mind to the demons
They fill you with fear
The trouble it might drag you down
If you get lost, you can always be found
Just know you're not alone
Cause I'm gonna make this place your home
(lyrics from Home by Phillip Phillips)

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