By Chris Martin
In August 2016, I was beginning a third year of full-time graduate school, working a full-time job, and serving in our church’s student ministry. It was a busy season, and I was stressed. Around that time, my wife began experiencing a sort of persistent anxiety she never had before, and it even resulted in a few rough panic attacks. With the help of a doctor and a counselor, she was able to fight the anxiety, and I was able to support her through it.
While supporting Susie, I was a strong, encouraging husband, but it’s like my body was just storing up my own stress to be released later. A few weeks after Susie’s panic attacks subsided, I got sick. I felt anxious like I never had before, and I became unduly overwhelmed. It felt like I was drowning in work, school, and life in general. In the face of what seemed insurmountable work and life circumstances, I was not relying on the Lord to be my strength. I was relying on myself.
In Nehemiah 6, the wall was finally rebuilt despite attempts to sabotage the work of Nehemiah and the others. The conspirators—Sanballat, Tobiah, and Geshem—sent a message to Nehemiah in an attempt to lure him away from his work at the wall and to do him harm. They did not want him to succeed in the work the Lord had set out for him to do.
But Nehemiah saw through the veiled attempts to undermine him. He said of the man who delivered the threatening message, “He was hired, so that I would be intimidated, do as he suggested, sin, and get a bad reputation, in order that they could discredit me” (v.13). Nehemiah was given a task by God. He was not going to let the intimidation of man prevent him from obeying God. And so in the midst of many attempts to distract and discredit him, Nehemiah says, “But now, my God, strengthen my hands” (v.9).
The Lord has called you to a work. Whether it is parenting your children, teaching a squirrely third grade class, manufacturing auto parts, or leading a church—He has called you to a work that He intends for you to use for His glory, not your own (Ephesians 2:10). Others, including Satan, may try to assail you. In the face of these attacks, you can choose to trust in your own strength for deliverance. Or you can rely on the Lord to strengthen your hands.
Written by Chris Martin
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5 thoughts on "We Completed the Wall"
I feel like today’s passage speaks to me about not becoming distracted. As Nehemiah was trying to finish the wall people were distracting him, trying to pull him away from the work that God set before him. Nehemiah knew his purpose. We can’t let people distract us from what God is calling us to. We must stay focused. As Paul says “run the race in such a way to get the prize.”
We also cannot let Satan or others intimidate us. They want to try to use fear and worry to make a state but the whole world is against us. But if God is set you on this path he will make sure you finish.
I want to rely fully on God, but sometimes it is not clear which option is His and which is mine, trying to justify it through Him
Day 9: I love that this is a task that Nehemiah says was completed by God and not by him. When God gives us things to do, it’s so important for us to be diligent in that work, and rid ourselves of distractions coming from the world and Satan. So much can be done in a short amount of time with God in our side. We should trust in that and just go as hard as possible to serve him.
“Discredit”. It’s an interesting thought, perhaps the Devil wants to discredit us. Indeed we know that he does, but too often I’ve considered it as one sided; an attempt to ruin our witness to others. But the Devil has succeeded a number of times in which he tries to make me feel unworthy of God.
I can feel distant from God even when I feel like I’m dedicating more time than ever because Satan is lying to me about who I am. He tries to make me think that I am my sin. I’m not. I’m irreversibly redeemed and incomparably loved by Christ. My sin isn’t a boundary for Christ because He died to cross that line and carry me into His kingdom.
I love God. I may not act like it at all consistently because I also crave that sin. I’m freed in Christ. I still sit amongst my chains and clamp down the shackles on my wrist that Jesus shattered, I sit as though I’m a prisoner; not fully worth Christ’s love, not faithful.
Faith means I need to take those shackles and remove them as Christ has already freed me. I need to move from my seat into the freedom offered by Jesus and walk with Him. I am not perfect but Jesus is my leader and example, I should follow Him and in doing so grow closer to Him and His likeness. From there I just await His kingdom where chains don’t exist at all.
I will do what God has called me to do through His strength, not allowing the enemy to get in the way.
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