Friday, November 02, 2012

Anatomy of a Revival 6: Avoiding Distractions

(Nehemiah 6:1-19) The wall is finished. Nehemiah won but, even in victory, you cannot let your guard down. As you celebrate be watchful. Distractions can limit your spiritual gains and possibly reverse them. The Bible warns: “Be self controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings.” (1 Peter 5:8-9)

Sometimes distractions come disguised as harmless options or even good things. Now that the wall is finished the enemies want to be friends. They were trying to trick Nehemiah into leaving Jerusalem, where he had armed support, to come to a conference where he could be ambushed. Sensing this, Nehemiah declines, saying, “I am carrying on a great project, and I cannot go down. Why should the work stop while I leave it and go down to you?”

Nehemiah keeps his focus and remembers his priorities; teaching us that not every opportunity is heaven sent. Even good things have the potential to distract us from the best things.

Another distraction for Nehemiah was the rumor that he wanted to be king of Jerusalem. They were saying that the wall was not meant to honor God but, rather, for Nehemiah's own benefit. People tend to believe the worse about others, especially their leaders, and lies have a way of getting a life of their own. Remember that Satan is the father of lies.

Nehemiah simply denies the rumor. He doesn’t try to disprove the accusation but merely states, “That is a lie. There is no truth in it.”

That’s the best way to respond to a charge like this; a flat denial. We must be disciplined about arguments. Saying less is more. Those who are making a difference for the Lord will always be criticized. It is tempting to spend a lot of time and emotional energy arguing our case but our supporters don't need to hear it and our accusers won't believe it. We must learn the patience to take the attacks in stride and give God the time do His work.

Nehemiah prayed to God for strength and went back to work. Although hurt and discouraged by these accusations, he was able to continue by focusing on God instead of feelings.

Many factors can distract us from keeping the main thing the main thing. Nehemiah completed his mission because his priorities were right, his discernment was keen, and his response was courageous. These three factors are vital for an urban minister who wants to fulfill his calling.

Recommended reading:
Hand Me Another Brick by Chuck Swindoll

1 comment:

Diana Aranda said...

I can relate well to distractions too well. Unfortunately sometimes there is not a thing you can do about them, but pray!