Pastor Chad used some boxing tips to help us understand the section of scripture we were reading this week in Nehemiah chapter 4. We are still in the series Hope in Action. This message was titled Put Up Your Dukes. Nehemiah was facing opposition from without the camp and within. As the Israelite’s continued to build the wall they set guards, carried swords and kept at the work they were called to do.
In the face of opposition we must learn to slow down, breath, put our hands up. We will face opposition in our walk with God. So we need to know what will be our first response? It is to maintain our stance (keep our eyes on Jesus) or is it to hurl stones. (Fight face to face) Pastor Chad pointed out that Nehemiah didn’t respond to the critics. He could have throw bricks at them from his place on the way. But instead he ignored them. Opposition will come from external sources to distract us and taunt us and get us off of the work the Lord has called us to do. Opposition will also come from internal sources seeding doubt and breeding defeat just as the people working with Nehemiah began to complain. But here’s the things as Pastor Chad said, “External opposition is only as loud as our internal insecurities allow them to be.” He then continued, “Internal opposition is the one that will get me.” We must learn to maintain our stance and continue to do what God has called us to do. How do we do that? We pray continually as we build. Following His lead.
In the face of opposition we must learn to let our hands go. Get after it. Do the work! If the enemy can get us on something else. He can distract us and keep us from doing what God has asked of us. This fight is about faithfully doing what God had told us to do. Do we even know what He has told us to do? We don’t have time to waste being distracted by Social Media justice posting which Pastor Chad called, “slack-tivism.” This is posting outrage about a perceived injustice but not actually doing anything about it. Jesus gives us real work to do. We have a King who will return. It’s eminent. So, stop wasting time and get to work!
In the face of opposition we must make friends at the gym meaning we must be humble enough to ask for help from our community. We are stronger together when we support one another. Pastor Chad said, “Humility is in short supply these days. If we are going to be the kind of humble that God is looking for , we will hold others in higher regard then ourselves, our agenda, and even our preferences.” We have to think of others as better than ourselves. Pastor Chad added in a freebie too. He said, “The vision that God has given you is not separate from others.” We must do this thing together!
I, like Pastor Chad, and like Nehemiah can put our hand to the plow without allowing external things to throw us off. I’ve noticed in this description that we can look at this two different ways: External (outside ourselves) and Internal (inside ourselves) or External (outside our community) and Internal (inside the community). It is often the internal things whether in me or in the community that I live that will cause me more distress than the external things. Internal to me are those things that are in my living space. My own thoughts, my marriage, my home, my family, my work, and my church family. These are the things that are closest to me and have the ability to rot me and distraught me from the inside out. How do we fight against that? Nehemiah has the answer. When the people came 10 times to complain about the enemy and try to get him to quit because they were overwhelmed . He stationed people ready to fight in the most vulnerable places of the wall and he said to them all, “Do not be afraid of them. Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome, and fight for your brothers, your sons, your daughters, your wives, and your homes.” (Nehemiah 4:14) He gave them something worth fighting for!
All is grace,
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