So the wall was completed on the twenty-fifth of Elul, in fifty-two days. When all our enemies heard about this, all the surrounding nations were afraid and lost their self-confidence, because they realized that this work had been done with the help of our God.Self-importance is a victory-stealer. I think we spend too much time thinking about ourselves and not enough time thinking about how God feels about things. The wrong kind of introspection is a weary walk down the road to misery. Don’t throw away your victory by trusting in yourself instead of trusting God.
Reading Nehemiah’s story can build courage in us for our tasks. He was focused on the job. If Nehemiah had spent a lot of time thinking about things he’d rather be doing, the wall wouldn’t have been completed. He didn’t worry about whether he was comfortable or if the task seemed too difficult. He just persevered.
What would happen if we kept an eye on ourselves this year in order to remove habits of self-pity, self-centeredness, self-doubt, self-righteousness, and self-aggravating selfishness? If I were to stop discouraging myself, stop being my own joy-robber or hope-thief, stop making myself miserable with pressure to avoid sin on my own (without God’s help), stop disquieting myself with guilt if I found sin in my life, and stop undermining my own successes by telling myself it’s just too hard, then I would find victory.
I can rely on God to help me remove sin when I recognize the opportunity. My job is to have a sin-free mindset and ask God to help me keep the sin out of my life. He doesn’t mind helping us if we’re not lazy.
I like the story of Nehemiah’s stubbornness in getting the wall rebuilt. He had many opportunities to give up, but he kept at it. His enemies tried to discourage him, intimidate him, and trick him into quitting. Nehemiah knew God was with him, so he didn’t give up.
Do you have any God-given goals you are tempted to give up on?
If you’ll read the first six chapters of the book of Nehemiah and learn from Nehemiah’s example, you can trust God to deal with your enemies. Fight against self-importance. Fight for your right to obey God. Fight for your victory. Keep working until you’ve completed the task.