During my study of Nehemiah I’ve thought an awful lot about the mess he had to clean up before the rebuilding of the wall. The sheer amount of rubble involved must’ve been…well, messy! So I put together my thoughts to share with the high school girls during our hang-out the other night…
Just to give you a 15 second history of Nehemiah:
- He was a Jew living in exile in Persia (a beautiful place)
- He’d always lived in exile and had never visited Jerusalem (which was very much in ruins since the Babylonian defeat)
- He worked for a king that had previously shut down the rebuilding of the wall of Jerusalem, yet he decides to approach him and ask for permission to go rebuild it himself. (Gutsy!)
To shorten up the details here, the king gave Nehemiah his charge card and allowed him to gather up an army of men, camels, horses and the entire contents of the local Home Depot. Nehemiah was on his way to building something great!
The thing about this situation that gets me is that he wasn’t going off to build something new. He wasn’t relocating from his comfortable place in exile – abundant food, nice clothing, beautiful palace where he served the king – to a new, fresh start somewhere else. He left all of that to rebuild something that was very broken and needed a lot of work.
Consequently, this is often how I look at life after accepting Christ. That moment when you accept Him and are baptized into something new truly is an amazing experience. It’s a rebirth. It is a fresh start. However, we often forget about the rubble that needs to be dealt with before the new ground work can be laid. God doesn’t do this for us. He gives us the strength, power, patience, resolve and whatever else we need to get it done, but it’s up to us to get our hands dirty and start sifting through the rubble in our lives.
If you want to live a life worthy of His name your attitude should be “Alright – let’s get to work!”
However, it doesn’t say that removing the rubble from your life will be easy. That leaving friendships behind isn’t going to be hard. That choosing to be the modest girl in the crowd and cover your body appropriately won’t be awkward for you. That telling the guy you’re dating what his boundaries are then watching him move on without you as he breaks your heart… But this is a necessary part of the rebuild process. In order to cultivate the level ground for you to construct a new foundation, you have to remove the obstructions.
Nehemiah could’ve easily felt his calling and promptly told himself – “Forget this – there is no way I’m approaching a dude who previously shut this project down and could seriously have me killed…” No, he could’ve easily continued to live the life he was accustomed to in a comfortable place that fed him well and allowed him to do as he pleased, for the most part. However, he would forever be in bondage under another person’s rule.
While we are given a new life in Christ, we are still very much subjected to the enemy’s attacks. Until you begin to remove the rubble from your life and reconstruct a wall for protection, those attacks are going to be more frequent. You’re going to long for the comfort of life outside of Christ because that is what you knew. It is, in some cases, easier. Familiar. And it doesn’t make you the subject of ridicule… Let’s face it, persecution of any kind really stinks.
God’s grace is a gift and one that comes with no strings attached, however to live a life as a follower of Christ is to leave behind the junk that’s just downright bad for us. You have to dispose of one thing at a time until you have a clean foundation to work with.
So why don’t you ask yourselves the following questions:
- What kind of rubble do I have in my life?
- Does the rubble in my life cause me to be complacent? (doing the same things over and over without any change at all)
- What rubble am I able to start removing first?
We live in a world where so much is accessible to us. Relationships, stature, clothing, food, nifty technology… It’s all permissible. But is it beneficial?
You say, “I am allowed to do anything” – but not everything is good for you. And even though “I am allowed to do anything,” I must not become a slave to anything. (1 Corinthians 6:12, NLT)
Start looking at the rubble in your life and make up your mind to sift through it. One broken brick at a time…