Being A Good Friend – To Yourself
Staying On The Wall
Study Text – Nehemiah 6th Chapter
1 Now it came to pass, when Sanballat, and Tobiah, and
Geshem the Arabian, and the rest of our enemies, heard that I had builded the
wall, and that there was no breach left therein; (though at that time I had not
set up the doors upon the gates;) 2That Sanballat and Geshem
sent unto me, saying, Come, let us meet together in some one of the villages in
the plain of Ono. But they thought to do me mischief. 3And I
sent messengers unto them, saying, I am doing a great work, so that I cannot
come down: why should the work cease, whilst I leave it, and come down to you? 4Yet
they sent unto me four times after this sort; and I answered them after the
I heard this statement once, "Don’t let me put my Jesus in my
pocket." What the person meant was, "I am a Christian, but I will put
away my Christian values to tell you off or do what I have to do to make my
point." As Christians we don’t need to lose focus of where we are heading
(toward the fullness of God) just because we want to "tell others
off" or "curse them out."
This week we look at Nehemiah who had the mission of rebuilding the wall of
Jerusalem. When he got close to the completion of his project, his enemies
asked him to meet them. Instead of doing so, Nehemiah sent word to them,
"I’m doing a great work and I can’t come down." But this wasn’t
enough for his enemies. They sent messages back to him four times after that,
and Nehemiah replied the same way each time. Now many people would have said,
"Man, let me go down there and curse them out. I’ll let them know not to
bother me, and when I get through with them they’ll never bother me
again." However, by falling for this simplistic ploy you will have allowed
your enemies to complete their mission. They will have pulled you off the wall,
even if it was only for a little while. So what can we learn from Nehemiah?
Verse 1: You will make enemies by simply doing good works, so don’t be
Simply understand that by trying to make things better, you can make enemies
in the process. Don’t be a "weak chinned" Christian saying, "but
I don’t want to make any enemies." Trust me, as long as you are trying to
do better, be better or make things better you going to have enemies – GET OVER
IT!!! If a person doesn’t have enemies then they probably don’t have a life.
Verse 2: Stay Focused
As long as you’re striving for success and not just out to survive, your
enemies’ tactics will not cease. Nehemiah’s enemies told him, "Come, let
us meet together in some one of the villages." Now what if Nehemiah were
the type of person who thought, "Well, I guess I could go for a little
while. Maybe we could make peace?" The wall probably would have not gotten
finished. Instead, through wisdom he knew that nothing good could come from
meeting them. In fact he even stated in the second verse, "But they
thought to do me mischief." So stay focused on the finished project and
recognize those people or activities that will distract you.
Verse 3: What should you do – Don’t Come Down
Now the thing I like about this passage is Nehemiah had the opportunity to
either tell his enemies off or face them. Instead he said, "I am doing a
great work and I can’t come down." For some reason, we feel that we owe
people an explanation or have to go over to their house and explain and plead
our case. This is not so. Nehemiah did what many of us need to do — he just
sent them a message. With today’s technology, we can fax them, phone them, or even
e-mail them. There is no need for you to go across town and apologize just
because you want better in life and they don’t want you to have it. (This
message is getting real personal, so if it’s not for you, then just understand
that. But God is speaking directly to someone.) If this is you and you have to
send your very best — send a Hallmark; it’s the next best thing to being
there. But whatever you do — Don’t come down!!!
Verse 4: Dare them to come up!!!
Many people won’t get up on the wall due to fear of "flight."
Believe it or not, some people are actually scared of "taking off" on
a new adventure. They are happy with their re-runs of "Gunsmoke" and
that same old couch they’ve been sitting on since 1974. And guess what else?
They will want you to plop down right beside them and watch those same episodes
with them as your dreams, visions and projects from God pass you by. So instead
of going down, dare them to come up!! In the fourth verse, Nehemiah’s
adversaries ask him four times to come and meet them, but he replied the same
way each time, "I’m doing a great work and I can’t come down." Don’t
feel obligated to stoop to your enemies’ – LOW STANDARD OF EXCELLENCE. Keep
pressing toward the mark of the high call of God in Christ Jesus!
Even though these were enemies of Nehemiah, some of us need to see them as
our friends. Some of our "friends" do the same things to us. They
tell us, "Man do you really have to study tonight" or "You’re
not as much fun as you used to be" or "I don’t know why you are applying
for that position" or "You’re too old to go back to college."
But if God has given you a dream, I urge you to stay on the wall. Pursue it
with all you have while being led by God, and He will ensure that it will come
to pass. Don’t ever feel that you need to put your "Jesus in your
pocket" to tell someone off or to speak your mind. Instead of putting Him
in your pocket, put Him in your heart. By doing so, the "walls" you
climb in life will be much greater than any you could ever imagined.