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Nehemiah--Fearless and Faithful

(Nehemiah 4:6-8; 15-23)

Lesson 12 -- fourth quarter 1997
November 23, 1997

by Mark Roth
© Copyright 1997, Christian Light Publications

Vision, mission, permission. That was the last lesson; this one is about opposition. Nehemiah arrived with a vision, with a mission and with permission. Soon he also had opposition. The enemies simply did not appreciate nor approve of his efforts to rebuild and restore. They were unimpressed with his vision, his mission and his permission. They had an interest in the continued debility and disarray of Nehemiah's people and land. They weren't about to let him change the status quo.

Nehemiah's response? "Well, I gave it a try. Perhaps I totally misread things. Why would God let this happen if He truly were behind my mission?! All the things that panned out right must have been coincidences only. I think I'll just give up this standard bearing and go back to cup bearing." Nope! Nehemiah understood the opposition to be against God, not from God. Nehemiah determined to both fight and work for God and for His people. Opposition would not unglue Nehemiah's eyes from his vision and its mission. So, they worked with one hand and were set to fight with the other. They braced themselves for a fight they knew God would fight for them. Nehemiah was determined to obey the Lord in this mission; he would not give it up without a fight.

Now to your mission as a youth-at-home, or a youth-in-community, or a youth-at-church, or a youth-at-school, or a youth-on-the-job. Don't delude yourself with the notion that your noble intentions and plans are so praise-worthy that no one will oppose them...and you. Perhaps no human will make things tough for you this time around, but the Devil and his demons will most certainly oppose any godly mission. As I consider some of my own life lessons, I see some ways they operate.

Discouragement. You got a vision, you got a mission, you got permission. Things go well for awhile. Then you get tired of doing good, of doing the menial things, of working unnoticed, of cleaning up after others, of who knows what. You begin to think that you are depriving yourself. In fact, you will likely begin to notice that you are feeling down for no apparent reason. My friend, you are working for the Lord for others; the enemy is working on you. So, set yourself to fight the battle (which is the Lord's, don't forget!) and keep right on working.

Dismay. You are doing a good thing (perhaps even a whole bunch of them). Your mission is beginning to produce positive results. Then you notice that people no longer thank you, they just take your mission for granted. Or you hear that some people question your motives. Or you catch on that those whom you are helping are taking advantage of your and your mission. Refocus on your vision, your mission and your permission...and keep working even as you prepare to confront the enemy in the name of the Lord. Remind the enemy and yourself that your mission is about service and blessing for the Lord and others.

Distraction. This mission thing is starting to wear on you just a tad. What was a great thing at first continues to be a great thing, but you begin to wonder if you have about run this course. Fun has devolved into drudgery. There are other things to be done, you know. Besides, it seems you spend so much time trying to figure out just what to do about the enemy. Stay focused! You are in this for the blessing, not the fun.

Let's be like Nehemiah. Let's do the Lord's will because it is good, not because we feel like it and not because all goes well.

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