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Victorious Though Persecuted

(Nehemiah 6:1-9, 15, 16)

Lesson 7 -- third quarter 2003
July 13, 2003

by Mark Roth
© Copyright 2003, Christian Light Publications

The battle is on

Did you know that?

It's true! No good we set out to do will go unopposed. All around us exist adversaries, most of whom we cannot see, who will do all they can to resist us personally and impede any good our hearts determine to accomplish. These enemies will attack and undermine. They will try to discourage, distract, and dissuade us. They will not give up easily, refusing to give in just because one tactic fails.

Did you know that?

It's true! Yet so many Christians seem caught by surprise at the opposition, having neither expected it nor planned for it. They allow distractions to draw them away from their rightful endeavors. They permit discouragement to lead them to giving up the noble project. They let down their guard and too late discover they have been lured into an ambush. Being spiritually and mentally unprepared, they quit before they finish, they fail before they succeed, and they lose before they win.

Did you know that?

It's true! So what are we going to do about it?

Remember the importance of the task. When Nehemiah's enemies tried to lure him into a trap where they could bring mischief upon him, he began his response to their invitation by saying, "I am doing a great work" (Nehemiah 6:3). To that he added, "Why should the work cease?" He put his assigned task above anything else. He knew it was an important job. He also knew it was his duty, which meant that he was important to the success of the project. So he refused to consider giving in to the opposition of distraction -- "I cannot come down...to you." Nehemiah would not leave his work for something of less importance and of suspect character. We must learn from that. When any type of opposition comes, we need to remember the importance of the good task which God has given us.

Maintain personal integrity. When guile and enticement failed, the enemies of Nehemiah assaulted his personal character. They attributed to him ungodly motives, purposes, and tactics. Then, having attacked his integrity, they pretended to be on his side, saying, "Come now therefore, and let us take counsel together" (Nehemiah 6:7). Because Nehemiah had carefully guarded his integrity and character, he saw through their plan. He not only knew that the accusations were false, he also knew that everyone else knew them for the fabrications they were. Since he had kept his heart right, he did not have to worry about his reputation. Can we learn from that as well? Beware of giving the enemy solid ground from which to attack us! We must keep a careful guard over our own character and integrity in all things. It is never right to allow wrong, no matter how small the issue. How foolish to breach our own integrity, especially with something "little"!

Recognize human weakness and divine power. Nehemiah did not deny that "they all made us afraid" (Nehemiah 6:8). He knew that as a result of that it was entirely possible that he and his crew would grow weary and quit before the work was done. So he turned again to the One who had given him the assignment in the first place: "Now therefore, O God, strengthen my hands." (Nehemiah 6:9). May we reject cocky self-assurance and independence. They will certainly guarantee our failure!

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