Fellow Young Minister,
Last week, we discussed 3 preliminary enemies that we face as the voice of envy, accusation, starts speaking: Sanballat, Tobiah, and Geshem. Their ultimate goal is paralysis by distraction. But the question is, paralysis of what?
Ministries that aren’t confined to the 1.5-hour slot that many inaccurately refer to as “church”. Nehemiah started pursuing a calling that was going to affect an empire, not a building. It meant distinction, identity and legacy in the eyes of the world at the time. But Sanballat, Tobiah, and Geshem were men of other nations, detesting the distinction of the Israelites as they purposed to rebuild this wall, so they called in reinforcements. They sent a spy by the name of Shemaiah, the descendant of Delaiah and Mehetabel (Nehemiah 6:10).
His name means “Jehovah has heard”, from the lineages that mean “Jehovah has freed” and “whom God favors” (Strong’s H8098, H1806, H4105).
Shemaiah told Nehemiah to run to the temple because there was a rumor that Nehemiah was going to be assassinated at night. He tried tempting Nehemiah into thinking that the temple was the only place where Jehovah would hear us, free us, and give us His favor. This is the confidence that the adversary tries to ransack. He tries to get us to only commit to ministries that are confined to church service times and not make an impact on our world. This is the ultimate goal of envy – to paralyze the world-changing momentum that God wants to impart to us. The accuser of the brethren begins working behind the scenes in a perversely personal way. He will “play” and smite unfairly and want us to think that the “church building” is the only place to find a sense of security. David did say that help comes FROM the sanctuary, but that does not necessarily mean that help comes WITHIN the sanctuary (Psalm 20:2). In response to the devil “playing” unfairly, we must learn how to pray and fight unfairly in the Spirit, appealing to our superiority through Christ and not the inferiority of our flesh. There are ZERO verses to support the fact that the church is a material building. Jesus has anointed and appointed us to reach our world with an authority to tread on enemies that sting from in front and behind – and NOTHING shall by any means harm us (Luke 10:19). These attacks on our character can manifest from before us or behind us and we must allow the Lord to make us spiritually sharp.
How did Nehemiah become so sharp in the Lord? I believe the secret is in the overview of chapters 1 and 2. Nehemiah began praying, fasting, and weeping in the month of Chisleu, which is Kislev; but the building of the wall did not begin until the month of Nisan, ending 52 days later (Nehemiah 6:15-16). This shows us that Nehemiah purposed in himself to pray, fast, and weep for 4 months while the wall was only rebuilt in less than 2 months. Here’s how I believe the Lord kept Nehemiah. By Nehemiah committing himself to a spiritual and natural work in secret, the Lord preserved Nehemiah in the spiritual and natural in public. Nehemiah prayed, fasted and wept in secret OVER TWICE AS MUCH as he worked with God’s people in public. Could we say the same? If we do not highly prioritize our confidence, integrity, and identity in the Lord like Nehemiah, we gamble with our ability to respond like he did.
Could we say that we privately prayed and fasted OVER twice as long as we have publicly ministered? Our confidence in ministry does not come from how many opportunities we get or don’t get. Our confidence comes from the One who called us out of darkness and into His marvelous light. We ought to not worship at the altar of cultural opportunity, thinking we are validated by what happens in a building. We must find our confidence in Christ and reach our world, as He has called us to.
Fellow Young Minister, I mightily believe in you. Ron is better, by the way. Let us keep praying for one another as we learn how to deal with accusations and confidence in ministry.