After reading Nehemiah recently, I began to think about tenacity – the driving force that keeps our hands to the plow in our God-given purpose. Tenacity sustains us, despite all the challenges we face when we decide to do something.
We see a great example of tenacity in Nehemiah. Israel had been captured, and Jerusalem was destroyed. I assume many of them died in the process, families were likely separated and not all of them had fared as well as Nehemiah. He was doing well for himself as a cupbearer.
One day he heard a discouraging report about the Israelites back home in Jerusalem and he wept for his people. Nehemiah fasted and prayed for many days and repented on behalf of Israel.
Soon he found himself asking the king for permission to leave and go rebuild Judah. Nehemiah made a bold request and the king granted it. How many of us are willing to leave a great job or a comfortable life in order to build? How many of us have this kind of self-sacrificing passion or burden to build what God desires? Nehemiah didn’t know what would happen to him. He was determined to return home and rebuild even though he knew his God-given purpose would put his life in danger.
Your God-given Purpose Will Meet Opposition.
Ever notice how, soon after you make such a courageous decision, you’re met with opposition? Nehemiah 2:19 says “But when Sanballat the Horonite, Tobiah the Ammonite official, and Geshem the Arab heard of it they laughed at us and despised us”. Chapter 4 says that Sanballat even spoke with the army of Samaria about it and mocked the Jews.
Now, these weren’t your average haters. They went as far as to threaten war. It is interesting how our obedience to God will manifest enemies in our lives, no wonder some people would rather stay in the safety of their comfort zones. Many times, we can even be our own enemy. Fears and doubts can hold us back if we’re not careful to cast those thoughts down (2 Corinthians 10:5).
If they didn’t have enough to deal with already, the Jews who lived closer to these other nations came to Nehemiah and his team to speak death over them. Nehemiah 12:4 says “So it was, the Jews who dwelt near them came that they told us ten times, from whatever place you turn, they will be upon us.” These were their own people and men of God.
Sometimes the people we expect to be supportive and optimistic are the naysayers. Living closer to the enemy limited their faith. This is why we have to be mindful of our environment while serving and living for God.
Purpose Demands Courage and Tenacity.
I can’t imagine how difficult this must have been for them. Trying to do what God told them to do with nations coming against them and some of their own people doubtful.
Nehemiah and the Israelites are a portrait of courage and tenacity. They didn’t allow themselves to be shaken. Instead, they changed their strategy. They decided to have some of the men work on building and others would stand guard in case they were attacked. How were they so bold and unwavering? Well, Nehemiah 4:6 says that the people had a made-up mind to work.
Empower Your Purpose.
How do we get to the point that we are so committed to our God-given purpose that nothing can hold us back? The answer is simple. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 says that all scripture equips us for every good work. Psalm 119 is all about the power of the Word in our lives. Psalm 119:98 says, “You, through all your commandments, make me wiser than my enemies.”
Wisdom gives us the confidence and courage to do seemingly impossible things. Psalm 119:105 says the Word is a lamp to our feet, meaning it leads us. When we understand that God has equipped us, given us wisdom, and leads us, tenacity is the response to all our challenges.
We know that we wrestle not against flesh and blood but against principalities, powers spiritual wickedness (Ephesians 6:12). To fight and win these spiritual battles, we need the sword of the Spirit which is the word of God (Ephesians 6:17). Nehemiah fasted and prayed many days. He was being filled with the power of God to do the work. Even when you’re just trying to overcome your own self-imposed challenges the same is true. The Word is always the answer.
Tenacity follows courage. People who quit at the sign of trouble are usually insecure and uncertain, so they give up. Time spent with God in the Word is how we build spiritual endurance. We’re also given assurance and peace about our goals and God will confirm to you that you’re in His will.
So, What’s the Play Call?
So, Team, if there is something that God has called you to do and you have doubt or anxiety about it, spend more time in His Word. Pray and fast for many days like Nehemiah and allow God to strengthen you for the good work He has chosen you to do.
- Remember that obedience to God will awaken enemies near and far, but the commandments make you wiser than your enemies (Psalm 119:98).
- Don’t allow the naysayers to weaken your faith. Everyone can’t see the vision God has given you and your boldness may challenge their complacency.
- Tenacity comes with confidence. If you don’t feel confident, reacquaint yourself with the promises of God. Revisit the Word He gave you – this is why journaling or “writing the vision” is important.