“How Am I Doing?” by Jackie E. Diaz
Reflecting on Old Testament history causes me to think, “How Am I Doing?” It is sort of a cleansing exercise I highly recommend. As believers it is good for us to evaluate our own lives (2 Corinthians 13:5). We need to know if our walk is plumb with what is right (James 4:17). As I think on the church, the Book of Nehemiah readily comes to mind.
Nehemiah the Prophet was repentant and ready to reverse the destruction in Jerusalem, when he received encouragement from GOD to rebuild the Jerusalem wall. As he sat out to do GOD’s will, Sanballat- a Samaritan leader and his side-kick, the Ammonite official Tobiah (a descendant of Lot) stood hard against the work of the LORD. They did everything they could to discourage the completion of Nehemiah’s work which makes me think of how a church can fail without the support and commitment of every member. A critical spirit is easily cultivated when graciousness is in short supply. Honestly, I have occasionally wondered if I might be a descendant of the Samaritans or the Ammonites. Not because I have intentionally scoffed at the work of my church fellows or purposefully maligned their efforts; No not at all. But I was once guilty of seeking out my own Biblically based ideals as I held others to my own standards (Philippians 2:1-4). I secretly defiled many who were ready to build the church and grumbled in lieu of doing my part (Philippians 2:14). I have also failed at times to show respect for others in their weaknesses (Romans 15:1) and have callously pointed at others for what I decided was THEIR sin. HOW HIGH AND PIOUS OF ME! Sadly, I failed to appreciate in those moments my disobedient behavior and caused the entire church to suffer (1 Corinthians 12:26). Thanks be to GOD for His saving grace and His mighty hand that changed my heart.
Poor Sanballat and Tobiah did not have the benefit of a gracious Savior. Their hearts went unchanged as far as I can tell, and their lives suffered greatly for it. Like those who are unable trust and hope in what GOD Almighty can do, they missed the blessings of an obedient heart (Isaiah 1:19). On the other hand Nehemiah, and all those who stood with him, reaped the benefits of GOD’s faithfulness. The wall was rebuilt, Jerusalem was strengthened and GOD received the glory! So look around you Dear One, ask yourself “How Am I doing?” and be careful of destructive, willful disobedience.
A Prayer: Father, Look upon the hearts of Your church people and remove every spot of dissention or root of bitterness that repels the Great Work You desire to do. Please Master, grant us Your walls of security, provision, freedom and forgiveness so that we, Your church, might be about Your will alone. I receive LORD that Your kingdom building begins with me. Amen.
“We will not neglect the house of our God.” Nehemiah 10:39b