Note. This post is created as a continuation of a earlier post called, “You Never Have To Stay Discouraged; Here’s How.” Though it’s a separate post all together, you can get the full impact of this post by reading the post mentioned above.Great challenges face us all. If you are going to do anything great for God, you will be required to step into great challenges and seemingly impossible situations with God.
What do we do when we face these challenges and what are some ways to be successful in them?
Nehemiah’s Great Challenge
Nehemiah faced this kind of challenge.
Right in the middle of building the wall the people are tired, discouraged and ready to give up. There stands before Nehemiah half a wall, tons of rubble and a people ready to walk away from it all.
Have you ever met a leadership and personal challenge like this?
Here is what Nehemiah did and how we can benefit from his wisdom.
Nehemiah 4:14 “After I looked things over, I stood up and said to the nobles, the officials and the rest of the people, “Don’t be afraid of them. Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome, and fight for your brothers, your sons and your daughters, your wives and your homes.”
These truths apply to every person and leader who is facing a significant personal and ministry challenge.
Six Things We Must Do
Here are six things that we need to do.
1. Look things over
“After I looked things over…”.
When facing a great challenge we need to do exactly what Nehemiah did. I cannot tell you how vital this is. If we miss this first step we can’t gain insight into the challenge we are facing.
This phrase “looked things over” means to “examine”, “inspect” and “consider.”
Our job is to first examine the current situation. Assessing gives us much-needed perspective. It’s important to note that upon careful examination we can become disheartened and overwhelmed.
Sometimes you will not get the faith you need just by assessing the situation. There needs to be more.
2. Remember God’s greatness
“…remember the Lord, who is great and awesome.”
What we cannot miss here is how Nehemiah attached this examination to remembering the greatness of God.
I placed this part of the verse here because I believe Nehemiah filled his mind with God’s greatness before he stood up and spoke.
Nehemiah made a choice to remember what God had done to give him faith for what He can do.
I believe Nehemiah remembered things like Israel’s deliverance from Egyptian slavery through the 10 plagues, crossing the Red Sea on dry ground, the slaying of Goliath, Gideon defeating 10,000 soldiers with 300 men and the Angel of the Lord slaying over 185,000 Assyrians while Judah slept comfortably in their beds. This list could go on and on.
This remembering gave Nehemiah confidence in the character and nature of God. I can hear him saying to himself, “if God is for us who can be against us.”
3. Stand Up
“I stood up and said.”
As Nehemiah is renewing His mind with the greatness of God, faith is rising at a feverish pitch. From the place of remembering God’s greatness, Nehemiah stands up and begins to declare who God is.
At some point you just have to stand up and declare truth. Do it from a place of careful examination soaked in the understanding of God’s greatness.
4. Refuse to be Afraid
“…don’t be afraid.”
The very first thing Nehemiah goes after is fear. Fear is faith in the inferior.
Don’t be anxious, frightened or intimidated. Refuse to agree with the enemy. Refuse to partner with fear and discouragement. Don’t be afraid!
5. Declare God’s Greatness
“…remember the Lord who is great and awesome.”
I think Nehemiah can’t get this phrase out of his mouth fast enough. It’s bold, confident and authoritative.
The word “greatness” means to enlarge and the word “awesome” means to “inspire awe” and “instill terror”.
What is Nehemiah saying to Israel?
“Enlarge your thinking about the Lord, the everlasting, eternal and all-powerful God and remember His awe-inspiring power and how He instills terror on our enemies.”
This truth needs to fill your mind and heart. Find passages in the Bible that reveal His greatness and strengthen your heart in the Lord with them. Refuse to doubt His goodness and power.
From the place of “remembering the Lord who is great and awesome” we fight. We don’t give up knowing we fight from victory not for victory.
The wall was completed in fifty-two days.
God-Sized Dreams Will Require God-Size Challenges
Remember that any God-sized dream will leave us overwhelmed and feeling like we are in-over-our-head. This is designed to keep us dependent on and intimate with the Lord.
Accomplishing God-sized dreams bring with it God-sized challenges. Challenges are indicators that we are doing things right, not necessarily doing things wrong.
As the Lord said to Joshua, I declare over you:
Joshua 1:9 “…Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.”