This year, I embarked on a journey to read the bible back-to-back. I signed up with an audio community called Daily Audio Bible and every day, we cover the Old and New Testaments, Psalms and Proverbs. Notice I said ‘read’ not ‘study’ the bible. I am an auditory learner but I find that for the bible reading to make sense I need to read and hear at the same time. This is what I do so as not to drift off during the 45mins of my morning allocated to this most important feeding of my soul. It became a delight however that though I set out just to read, familiarize myself with the greatest story of all time, in my own little way I would get a revelation from the scripture or the commentary by Brian Hardin who reads to the community every day. There would be such distinct parallels to my life or simply a repetition of what the Holy Spirit has told me over and over till I had become dull of hearing.
Written by Bee
Be Your Best Self for God seriesOne of such epiphanies was the period Brian read the great story of Nehemiah. So we continue on our theme of leading a lifestyle of worship, and Being our Best Selves for God in our daily walk and especially in our speech and word. Yes, we are back to the Tongue, but this time we will look at speaking in season, speaking in God’s timing or not at all.
If we study the story of Nehemiah in chapters 1 – 4, God laid in this great man’s heart to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem which had gone to ruins after the Jews had been taken into captivity in Babylon. He was burdened with this arduous task after receiving reports from the remnant who stayed behind and survived the exile. This burden so overwhelmed his heart, he worshipped, fasted and prayed to God for mercy on Israel and it seemed to me he must have also prayed for clarity but most of all he prayed for favour before the King so he could proceed to travel to Jerusalem to start this assignment he believed God was giving him.
Fast track to the immediate future, the King grants Nehemiah ALL he requests and more, he gets time off work as a Cup Bearer, security passage and letters for the provinces he would travel through and even materials for building from the King’s forest Wow!! V7 the King granted my requests, for I was graciously strengthened by my God. Nehemiah sets out on his mission, arrives in Jerusalem, says nothing, and keeps this task God was leading him to do to himself! V.11-12 After I arrived in Jerusalem and had been there three days, I got up at night and took a few men with me. I didn’t tell anyone what my God had laid on my heart to do for Jerusalem. The only animal I took[m] was the one I was riding.
What does he do? He prepares, inspects the ruins with diligence, and skillfully works out his project plan for the work and communication plan with the people. It was a time to be silent and prepare. When he finally speaks, he was fully anointed, equipped with knowledge and strength from within to speak to the people, gain commitment and respond to naysayers who later showed up in the story as big antagonists.
So I am sure you are wondering what does this mean to me.
If we draw a parallel to our lives today, knowing that we had FULL backing from the King, we would most likely arrive the Jerusalem with fanfare and noise, maybe some ‘righteous pride’…”I have landed and God has commissioned me to do this”…everyone would hear of the testimony of how God gave us favour before the King, we may not pray nor seek God as much (after all, the signs and evidence show “God is with us”, “We have favour to do this”).
I learned great lessons from these simple actions we see from Nehemiah and I asked myself these questions as –
1. How do I approach the things God tells me to do, even when I am willing and obedient; how do I seek God daily for divine wisdom to approach the task efficiently?
2. Do I submit to the Holy Spirit every step of the way to test and try every motive just to be sure I am doing it for the right reasons – that His glory is revealed in me?
3. Or do I run to my besties and go spilling the beans, asking for opinions, commentary and perhaps secretly hoping for some validation and commendation that only God will give me; then I get mad when they give some negative commentary or vibes?
4. Do I keep quiet, plan, organize prepare and keep the divine plan to myself and when confused, in despair I go back to God who placed it in my heart in the first place?
5. Do I speak in season?
As you would have guessed my answers to these questions were not a strong ‘Yes’, they were 50/50 in most cases. What were your own answers to these questions? For me, I have recognized that I lack the consistency and discipline required to achieve God’s plan in God’s way. Painful truth but I accept it and making adjustments daily with the Holy Spirit’s help.
Like with any lifestyle change, a worship lifestyle takes discipline and consistency of constant surrender to God; this comes by practice, again I say it takes deliberate, intentional practice. I am sure this was Nehemiah’s second nature that’s why his reactions were so natural and intuitive.
To master this, one of my favourite quotes comes to mind – We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit. Will Durant derived from Aristotle
Wishing the very Best of God revealed in you as you walk this journey of transformation with Him!