So we continued the work with half the men holding spears, from the first light of dawn till the stars came out. ~Nehemiah 4:1
Nehemiah was a man with a vision: to rebuild the city of Jerusalem. He gathered a large group of men to come down with him from Persia to Israel to rebuild the lost city of God’s chosen people. However, Nehemiah soon found opposition and the men working for him had to defend the wall as they worked on it. Groups were sent to attack the city and try to kill Nehemiah. However, Nehemiah’s men soon adapted, half of them guarded the wall while the other half built it, and everyone had to guard the city at night.
This is a great image of how we need to live our lives: by doing our work for the Lord but being prepared for the attacks of the enemy. As Christians we are often are unprepared when obstacles come our way. One day we are growing in God and are doing great works for the Kingdom; the next we find ourselves fallen and off the path. But if we act like Nehemiah’s workers, working with one hand and fighting with the other, we can continue to do good works for God while defending ourselves.
The Bible tells us that each person has a specific purpose in God’s plan: “In Him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of Him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will,” (Eph 1:11). No matter where you are in life, God has placed you there for a reason. Maybe he wants you to reach out to your friends who are struggling. Or maybe he wants you to share the gospel with your co-workers. Pray to God and ask Him to lead you towards this purpose he has for you. You’ll be amazed with the work God has in store for you!
Yet as we work we have to be prepared for the challenges we will face. 1 Cor 10:12 says that we need to be careful if we think we are standing right because we could fall if we don’t defend ourselves! As we work, two things can get in the way: our own human nature and the attacks from the enemy. Sometimes, we stop working or the work becomes hard when we get greedy or lazy. These are things that we as humans have in our sinful nature that we need Jesus to help us overcome. Other times, Satan comes to stop us from working for God and tries to hit us in our weak spots or where we don’t protect ourselves.
To protect ourselves as we work and grow in God, we need to develop the Armor of God (Eph 6:10-18). With the Armor on, we can fight against Satan with the different pieces of armor. When Satan sees us standing for God and fighting back, he will flee from us (James 4:7).
So pray to God to help you be on guard as you grow in Him and work for the Kingdom. Study the Armor of God and put it on, and remember to fight the enemy away when he comes!