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If you asked people what the definition of success is, no doubt you would get many different answers as there are people. For some success would mean having a lot of money and being in a position of authority while some would think that success is being popular or having several academic degrees.

In the bible we learn that success is about discovering and doing the will of God for your life. It is discovering your God-given gifts and using them to fulfill your God-given destiny. It is a commitment to fulfilling the purposes for which you were created in the first place. Looking at our passage today, Nehemiah is such character who understood his God-given mission and committed to pursue it to completion. From the time he initiated the project of rebuilding the wall of Jerusalem, Nehemiah was met with ridicule, physical threats and in chapter six he is faced with distractions.

Life is full of distractions and naturally people are so easily distracted. You agree with me that there are so many times you wake up planning to accomplish a lot in that day only to retire in bed in the evening and realize you did a whole lot of good things but not the main things or things you had set as priorities.

The enemy is hard at work keeping people and especially Christians very busy and occupied with so many things so that they have no time to think about their core business, knowing God and making him known. The work of rebuilding the wall is almost finished and Nehemiah's enemies realize that they can't stop it by force and so they choose a more subtle approach to distract his mission. Remember in the previous chapter (5) we have not heard about

Sanballat and his colleagues but in chapter 6 they are back. Earlier they attacked externally but here they go personal. Cyril Barber says, “when Sanballat and his co-conspirators realized that they have been outmaneuvered, outgeneraled, and outwitted by Nehemiah, they decided to attack him personally ….. Their wounded pride will not be appeased until Nehemiah has been humiliated”.

How then did Nehemiah deal with distractions thrown to him by the enemy?

Firstly, when he was invited to take up an opportunity, he turned it down and continued to pursue his God-given mission (vs. 2-3). In Verse 3 Nehemiah responded “I am doing a great work, so that I cannot come down, why should the work cease while I leave it and go down to you?”

Nehemiah appears to be very subtle as well in his approach. He keeps his eyes on God's agenda and chooses the wise way out of the situation. Nehemiah understood his priority. He knew the difference between good and best, good and important. Andy Stanley says “To accomplish the important things you must learn to say no to some good things”. Secondly, when Nehemiah was faced with gossip and rumors, he responded with truth and resigned to the Lord in prayer. In verse 8 Nehemiah says “No such things as you say are being done, but you invent them in your own
heart”. That was the correct state of affairs; Nehemiah had no intentions to overthrow the King.

Warren Wiersbe contends “if we take care of our character, we can trust God to take care of our reputation”. Nehemiah dismisses the rumor as untrue, turns to the Lord for strength and continues with the work. Finally, when the enemy tries to instill fear, Nehemiah chooses to obey God. He said “should such a man as I flee? And who is there such as I who would go into the temple to save his life? I will not go in!”

The trick here was to make Nehemiah look like a religious rebel (see Numbers 18:7) because making him one politically did not work but Nehemiah trusted and believed in Gods power to save. Like earlier said, people are naturally easily distracted and as Christians we are never spared. Like Nehemiah we must stay our course, fight the good fight of faith by asking the Lord to give us wisdom and discernment to resist the devils schemes and distractions. (see Psalm 27:1, Isaiah 43:1-2, 1 Peter 5:8, John 17:4, 2 Timothy 4:7)

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Lavington United Church was founded in 1960 through a joint effort of the Anglican Church of Kenya (ACK), Methodist Church of Kenya (MCK) and the Presbyterian Church of East Africa (PCEA) as a community church to minister to the Lavington community. <<Read full History>>

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