Does the enemy ever shut up?
Nehemiah walked way from his job, his title, his security, his entire life and surrendered to the bigger plan God had. With a caravan full of the King’s best men, he arrived in Jerusalem and secretly went into planning mode. He told no one what He intended to do. (Partially because he hasn't figured it out yet!) Each night he went out and surveyed the damage done to the wall. Assessing the damage allowed him to know where the work needed to start first. When the time came, he stepped out of hiding, rallied God’s people and put them to work on their ladders. Together they began the hard process of rebuilding.
No sooner had the work started on the inside wall, the voice of the enemy on the outside chimed in. Funny how quiet he is when we are busy living our lives for ourselves and not focusing on the things of the Kingdom because the minute we align ourselves with the bigger purpose of God, he starts in with his deceitful schemes.
Without a wall, the enemy surrounding the Israelites had the freedom to do whatever they wanted. They took advantage of God’s people, coming in and out at their will, stealing their goods and their women and reeking havoc on their city. Restored walls for the Israelites meant a change in pace for the enemy. No more taking advantage of those feeble Jews.
We have a real life enemy who pays careful attention when God steps into our lives with fresh rebuilding plans. He knows brokenness in our hands is nothing to worry about, but brokenness in His hands takes on new meaning. What He builds never falls. The enemy is present as we weep, he is there as we start to stand, he is watching as we hesitantly follow God into the secret place, but when we pull our ladders up to the wall and start to work, He gets worried. No way will he sit idly by while we climb to new heights with the Rebuilder. He will do whatever it takes to get our eyes back to those helpless, broken pieces. If he can bring us down, then he can stay in control.
I’m sure the enemy has noticed the progress you’ve made. No doubt, he has watched as you began to see those broken pieces through the eyes of Jesus. He is threatened by your growth. I promise. There is nothing he won’t try to bring you down. Are you a few steps up in your marriage this year? It's safe to say, he will target you there. Are you feeling confident and secure in your purpose and calling? Pay attention because he will try to lead you down the road of self doubt and insecurity. Are you trusting God with your finances and your future? Your enemy will work to weave doubt into your daily life any way he can. His goal is to deter you off the road God has you walking and he will use any form of manipulation to do so. Nothing is below him.
But you have the power to keep going.
Sometimes we simply don’t stop long enough to see who it is causing us to feel the way we feel. If it’s not the mind if Christ, then it’s not from Christ. Don’t allow the enemy to hold something over you simply because you have taken the time to slow down and recognize it.
“Be alert and of a sober mind. Your enemy, the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of suffering,”
1 Peter 5:8-9
Have you ever used those resistance bands during a workout? They might look harmless laying over there in the corner of the gym, but talk about deadly! Add a little resistance to any workout and the results go through the roof. Resistance isn’t a one time thing either. It’s a lifestyle. It’s something we walk in. We walk in resistance and when we do, the enemy will flee from us. Don’t let your guard down toward him. Keep on resisting. Over time your resistance muscles will grow and what you spend your time resisting now you won’t have to spend your time resisting later.
Replace his lies.
The enemy never stopped coming after Nehemiah. Over and over again he threw up his best shots. Nehemiah recognized, he resisted and then he replaced the threats. He fought back.
“Therefore I stationed some of the people behind the lowest points of the wall at the exposed places, posting them by families, with their swords spears and bows,”
Nehemiah didn’t bring people down off their ladders, he added another layer of people at the bottoms of the ladders with swords. Some worked and some guarded, both were essential to the climb. As we climb our ladders we must be sure to position people around us who are wiling to fight for us. I have great friends in my life. Friends who care more about God’s plans for me, than my plans for God. They know the place I want to be is a place of surrender and obedience. They also know sometimes the enemy has his way in what should be a simple task and they are more than willing to step in and fight for me.
I’m also at the bottom of a few ladders, helping to hold them steady as the winds of adversity blow and my friends above me struggle to rebuild what was once a shattered dream. From the bottom, I shout up reminders of who God is, what all He has done and what He promises to still do. We are better together.
“Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor. If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up,”