Thursday, August 20, 2015

Guarding Your Life

This summer my church has been studying the book of Nehemiah. The life of Nehemiah has inspired me! Let me share some of his story. Nehemiah had received his brother’s report about Jerusalem while he was living in Susa. King Artaxerxes granted Nehemiah permission to travel to Jerusalem to rebuild the wall. It only took fifty-two days to rebuild the wall. From the time he first heard about the problem when he was in Susa until the wall was completed was only nine months. Nehemiah’s job wasn’t to just rebuild the wall, but to establish the people of God as a mature community of people living within the walls of Jerusalem. Basically he was called to Urban Renewal.

After the wall is rebuilt Nehemiah is called to establish God's people in the city of Jerusalem. Now that Nehemiah has men, he can trust, in the leadership roles he gives them directions to keep the gates shut (read Nehemiah 7:3). I find it significant that he puts such an emphasis on keeping the gates shut and having men there to guard them. 

Its almost like Nehemiah has just established the first neighborhood watch program. His actions reveal that Nehemiah was still concerned about Jerusalem. There was still a possibility of invasion from the enemy who opposed the rebuilding of the wall. There was another invasion he is concerned about also, a more subtle invasion. This was the invasion of thoughts and ideas coming through the gates that could undermine the work of God.

Let me ask you a few questions. Are you guarding the gates around your own life? Do you have things you just won’t let in? Sure, you lock your doors to keep your home safe at night. You lock your car so no one steals it. But do you have gates on your phone to protect your walk with the Lord? Do you have gates on your conversations at work with people of the opposite gender to protect your marriage from adultery? Do you have gates to prevent yourself from falling into addiction? The reason we don’t put up gates is because its hard work!

Let me get personal on the need for gates in our lives. You might know that I have an addictive personality. I started drinking alcohol at the age of 13. I’ve been arrested multiple times for alcohol related instances, the first being when I was 17 years old. When I was 20 I surrendered my life to the Lord and made a commitment to follow Him. I knew that meant I needed to give up alcohol, I needed to put up a gate in my life to keep alcohol out because I am not the kind of person who can have just one drink. This has been a gate I’ve had to reinforce, lock shut and fight to keep in place. There have been many times that I wanted to have just one sip but I know, if I start drinking again, sooner or later I’m going to end up back in jail.

I’ve keep this gate up for 15 years now and have to fight daily to keep it in place because its still a struggle for me. I have other gates up too, gates to keep porn out, gates to stay away from gambling, gates to avoid overspending because I’ve seen how destructive these temptations have been for me. When talking about gates in our lives, I’m not saying we shut ourselves off from the world but we do guard ourselves from the impurity of the world.

1 comment:

Marie-Anne Poudret said...

Thank you Neil for your personal testimony illustrating the book of Nehemiah. I will keep you in my prayers for now on. Keeping a guard on each door is a hard task! Know that the Spirit of the Lord is with you every step of the way. You may rest in the knowledge that in His love for you He will keep watch when you can't.