A Look at Nehemiah: Where’s Your Focus?

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I’m so happy that iPhones have the function to send audio messages—seriously, it’s great. Instead of having to type out my message on the tiny keyboard or have a phone conversation with someone, I can just send a message containing a steady stream of all my thoughts and I can hear their response back to me at my own leisure. But this feature has highlighted just how distracted I can be. My message can be easily derailed if something unusual comes into my line of sight or another thought pops into my head. 

I feel like that’s how life is a lot of the time. We’ll be focused on one thing and then, out of nowhere, something else catches our attention. Even as I’m writing this post, I’ve been distracted by the dog, text messages, laundry that needs folding, emails coming in, and a social media post I had forgotten to post.

But what about when the distractions are a little more sinister?

Yesterday, we discussed how Nehemiah and his entire team prayed and entrusted the build to God, confident that the work they began, God was going to finish. But the people didn’t just pray, they diligently worked, even though their task was difficult and the opposition was immense. They were being mocked every single day and yet they didn’t give up. 

“So we built the wall. And all the wall was joined together to half its height, for the people had a mind to work.Nehemiah 4:6 (ESV, emphasis added)

When opposition comes how do you react?

A recurring theme throughout the Bible is that opposition will comea topic none of us want to discuss. Jesus didn’t promise that life would be easy, in fact, he said the exact opposite: we will experience trouble in this world. Things will be hard, emotions will get hurt, relationships will be messy, we will have to ask for and extend forgiveness, and we will have to endure and overcome some things. There will be people who will mock us and try to shame us. People will oppose us, yell at us, curse at us, and yet, we’re called to endure.

And that’s exactly what Nehemiah and his team of builders did. Despite the fact that they were knee-deep into an impossible task, they continued to work. They didn’t get disappointed or discouraged when things were slow-going or difficult. They didn’t give up in the face of mockery or strong opposition. They didn’t crawl into the fray and fight with those who were against them. Their method was simple: pray, work, repeat.

If I had been Nehemiah or been part of his merry band of builders, I would’ve gotten distracted, not just by the opposition, but by life. In his book, Finish, Jon Acuff talks about a noble obstacle, a thing that you focus on that distracts you from what you really need to do. Like when I should be working on a blog post but I spend my time searching for stock photos or creating a social media campaign instead. These aren’t bad things, but they’re less important than the main thing. Had I been Nehemiah, I probably would’ve gotten distracted by some little detail that was irrelevant to the overall build, but would’ve made me feel productive.

Have you ever gotten distracted from your God-given mission? It could’ve been because of time or circumstances or a noble obstacle or even just some bad advice. You could’ve been discouraged by the words of another or the beliefs you currently hold. No matter the reason, maybe today God is inviting you to take a step toward that vision today.

Let’s return our eyes to Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, so we can run well the race set before us!

What is God calling you to do in this season? 

What baby step can you take today toward that?

To go Deeper: Read Returning to Base, The Baby Step Method

Disclosure: some links in this post are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase. 

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