The Danger of Distractions

Good works don’t save you but you are saved in order to do good works!
 
The moment you start creating movement on behalf of the things that matter to God, your spiritual enemy will show up and try to resist the very work that God put in your heart.
 

If your enemy can’t destroy you, he will distract you.

 

1. The Distraction of Opportunities (Nehemiah 6:1–2)

 
What we often see as an opportunity, God sees as a distraction. There’s never been an easier time to be distracted in the history of the world than it is today. Today it’s so easy to become great at doing things that don’t matter. It’s never been easier to be passionate about wasting your time. In order to accomplish great things, you must learn to say no to some good things. See Nehemiah 6:3–4.
 
We must be strategic about our “no”. We don’t say “no” because we don’t care. We say “no” because we really do care about what God has called us to do. Just because you could do something, doesn’t mean you should do something.
(Verse 3) I am doing a good work and cannot come down. What, right now, is a constant distraction from the good work you should be doing — as a Christian, spouse, parent, etc.?
 
See 1 Corinthians 15:58. Evaluate new opportunities in light of God’s higher call upon your life. Remember that staying focused on a good work means sometimes saying “no”.
 

2. The Distraction of Rumors (Nehemiah 6:5–7)

 
Don’t let the whispers of people distract you from the work of God. You will never do big things if you’re distracted by small-minded people. We’re never gonna let the opinions of others or rumors take us away from the calling and good work of God.
 
Don’t worry about what people say about you. Worry about what’s true about you. Just live a life that honors God and don’t let the critics, don’t let the haters knock you out of God’s mission.
 
How did Nehemiah respond to the rumor? See Nehemiah 6:8–9. Instead of letting it discourage or distract him, it steadied him and made him more determined in the good work. Notice Nehemiah’s prayer: “Now strengthen my hands.” His prayer was for him to stay strong and stay focused in the midst of the rumors, distractions, and gossip of his enemies.
 
Do not let someone else’s opinion of you disrupt God’s calling for you! See Psalm 90:17.
 

3. The Distraction of Entitlement (Nehemiah 6:10–13)

 
This might sound like a good and noble idea, right? But it was a trap — an attempt to trick Nehemiah into overstepping his authority and preserving himself by exercising his power for personal gain. It was attempt to give Nehemiah a bad name — to discredit him.
 
Do not allow external success to do internal damage to your heart. Isn’t it true that personal success can often lead to a sense of personal entitlement? One of the biggest dangers of any kind of success is the temptation to start leading with an entitled spirit.
 

The good work God has for you isn’t about you, it’s about Him and His mission.

 

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When You Can’t Take It Anymore

Read: Nehemiah 1:1–3.
 
For nearly a century, the Jewish remnant had been back in their own land, and Nehemiah could have joined them; but he chose to remain in the palace. God put Nehemiah in Susa. When God wants to accomplish a work, He always prepares His workers and puts them in the right places at the right time.
 

God has a good work for you to do right now, right where you are!

 
What do you do when you see something that bothers you deeply and you can’t take it anymore? Three phases to begin your good work.
 

1. Sit Down and Cry (Nehemiah 1:4)

 
The first thing we see Nehemiah do is what you may end up doing at some point of your life. You sit down and let whatever it is, the injustice in the world actually break your own heart.
 
When Nehemiah heard the news he didn’t do what’s so often the easy thing to do — brush it off. Instead, he sat down, he broke down and he started to cry.
 
What breaks your heart? What is it that burdens you? What is it that creates a righteous anger? What is it that burdens your soul? Let it in. Let it wash over you. Let it move you.
 
I don’t worry when every now and then something breaks my heart and moves me to the point of tears. Rather, I worry when it’s been a long time since that has happened. I want my heart to be tender, to be broken by the things that break the heart of God.
 

2. Kneel Down to Pray (Nehemiah 1:4)

 
If it’s big enough to cry about, it’s big enough to pray about. If your heart is broken and deeply touched by a need, sit to cry and then kneel to pray. Nehemiah’s prayer confesses his own sin, confesses the sins of his people and brings to remembrance God’s promises and God’s faithfulness in the past (See Nehemiah 1:5-11). We see Nehemiah praying several times throughout this book.
 

What you pray about reflects what you believe about God.


If our only prayers are bless this food and keep me safe and give me a good day, you really don’t believe the real powerful God. But when you ask God to stretch you, to use you, when you pray for the impossible, you believe in the power and the glory of a good God.
 
Through prayer, the burden grows and the vision narrows. Real prayer keeps your heart and your head in balance so your burden doesn’t make you impatient to run ahead of the Lord and ruin everything. As we pray, God tells us what to do, when to do it, and how to do it; and all are important to the accomplishing of the will of God.
 

3. Stand Up and Act (Nehemiah 2:1-5)

 
If God places that burden on your heart, He is wanting you to do something about it! But who am I? I’m not…(fill-in-the-blank). You don’t have to be appointed by man if you are called by God. You don’t have to be chosen by people if God prompts your heart, stirs your spirit, gives you a burden. You just step into it. Trust him and watch him act. Feel the presence of God stirring you.
 

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