I read in Nehemiah how he rose up and built, and like him, there are many areas in my life that I want God to bless. On the other hand, God has gently said many times, “Rise up, but first be still.”
This year my word or theme for the year has been, “Be still.” Although, this is not the theme I wanted.
I’m not good at being still. In fact, it’s one of the toughest lessons I’ve had to work on as I’ve grown in my walk with Christ. Although,
learning to be still, waiting on the Lord, and being content in each season has always been the exact thing God has taught me before He has allowed growth in my life.jackie marie carr
During the time my husband was a youth pastor, he once did a series with the teens on Wednesday night. The message series was entitled, “Content with a vision.” Out of all of Dan’s messages, this was probably one of my favorite thoughts he shared. Philippians 4:11 says,
“Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.”As I mentioned in my previous blog post about this topic, be still doesn’t mean do nothing. (You can read it here.)
Content is being sufficient with what you have, but that doesn’t mean you don’t have a vision for your future and a plan to get it done.
The Bible says that without a vision the people perish. But I’m willing to be patient and content during the process of growth. I won’t compare myself to others. I’m sufficient, because God told me I am. My sufficiency is of Him.
“Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God.”II Corinthians 3:5
Colossians 2:10 says, “And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power:”
In Nehemiah, we read about how he was so distraught over his city being burned. In chapter 2 he says, “The God of heaven, he will prosper us; therefore we his servants will arise and build:” Nehemiah was so grieved that his grief immediately inspired the desire of action. He wanted to do something about the state of his city.
However, before Nehemiah rose up and built, you find an interesting pattern that I think we can apply.
I love the verse in Psalm 11:3 which says, “If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do?” Before we rise up and build, I believe there are some key principles of being still that we can take away from Scripture to give us a strong foundation in our work for Christ.
Before Nehemiah built, chapter 1 verse 4 says that when Nehemiah heard the news he sat down and wept, and mourned certain days, and fasted, and prayed before the God of heaven.
We don’t know how many days he set aside to fast and pray. I believe this amount of time could be different for each person. But the important thing to remember is that before Nehemiah began his work, he fasted and prayed.
I’ll never forget the first time my husband had the desire to leave where we were because he knew God wanted him to pastor.
I remember it like it was yesterday. I was pregnant with my second son, and was headed out early that morning for my run. My husband said to me, “When you pray would you pray that God will open a door for us to pastor a church somewhere?” My husband was the assistant pastor with his dad and loved it. Little did I know, though, 10 years would go by before God answered that prayer.
In James 4:10 Scripture says, “Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.” I love that God’s Word gives us the exact anecdote for humbling ourselves. The very next verse it says that we aren’t supposed to speak evil of our brothers and sisters in Christ.
The verses before give us a nice outline of how we can Rise Up, but first be still.
James 4:6 says, “God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.”
Humble, in this passage, is a lowly spirit. On the other hand, it could also be someone brought low with grief, depressed, or humiliated. In addition, the proud according to Strong’s Concordance is one appearing above others.
Righteousness is never a cloak to give us preeminence over people. The closer we are to Christ, the lower we will go to serve.Jackie Marie Carr
James 4:7 says, “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” We have to realize who we are in Christ and how weak our flesh is without Him.
Submitting yourself to God is a military term, “to rank under” to subject yourself and be obedient to.
It’s our responsibility to know God’s Word. This is how he speaks to us. How are we going to know how to obedient and how to submit if we don’t know what He has said? We must first know how to be obedient so that we can withstand the Devil.
Next, I love James 4:8a which says, “Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you.”
I believe another key to being able to rise up and many times from the dust and ashes of life, we must draw close to God.
Many times it’s through the dust and ashes that many people want to run the opposite direction of God, because doing right in tough situations seems the hardest to do.JACKIE MARIE CARR
But God’s promise is that if we will draw close to Him, He will draw near to you. I know I need God every second, every minute, and every moment of every day! I’m thankful He’s just a breath away.
I’m not sure what task is before you. Maybe you are faced with a broken marriage or you’re a mama trying to do your best to raise your babies through exhaustion. Maybe God has put something in your heart. First, be still, draw near to God, wait on Him, be patient, humble yourself in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up. Maybe you’re not strong in your flesh to rise up, but give it to Him. He will do it for you.
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