We are a nation and a world desperate for men and women of God to lead. Today you begin or continue that journey. As Joshua directed the people of Israel I also direct you, “Choose this day who you will serve.” As leaders in this modern world we can be tempted to follow the latest fad or chase after money, fame or power. Will you serve those idols or will you choose to serve the King of Kings and Lord of Lords?
Read Nehemiah chapter 9
The theme of chapter 9 is Repentance
If you long to be a true Spiritual Leader we must start with repentance. We are a fallen people. Yet this whole idea of confession and repenting of our sins seems to be a lost art in the modern church.
Remember the prayer of Nehemiah in chapter 1? He not only looked at the sin he personally committed but also those of the community. Why? This is a fact that is easily missed in our world. Many of us benefit from the sins of others. Consider the issue of racism. Take it further back and think about slavery. I did not ever own slaves in my entire life. My grandparents, nor any family member ever owned slaves. In many ways it would be easier if they or I had. If that had happened than it would be a simple thing to repent and work to go make things right. My sin would feel personal and I would feel a deep compulsion to rectify the situation.
I have come to realize though that I live a life of preference (because I am white) because of the attitudes and mindset of people of all nations. That stems back to slavery and was continued on from there in laws and teaching across the globe. I have benefited from the sin. While this seems separate from me, I must stop and repent and work to make things right anyway. Now honestly, I don’t know where this starts. Feeling bad is not the objective. But a first step is to honestly feel the pain of this experience, seek to understand the oppression of other peoples. Then take that deep sorrow to God and ask Him how to move forward. I must seek His forgiveness first and foremost.
There are many areas to look at as we work through this process of repentance. Some things will easily come to mind, others we will discover as time goes on. But ask God to show you not only your sins but where you have personally benefited from the sin of others.
What we see here in Nehemiah is the whole community coming together and repenting like Nehemiah did in chapter 1. They fully participate in that confession moving toward repentance which ultimately leads to a transformed community.
Remember that repentance is not feeling sorry for the wrongs and the sins, but rather to feel deeply the sorrow we have caused the Father and then move forward to take action and do something about it. In nearly every community there is much talk and request for more research and delays until after the next election. Talk is cheap and typically little is accomplished by it. It is time for the Spiritual Leaders to pray, seek God and take action.
Nehemiah prays, then takes action. That is his pattern that is the pattern of the spiritual leader.