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 5
The theme of chapter 5 is Clean up your own yard and care for the poor
For too many leaders, their testimony is destroyed by sin or a failure to address sin. Think of Eli from the 1Samuel. He failed to address the sin of his sons and so was discredited in God’s eyes. Others in our modern world have chosen sin of all sorts over faithfully serving the Kingdom of God. What leads to such treachery and rebellion among God’s leaders? Greed, selfishness, lust, covetousness among others are the main suspects. But ultimately it is fear that causes us to turn to these idols instead of trusting in the one sovereign God. As a Spiritual leaders we must routinely clean up our own yard before we hope to reach our hands and hearts out to the lost and lead them to the hope and salvation that comes from God.
Nehemiah 5: 6
Part of the problem with current state of the American church is that we look around our comfortable middle class churches in our safe middle class neighborhoods and enjoy the pleasures and security that comes from our moral choices and God’s favor. We thank God that we don’t live in the inner city or some crime riddled neighborhood. We hear stories of injustice but since they don’t touch us personally we don’t really feel the emotion of it. But change the scenario for a moment and it is your family that is experiencing discrimination and suddenly your blood gets hot and you will demand justice. In part the solution lies with getting to know people outside of your comfort zone and honestly get to know more about their experiencing of oppression. As you build relationship it becomes more difficult to write it off as people simply whining or immoral people just getting what they deserve. Suddenly the media posts and stories will be exposed for the lies that they all express so that their side is heard. Instead of being required to trust outside sources your own experience will warm your blood. It is with this mindset and heart that we can sit before God and say, “What role do I play in this solution? Here I am send me.” Courage fills us and also wise direction. Suddenly you do more than simply re-share some Facebook news story. Instead, you write a story of your own experience.
One day you wake up and you are on fire and you partner with people who are different than you. You join forces with people who worship different than you. Your heart is lit with the desire to see truth exposed and injustice cured. But that can only happen if we begin to really feel the pain of injustice.
Nehemiah pauses and thinks before he takes action. He has allowed himself to deeply feel the pain. Too many people go off half cocked and fail to address the real issue. They might have some temporary success but in the long run the problem will continue to rear its ugly head. We must find the source of the injustice. Nehemiah points to the source, leaders. He boldly points out their sin. This is definitely not politically correct. We live in a world that does not really believe in sin. They like to say that sin can be defined by each person. Let me keep this simple. Anything that violates Jesus’ definition of the Ten Commandments is sin. True we in this nation today talk about degrees of sin. God does not seem to differentiate between a white lie and a bald face lie. According to Matthew’s Gospel Jesus does not even see a difference between calling your brother a fool and murder. All injustice starts with sin in the heart. The sin of committing the injustice is the same as ignoring the injustice because it does not affect you personally.
Any movement that does not base its solution on addressing the sin issue first is doomed to failure in the long run. Now I want to also point out that what I am calling for here is not only to look to your enemies sin, but to our own. I love to point out the sin of those that oppose me. But I am not so excited to consider my own sin. Did I think of murdering that racist? That is sin. Did I allow hate to fill my soul when that homosexual boldly expressed their opinion. That is sin. Let us take time to repent and turn to God for the sin of hate, murder, sexual immorality, prejudice, cowardliness and whatever other sins that we have committed. As a Spiritual leader, I must repent of my failure to act. I must boldly ask the Creator to search me and know me, to show me ANY wicked thought in my being.