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.
When a Spiritual leader stops and examines him or her self honestly, repents and turns whole heartedly to God ; there will be a response from God’s people. This is the power of influence.
Imagine this happening in your church. Your pastor spends a week away from the congregation. Maybe he goes to the beach or the mountains. He is mostly unreachable for several days. Then he steps up to the pulpit after a time of meaningful worship and with obvious sorrow he repents of making success and idol. He has put the success of his position, his image and his destiny above the will of God. Tears fill his eyes as he reports this. He declares that he has not honored his parents, he has had lustful thoughts and has not always told the complete truth. He tells you that he has told “white lies” where his intension was to protect someone’s feelings but now he realizes that he was actually only protecting himself from and uncomfortable conversation. Lying is lying, he shares. He goes through most of the Ten Commandments and makes an honest confession. How powerful would that be? Now imagine that happening within the entire church. What kind of impact could that have on a city?
My friends, this is how the world gets changed. This is how we begin to see the launching of the Next Great Awakening.
For too many people confession is the end. We must stay there for a season, feeling the sorrow and the pain of our choices. Live in the burden of having offended a Savior that died for us. But we must move on. Like most of Nehemiah we see prayer followed by action. New activities must replace the old. It is too easy to allow sinful lifestyle choices to creep back in. We get too comfortable and soon we are back to our ancient idol worship. Make your faith active. Publically declare your changes.
NOTE: New studies are showing that we should share our personal goals with a small group of trusted friends and encourage them to push us. Sharing these with everyone often makes us feel as if we have already done it all.
Loudly and proudly declare the changes that your family will make together, what your organization will become in the days and weeks to come. Go public and keep beating the drum on what is now new.
All of this will cost you. Some will think less of you because you have cried in public or because you are no longer on the pedestal. Remember that you were never meant to be on the pedestal in the first place. Jesus is to be in that place. If you are on the pedestal, who is your god? So today choose who you will serve. Choose today to pay the price.
The work he has been doing in this chapter was important but he does not wish to lose focus. It is time to get back to making Jerusalem the sanctuary for God’s people.
Live today to get God’s approval. In the long run that is all that counts anyway.