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?
Consider an overarching theme throughout this chapter as Identity. If you want to be a man or woman of God taking a stand and bringing justice and freedom to this fallen world you must start with the issue of Identity as we will explore in this blog post and the next several. Throughout ask yourself these questions.
Who am I?
When am I living?
Where am I?
Honestly journal and meditate on these questions. Do not simply give a quick answer. Who am I really? Consider all of your roles. Who am I as a father? Who am I as a husband? Who am I as a church member? Who am I as a leader? Who am I as a follower? Take your time. Look for the character traits, habits, strengths and weaknesses that come out in each role? What is your character like? What are your fears, concerns and dreams? All of these come together and create a definition of you. If you are really courageous after creating your own self assessment, go find out what other people think? This is scary but be open to their perceptions. You may not have intended to come across as mean or distant but maybe you do. No excuses. This is how others see you. What do you need to change?
Look at the season of history you are living in. We are in a world with big problems. What solutions can you bring? What are the influences, the debates and the questions that seem to surface? As I read history I wonder just how many realized the historical impact that they were making at the time. What will others say about this generation in 100 years? Will they mention that we fell short? Will they refer to us as the greatest generation? There are entire portions of history that we routinely gloss over because so little happened. Do we want to be glossed over? Honestly assess our time of history.
You are in a specific place at a specific time. Where is that? Focus your energy there. I dream of teaching and preaching around the world. But I must focus here and now and wait on God to provide opportunities to do the other. What does this community need? Where are the hurting people? (Jesus seemed to spend most of his time with those that were hurting so if I want to be with Jesus and guesses where I should be?) Who in this community can help me move toward God’s dream for my life? What resources are available here? What is the culture around you? What are the foreign gods in your community? Where are the pagan temples? (They are in most communities if you open your eyes. Think strip clubs, abortion providers, cult churches, etc).
Take time to routinely assess these questions. We will have more assessments throughout this series. Know yourself in the midst of your time and culture.
Nehemiah was the cupbearer to the king of Persia. He was there because his nation had abandoned God and chased after idols. The culture around him was completely pagan and vile. They worshiped sex, wealth, violence and power. Does that sound familiar?
As a cupbearer, Nehemiah was expendable but trusted. Every day at work could easily be his last day. As we will see being in that sort of situation gave him specific habits and talents that God could use to accomplish His will in the life of Nehemiah.