The first step when painting a canvas is to paint a thin layer of white primer. This helps in the sketching process, and allows certain parts of the canvas to expand so the paint holds longer. When I was thirteen I got my first big canvas, I had to paint some motorcycles for a silent auction. I was so excited to paint I started to sketch and didn’t think to put on primer. After the painting was finished, bubbles had formed in places where the paint wasn’t able to absorb properly. The canvas looked okay from a distance but with a closer look anyone could see the bubbled paint. I believe a similar problem happens with Christians. When we neglect to paint a spiritual primer our lives don’t produce true authentic beauty. The book of Nehemiah explains this idea deeply.
Nehemiah, tells of a time in biblical history when the walls of Jerusalem had been torn down by enemies of the Jews. The Lord laid on one mans heart to rebuild the walls of city. There was a deeper spiritual problem in this city, the people had strayed from God and were submerged in sin. Nehemiah challenges each man to build up the portion of the wall in front of his own house. Against great opposition from the enemy and deception in the city, the Israelites rebuild the walls and gates, with the power of the Lord. Every house was restored and the temple was being used to burn sacrifices once more. The Lord was being worshipped throughout the city, and praised for His great mercies and steadfast love. As I was reading this book the Lord showed me a view of greater spiritual truth, than just some people who rebuilt a wall. Nehemiah represents the power of God; the things we are capable of when close to God. The torn down walls is a representation of open areas in life for the devil to attack. And the people of Judah represent each persons natural sin nature.
In Nehemiah 2:20 he addresses the wicked who have destroyed the walls saying “The God of heaven will make us prosper, and we his servants will arise and build but you have no portion or right to claim in Jerusalem.” Step one to rebuilding spiritual walls, is reclaiming the space in your heart and life that satan has taken and giving it to the Lord. Nehemiah then reviews the state of the wall, ask God to revile areas that you need to give over to Him. I was challenged to make a list of things I wanted God to have victory over.
- God have victory over my fears/anxiety.
- God have victory over my depression and relationships.
- God have victory over my negative thoughts.
- God have victory over my guilt and failures.
- God have victory over the “what if’s” the consume my hopes.
- God have victory over self-harm and suicidal tendencies
God I give you all these things to bring your glory in, I will not allow them to drag me down or be used against me as Satan would love to see happen.
The enemy is going to fight against you even more when you start to rebuild spiritual walls. This this evident in Nehemiah chapter 4, those who destroyed the walls plotted together to fight and cause confusion amongst the work in Jerusalem. When Nehemiah heard of this he gathered the people together prayed and set guards as a protection. The next part of building spiritual walls is to set guards in your personal life. My understanding is this means to remove yourself from certain things that are distracting or may not bring glory to God.
For Example: Things I have began to remove from my life.
- horror movies,
- movies/tv shows with gay couples
- music with cursing, screaming, or drug references
- apps like SnapChat that I have no accountability for what is said
- speaking about people in a negative disrespectful way.
“So we labored at the work and half of them held spears from break of dawn until the stars came out.” This is my favorite part, because the people of Judah were facing serious attacks but they knew the work that the Lord had called them to was so much more valuable. I was reading about a man named Geoffrey Bull missionary who traveled through Tibet sharing the gospel in the 1950’s. This was the time in history when communist china was taking over much of asia and perecuting many missionaries. In Bulls autobiography he writes how all his fellow missionary friends were fleeing, but he stayed at the mission because he felt the Lord wanted him to do more work. In the last few months of Tibetian independance Geoffrey saw thousands of people come to know God as there savior, he saw the people fall on there faces in streets and pled with the Lord to spare them. Just before Geoffrey was captured by the red army and tortured for his faith, he made this remark, if I had not continued HIS work, and fled East like the other missionaries, these people would not know of the unfailing presistant God we serve. We have all been given the command to labor for His kingdom in witnessing and living for the Lord(Matthew 6). This is the last part of building or rebuilding spiritual walls, we are to serve the Lord and be committed to His work.
At the end of Nehemiah, after the people rebult the wall around the city. After they worshipped and gave thanks to the Lord for allowing them to complete the wall. After they burnt offering and made a vow to the Lord that they would follow His commandments. The people of Isreal still sinned against God and the house of God and did not keep His commandment. God still provided for His people inspite of this, He still gave His Son to use and provided a way for eternal salvation. What a encouragment to know that our Lords mercies never end. When we sin and hurt Him, He will never give up on us.