“Guess what? Here’s my plan. I’m so excited. I had this great idea an hour ago and I just know I want to follow through on it. It will mean some humongous changes and it will take a great deal of effort – hey, but I’m not a wimp. I can handle it.”

Maybe you’re not a wimp. Perhaps you have a strong personality and you are equipped with loads of will-power and sheer determination. You’re like a bulldozer: you can plow your way through. That could be an asset, but it could also be your major liability and downfall. If you have a forward or assertive or aggressive tendency, you could have major heartaches in life, if you allow those tendencies to go unbridled by the Holy Spirit.

And besides, you just had the idea an hour ago or a day ago or even a week ago? Aren’t you rushing things a bit? There are two sides to spontaneity: it can be incredibly refreshing, but it can also be unquestionably stupid.

Consider the exemplary leader – Nehemiah. After weeks – possibly four months of praying and careful planning and getting the necessary permission from the King, he heads towards the stricken city of Jerusalem – the city of his people. He is on a mission to rebuild the defenses of the city.

He arrives in Jerusalem. He spends three days getting his bearings. He’s not blabbing to everyone he meets about what God has given him to do. He doesn’t shoot-off like a firearm half-cocked. He goes out after dark, (yes, after dark) very quietly, inconspicuously, without making a scene and without announcing his intentions to friends or foes – to inspect the various gates and walls of the city.

Here’s what he said:

I told no one what my God had put into my heart to do for Jerusalem. Nehemiah 2:12

Not only did he hide his intentions from potential enemies or critics, he chose to delay telling even those who would support the project.

The officials did not know where I had gone or what I was doing, and I had not yet told the Jews, the priests, the nobles, the officials and the rest who were to do the work. Nehemiah 2:16

Was Nehemiah being connivingly secretive with ulterior motives, or was he moving in the fear of the Lord with great caution and wisdom?

If God has placed a burden on your heart to do something for Himself and if you feel He has equipped or gifted you to do that work – proceed humbly and quietly, in the fear of the Lord, with plenty of tears over your burden.

It’s a worrisome signal when a Christian is anxious and quite talkative about his or her ‘call’ to do something for the Lord. In God’s good timing, you will have to share the burden the Lord has given you with others. But, be sure it’s God’s timing and not your efforts to promote yourself. Our hearts are treacherous.

Read the little book of Nehemiah and consider his humility and his continued dependence on the Lord, as God enabled him to lead others in doing the work of the Lord.

Walk carefully and closely with the Lord today.

Warmly in Christ
Peter Ramsay

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