I don’t normally quote Mike Tyson, but in advance of his 1988 boxing match with Michael Spinks he was told that Spinks had stated that he had a plan to beat Mike Tyson. Tyson responded by saying, “Everybody has a plan until they get hit.” Tyson won the fight by knocking Spinks out in 91 seconds. The truth is YOU WILL GET HIT! Disaster happens to all of us. Today we are going to take a look at the great Wall Builder Nehemiah to find a process for how to rebuild when the walls of our life are torn down.
1) IDENTIFY THE PROBLEM
Nehemiah 1:3 And they said unto me, The remnant that are left of the captivity there in the province are in great affliction and reproach: the wall of Jerusalem also is broken down, and the gates thereof are burned with fire.
The first thing we must do is identify the main problem area in our life that we are striving to rebuild. I have known people who have not received the memo that there is actually a problem in their life. Their family sees it, everyone around them can see it, but they are clueless. The only way that you can grow is that you have to realize that growth is needed. Maya Angelou stated, “Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.” Gather knowledge around you like Nehemiah did to understand what the problem is. Once you KNOW BETTER then you can put what you have learned into an action plan and DO BETTER.
2) SPEND TIME IN PRAYER
Nehemiah 1:4 And it came to pass, when I heard these words, that I sat down and wept, and mourned certain days, and fasted, and prayed before the God of heaven.
I once heard a story about a pastor that had an interesting counseling method. His secretary would schedule his daily calendar 30 minutes “behind.” Once you arrived for your appointment with the pastor at 3:00 the secretary would then say, the pastor will meet with you in 30 minutes and has requested that you take this time in the prayer room to pray until he is ready for you. It was said that only about 20% of the scheduled meetings would take place because once people had actually prayed about the problem they would find resolution. We should take our need to God BEFORE we take it to anyone else.
3) SEEK COUNCIL
Nehemiah 2:5-6 And I said unto the king, If it please the king, and if thy servant have found favour in thy sight, that thou wouldest send me unto Judah, unto the city of my fathers’ sepulchres, that I may build it. And the king said unto me, (the queen also sitting by him,) For how long shall thy journey be? and when wilt thou return? So it pleased the king to send me; and I set him a time.
My pastor, Rev. Mark Hopper, taught me that people usually come to you for two reasons: 1) Informing you of what they are going to do 2) Seeking Godly wisdom for what they should do. He said, “you can only help people who are desiring help. Nehemiah approached the king “empty handed.” He did not approach him with a directive, he approached him humbly. Once he concluded, the king then asked him two questions, “For how long shall thy journey be? and when wilt thou return?” We must be humble when approach the king for direction in our lives and we must also be humble when he questions our plans.
4) CREATE A PLAN
Nehemiah 2:17 Then said I unto them, Ye see the distress that we are in, how Jerusalem lieth waste, and the gates thereof are burned with fire: come, and let us build up the wall of Jerusalem, that we be no more a reproach.
I believe that it is imperative that you have a plan for rebuilding your life! However, I feel the plan should only come AFTER prayer and consultation with leaders. Even after prayer and council you must remain flexible. John C. Maxwell said this well, “Failed plans should not be interpreted as a failed vision. Visions don’t change, they are only refined. Plans rarely stay the same, and are scrapped or adjusted as needed. Be stubborn about the vision, but flexible with your plan.”
5) ASK FOR HELP
Nehemiah 2:18 Then I told them of the hand of my God which was good upon me; as also the king’s words that he had spoken unto me. And they said, Let us rise up and build. So they strengthened their hands for this good work.
My daughter Rose, is one of the most independent people I have ever known. Her favorite line is, “Dad, I can do it MYSELF!” On Thanksgiving morning she rolled off her bed onto the wood floor and broke her collarbone. The nurse was going over everything that happened and was explaining to Rose she would be in a sling till after Christmas. Rose asked with complete bewilderment, “How will I eat with one arm? How will I get dressed?” The nurse said patiently, “You will have to let people help you!” The truth is, if you don’t know how to allow people to help you, life has a way of forcing our hand! Nehemiah was willing to share his vision with the people and ask for their help and they “strengthened their hands for this good work.” Who do you need to ask for help in order for you to complete the current plans in your life?
6) GO TO WORK
Nehemiah 4:6 So built we the wall; and all the wall was joined together unto the half thereof: for the people had a mind to work.
The people did not work haphazardly. Nehemiah organized them by families and set them to work according to planned priorities, beginning with the cities gates. Nehemiah put a lot of work into realizing his vision. Without his great leadership and careful planning, the wall may never have been built. Dr. John C. Maxwell states, “Your goal must have the INSPIRATION of God’s Spirit, but it must also have the PERSPIRATION of a plan!” James 2:17 says it like this, “Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.” God desires for us to have faith and vision, but He also expects us to pick up a shovel and get our hands dirty!
7) COMPLETE THE MISSION
Nehemiah 6:15-16 So the wall was finished in the twenty and fifth day of the month Elul, in fifty and two days. And it came to pass, that when all our enemies heard thereof, and all the heathen that were about us saw these things, they were much cast down in their own eyes: for they perceived that this work was wrought of our God.
If you are like me, you probably are very confused when life tears your walls down. Most of us are not comfortable with the PROCESS of having our life dismantled. However, if we will be patient and trust God, most of us will be content with the PRODUCT that God reveals in us. John Calvin made a powerful statement worth considering, “You must submit to supreme suffering in order to discover the completion of joy.” Whatever rebuilding process you are currently enduring, hang in there. Complete the mission that God has embarked you on. You will come out as a city with fortified walls!