“And I said, Should such a man as I flee? and who is there, that, being as I am, would go into the temple to save his life? I will not go in.”
With the wall nearing completion, the enemies of Nehemiah were doing all they could to stop him. They had a plot to murder him, spread rumors about him, and were now trying to get him to hide away to ruin his reputation.
Ephesians 2 tells us we are saved by grace, not works. James 2:18 says “Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.” and Philippians 2:12 says “continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling,” Put all these together and you find a living God who wants us to seek Him on a daily basis. We read His scripture, seek His face, and pray about where to draw the line in everyday occurrences. Some people are placed on a very visible stage where their choices have a ripple effect on those around them. Where we draw the line speaks to our understanding of scripture, conviction by the Holy Spirit, and sometimes our personal experiences.
Don’t get me wrong, I fall short of “Be ye holy as I am holy.” God has placed each of us in a specific place to be His witness. I try not to be a stumbling block, I try to be salt and light, and I try not to angrily burn bridges with those who do not agree with me. It’s difficult to point others to a Holy God and His Word while others point out your flaws and failures. Yet God chooses us to be His family, His witness, His hands, and His feet.
I truly believe that we get placed in conflict so God can work through us, in us, and around us. Some battles in my past have been keeping hard liquor out of my parish, getting porn placed out of sight in stores, requiring ID checks for tobacco, gaining permission for “See You At The Pole” gatherings before or after school Christian clubs, substance abuse or mental interventions, and even helping prevent an abortion clinic here in Gordon county. Some battles we join by choice, others force themselves across our lives. In the midst of conflict, I am learning the battle is the Lords! In the book of Zechariah, we find “Not by might, or by power, but by my Spirit says the Lord of Hosts.”
In each of these conflicts and many more, our choices are; draw a line in the sand, or stick our head in the sand.
- Have you been involved in conflicts regarding spiritual matters? How did you handle it and what was the outcome?
- Are you more likely to draw a line in the sand or stick your head in the sand when it comes to conflict?
- What are biblical outcomes that we should strive for when addressing issues that conflict with our faith?
- Take some time today praying that God would give you wisdom in how to approach issues of faith that might require addressing.
Highlight – what words or phrases jump out at you?