Sometimes it seems the world around is falling apart. The examples are all around us. Sadly, we often help in the destruction. I love the book of Nehemiah in the Old Testament. I have spent many hours in this book studying his leadership and responses to issues he faced. I finished a rough manuscript on those principles a few months ago and the book of Nehemiah is wealth of knowledge and practical lessons on leadership. However, there is one lesson that far outshines the others. In fact, it is upon this lesson from Nehemiah all his other wisdom, actions, and leadership are built.
It is the lesson of ownership. In the beginning of the book it opens with Nehemiah hearing that Jerusalem is torn apart and the wall has been broken. The great city of his forefathers is in disrepair. The glorious city of David and Solomon to which the world would travel to see and all Israel would come to worship was a by-word. Now people just shook their heads in despair as they walked by the broken walls and empty gates.
At this point Nehemiah responds in a very distinct way in chapter 1:6, 7.
“Even I and my father’s house have sinned. We have acted very corruptly against you and have not kept the commandments, the statutes, and the rules that you commanded your servant Moses.”
Interestingly enough, he does not blame others. He takes responsibility of confession and repentance upon himself for he and his forefathers. He turns to God in his day, choosing to seek God’s mercy upon himself, family, and his nation.
What if we, as followers of Jesus Christ, turned and repented confessing our sin before God and taking full responsibility for the state of things as they are at this moment.
You say, “Chad, I didn’t cause all this. I am just doing my thing.” Let me pose a question for us to consider. Why is there so much sin in the camp? Why does it seem the walls are being broken down and great derision has come upon us? Could it be because we have been disobedient?
Jesus said, “If anyone desires to follow me, let him deny himself, take up his or her cross, and follow me.”
Is there self-denial and the willingness to sacrifice that you may follow Jesus?
Following Him means walking in the power of the resurrection and that is a life of obedience. One of the last things he said before he ascended and promised his return, was to “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them inthe name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
Let me ask you a basic question, “Are you making disciples?”
I didn’t ask, “Are you building a fine church, theological institution, great business, or ministry. Are you personally making disciples?
Are you walking with others on a regular basis and teaching others to do the same. How many lives have you been a part of as they were transformed by the power of God in the past year. No matter the position I hold, Integrity demands that I disciple. Am I discipling my staff, my family, and other believers as they grow?
Here is why you need to disciple and all discipleship must come at some point to denying self, taking up your cross, and then following Jesus. The reason is because you need it as much as those whom you disciple.
When we disciple others, we are reminded, convicted, and encouraged of the same basic truths to which we never, ever, ever outgrow. When I disciple others, I am reminded of my own sin, my own disobedience and failure. The process of pouring into others keeps me close to Him. I look to an older generation and it is so plain to see that the ones who seem to finish well are the ones who were or are giving back and pouring into others and especially a younger generation.
What is the answer to all this? How do we move forward? It might sound small and simple to you, but it is the fundamental way for the Kingdom to grow and that is believers teaching and showing what it means to simply follow Jesus. Are you living in loving obedience to God? Are we living in that obedience?
Father, I confess that I and my father’s house and I have sinned. We have turned away from you and sought our own way. May we humble ourselves before you and confess that in me, that is in my flesh, dwells no good thing, Have mercy and may we live in your truth and grace once again becoming light and life to the world around us. May we express you and your love to the world in sacrificial humility bearing our cross with joy that we may walk in the power of your resurrection.