Using power to create pressure is a very effective way to get at people, especially if they are not sure of themselves or what they should be doing. However, if the objects of intimidation are quite confident in what they are doing, they may not be at all bothered by this approach.
Nehemiah had wrestled with God so thoroughly about what he was doing in building the wall that he was not sidetracked by attempts to call him away from the work. When someone reacts like Nehemiah, then the intimidator must become more and more threatening. It eventually boils down to who can intimidate the most or who is the most confident in what God's will is for the occasion. Notice in this chapter that Nehemiah doesn't give in to the intimidation.
Warming Up to God
Think of a time when you had to be aggressive to fight for something you thought was right. How did you feel and act? Write down your ideas and compare them to the actions of Nehemiah.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer describes the emergence of the superleader under Hitler:
It is essential for the image of the Leader that the group does not see the face of the one who goes before, but sees him only from behind as the figure stepping ahead. His humanity is veiled in his Leader's form. (Quoted in Ray Anderson, Minding God's Business [Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 1986], p. 5.)
Warming Up to God
Think of a time when you defended yourself in the context of a strained relationship. To what did you appeal?
Whether from being left untended or from constant use, things will always be inclined to grow old and wear out. Knees will start to ache and catch. Gaskets will leak. Organization will trend toward chaos. The deodorant stick will shrink smaller and smaller. It's the nature of life. Downhill. Showing age.
It's even the nature of marriage. What starts with candlelight, tuxedo, and a minister's blessing slowly gives way to the late local news, complaints about your snoring, and fixing yourself the last piece of toast for breakfast. Where's a little romance when you need it? Probably not under warranty.
o whether you like it or not, today will be another battle against muscle loss and tooth decay. But to keep these same sorts of erosion from happening in your home and marriage, the Bible offers you the following prescription: "Encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin's deceitfulness" (Hebrews 3:13) or by life's constant tendency to drag you down, if not drag you apart.
Marriage may never outgrow a few toilet seat disagreements. But yours can withstand—and even counteract—the effects of time and age. A little encouragement from you today can go a long way.
Pray this prayer: God, help me not to stand by while my marriage loses any more of its luster. Give me the kind of heart that keeps loving, keeps investing. Show me the best way to bless my wife today.
Comparing yourself to others is the thief of your joy. You are enough. You always have been. At times we can lose sight of who we are because the outside world relentlessly attempts each day we are alive to sell and tell us what we should or should not be.
2. Get 1% Better Every Day.
Commit to getting 1% better physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually every day. Each of us is the architect and designer of our life and career. Never let a day go by in which you have not done one thing to become better today than you were yesterday.
3. Make Everyone You Encounter Feel Important.
The most profound knowledge is the realization that you don’t know what good will come from talking to strangers. Avoid treating people like they are menu options or products in a catalog. We all wear an invisible mask that says: Make Me Feel Important. Be somebody who makes everybody feel like somebody!
4. Surround Yourself With Wisdom.
Learning provides you new dots while wisdom connects them. Don’t just feed your body. Feed your mind. Spend much of your life striving to gather timeless knowledge from the thoughts, behaviors, innovations, and experiences of others. A person who does not read and nurture their curiosity is no better off than a person who cannot read. The best never stop learning and getting better.
5. Don’t Feed Negative Thoughts Nor Entertain Toxic People.
The mind is everything. What you think you become. When it comes to fostering relationships, spend less time with people who deplete your energy and more time with people who inspire you. Don’t walk away from negative people: Run and Don’t Look Back!
6. Become Comfortable With Criticism.
It is a wise person who views criticism as a gift. Your growth depends on your willingness to be uncomfortable. Learning is a process that has no beginning, middle, or end. Self-education is life itself. Each day we must unlearn to relearn while undoing to do.
7. Give The World Your Best and Whole Self.
The better you know yourself, the better capable you are of enhancing your life. Investing in your personal growth and professional development is the best investment you will ever make. Before you can love and lead others, you must consistently love and lead yourself.
Life is a self-discovery journey, not merely a destination. When December 31, 2020, approaches, how do you want to remember this year? Relentlessly focus on doing more of what matters and less of what does not. It is never too late to design the life you wish to live. But you must courageously take that first step in trust and grace towards cultivating that change from within!