Words to Live By

What Adversity Has Captured You?

2 Timothy 1:7
For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of sound mind.

In the Old Testament, after the kingdom of Israel split and went into captivity, Nehemiah was one of the “Jews of this dispersion”. As a youth, he was appointed to the important office of royal cup-bearer at the palace of his captor. Through his brother he heard of the mournful and desolate condition of the Holy City that had been destroyed, and was filled with sadness of heart. For many days he fasted and mourned and prayed for the place of his fathers’ sepulchers. At length the king observed his sadness of countenance and asked the reason of it. Nehemiah explained it all to the king, and obtained his permission to go up to Jerusalem and there to act as governor of Judea and oversee the rebuilding of the walls in Jerusalem.
One day, during this work, Nehemiah went to the house of Shemaiah, who was shut in at his home. Shemaiah said, “Let us meet in the house of God, inside the temple, and let us close the temple doors, because men are coming to kill you by night they are coming to kill you.”
But Nehemiah said, “Should a man like me run away? Or should one like me go into the temple to save his life? I will not go!”
He realized that God had not sent Shemaiah, but that he had prophesied against Nehemiah because the enemy had hired him.
Nehemiah says of Shemiah in Nehemiah 6:13, “He had been hired to intimidate me so that I would commit a sin by doing this, and then they would give me a bad name to discredit me”.

To intimidate means to domineer or drive into compliance through fear. Nehemiah was a godly young man that was walking in the Lord’s ways and yet he was still susceptible to being intimidated by the enemy. There aren’t too many things that we fear greater than the loss of our life. On the surface, this conversation looked as if it was God warning Nehemiah to protect him from death. However, underneath, it was actually an opportunity for the enemy to cause Nehemiah to sin.

Scripture says that Nehemiah “realized” that God had not sent this man to warn him. How did Nehemiah know this? Well, 2 Timothy 1:7 clearly tells us that God does not gives us a spirit of fear, which means to be lacking in self-assurance, courage or bravery. It is also to be easily alarmed by an awareness of danger. Instead, He has given us a spirit of power (the ability to carry out his will), love (the ability to love the unlovable) and sound mind (the ability to discipline our thoughts).

Is it that easy to know the Lord through His Word? Yes! We can see once again that God’s heart is for us and not against us. He desires for us to take Him at his word and trust Him to give us the courage and strength in the face of adversity so that we may not fall into sin. We can not allow our thoughts and feelings of fear to guide us; rather we are to allow God to guide them back to the proper perspective of his provision for us.

Dear Lord God,
I have these adversities in my life that are bringing thoughts and feelings of fear. In fact, I have allowed this fear to cause me to sin by not doing what you have instructed me to do. I confess this sin and trust in your forgiveness and cleansing (1 John 1:9) so that I may move forward in my walk and understanding of You.

Lisa Christensen
Befriend Mentoring