Summary: The "P.A.U.S.E. Principle" applied to eradicating the moles that try to undermine spiritual success.
We’re in the series “Something More” based on the story of a man named Nehemiah who lived over 2,000 years ago.
The “something more” Nehemiah prayed that God would help him arrive at in his life was the rebuilding of the wall around Jerusalem that had been destroyed a generation earlier and not rebuilt. While the wall around Jerusalem remained a pile of rubble, Nehemiah’s people suffered. So God answers Nehemiah’s prayers to lead a rebuilding project.
One BIG IDEA from Nehemiah’s story that you can’t afford to forget is that God is interested in you experiencing “something more” just like you are! We know this is true because there’s this great promise God gave in Nehemiah’s time that is still true today. Jeremiah the prophet recorded this promise from God.
Jeremiah 29:11 says, I know what I am planning for you,” says the Lord, “I have good plans for you, not plans to hurt you. I will give you hope and a good future.”
God has good plans for your life! He wants you to have hope and a good future! He wants you to enjoy “something more” than you’re experiencing now. There is “something more,” and it begins with God!
Another insight from Nehemiah we’ve realized, is that when you set out on the journey toward “something more,” it’s not long before critics start trying to ridicule and intimidate you. But you can’t let them!
HOWEVER, what do you do when the challenge to God’s good plans for you comes from friends, not foes?
Here’s what happened in Nehemiah’s story.
Nehemiah 5:1 says, Now the men and their wives raised a great outcry against their Jewish brothers.
Circle that word “against.” There are some of you who are certain that you’ll not be able to get to that “something more” that God has promised you in your life because there is someone in your life that is supposed to be “for” you but you feel like they’re “against” you.
How can you experience something more when someone who is supposed to be playing on your team is doing and saying things that benefit the opposing team?
We’re going to answer that dilemma today from Scripture…from the example set by Nehemiah.
The specific problem in Nehemiah’s day is stated by some of the workers on the wall.
Nehemiah 5:5: Although we are of the same flesh and blood as our countrymen and though our sons are as good as theirs, yet we have to subject our sons and daughters to slavery. Some of our daughters have already been enslaved, but we are powerless, because our fields and our vineyards belong to others."
The economy was so bad in Jerusalem that people had been borrowing money from in order to buy food and pay taxes. For collateral they were mortgaging their property and their children to their fellow Jews. When they weren’t able to pay their debts their own countrymen were confiscating their property AND their sons and daughters! Hardly seems possible. But that’s the power of greed!
The current (October ’09) issue of Smithsonian magazine has an article entitled, “Prescription for Murder,” that tells about hundreds of thousands of deaths in Southeast Asia due to phony antimalaria pills being sold to an unsuspecting public. An investigation that took over a decade finally found the culprits to be from right there in Southeast Asia itself. The motive? Money. Lots of it.
The city of Jerusalem is in ruins and the citizens could only afford so much. But the bills kept coming. Taxes were still high and there’s widespread poverty and injustice. This would be the time that people would pull together right? You would think so - but NO!
It’s one thing to have negative people who don’t know you to try to intimidate you into quitting – like the Jews had as we saw in the earlier chapters of Nehemiah. But its another thing all together to have your own people breaking your back with burdens too heavy to carry!
Is there “something more” when you’re going one way and your spouse is going another? Is there “something more” when your kids are driving you crazy? How do you get your hands on “something more” when your fellow employees are stabbing you in the back – or when the corporation is making all these crazy decisions that are adversely affecting your livelihood? Even the culture around us is heading away from the tenets of the historic Judeo-Christian ethic that made this country great. Are we to simple fold our hands and give up; just become apathetic and hopeless?
Is there “something more” when you aren’t getting along with a friend that you’ve been close to for so long – it might even someone else in the church community? When previously there has been such closeness and now THERE’S CONFLICT?