Pastor Bill Hybels writes one of my favorite quotes. He says, “The pace at which I’ve been doing the work of God is destroying God’s work in me.”
I can’t begin to tell you the truth of this statement. Working for God is one thing. But protecting God’s work in you is something else.
Sunday night, I was on fire for Jesus. Student ministry was amazing. God did a work in me. Now, I’m struggling to find the desire to write a column. Why? Because “the pace at which I’ve been doing the work of God is destroying God’s work in me.”
You see, writing is only one of the ways I serve God.
I also have the privilege of leading worship and preaching. And I love them all. Sometimes, however, it’s difficult for me to balance my time among each of my gifts.
This is why protecting God’s work in your personal life is essential to seeing God work through you. Put simply, protect God’s work in you as you work for Him.
Paul writes, “I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us. Let all who are spiritually mature agree on these things. If you disagree on some point, I believe God will make it plain to you. But we must hold on to the progress we have already made” (Philippians 3:14-16 NLT).
There’s always something we desire to accomplish. Things we want to become better at. But don’t forget the progress you’ve already made. Don’t forget the work God’s done in your life; instead, protect it.
That’s what Nehemiah did.
Last week, I wrote about Nehemiah’s concern for Jerusalem’s destroyed wall. I said, “An answer is the beginning of a great work.” Upon hearing from God, Nehemiah found himself working. The wall was being built. And the Jews were facing opposition from their enemies.
“But when Sanballat and Tobiah and the Arabs, Ammonites, and Ashdodites heard that the work was going ahead and that the gaps in the wall of Jerusalem were being repaired, they were furious. They all made plans to come and fight against Jerusalem and throw us into confusion. But we prayed to our God and guarded the city day and night to protect ourselves” (Nehemiah 4:7-9 NLT).
Oh, I love this!
How often do we find ourselves working for God, only to be distracted by the enemy? I mean, when’s the last time you felt the presence of God at church, only to let your friends destroy your confidence the next day at school? When’s the last time you started your morning with scripture and prayer, only to be distracted by your co-worker’s gossip? In other words, when’s the last time a situation threatened to destroy God’s work in your life?
Nehemiah and the Israelites were involved in a great work, and it wasn’t just a physical wall. This wall held great significance. In those days, this wall represented God’s love and grace toward His people. Having a strong wall showed that God forgave His people’s past rebellion—the very rebellion that led to the wall’s destruction.
But they faced threatening opposition. So what did Nehemiah do? He split the work, 50-50. Half of the effort was working toward the wall’s completion. The other half was focused on protecting the work. After all, God had specifically called Nehemiah to Jerusalem to complete this task. The Jews, God’s chosen people, were smart to protect God’s work in their nation.
“But from then on, only half my men worked while the other half stood guard with spears, shields, bows, and coats of mail. The leaders stationed themselves behind the people of Judah who were building the wall. The laborers carried on their work with one hand supporting their load and one hand holding a weapon” (Nehemiah 4:16-17 NLT).
Good gravy! I hope you catch this!
Give 50 percent of your attention toward working for God (one hand). Give the other 50 percent of your attention toward protecting God’s work in you (the other hand).
Please hear me, my friends. Protect God’s work in you as you work for Him. Only then will you find the fullness of joy in your journey with Jesus Christ.
Isaiah Pauley is a senior at Wahama High School. He can be followed at www.isaiahpauley.com, or on Facebook at Isaiah Pauley Page.