Nehemiah was cupbearer to the king. A position of high regard – he tasted the wine to be sure it wasn’t poisoned. News came to Nehemiah of the Jewish remnant in exile and the state of their affairs. Neh 1:4 “When I heard these things, I sat down and wept. For some days, I mourned and fasted and prayed before the God of heaven.”
Nehemiah’s heart was moved. Intensely he felt. A desire came awake.
What moves your heart? What awakens you and pulls out emotions and desires dormant in your heart?
I imagine Nehemiah realized the intensity of his passion for his people lent to a calling from the Lord. His heart was moved, and he went straight to the Lord with what was placed in his heart. Nehemiah didn’t fish for reassurance. (like I did) He petitioned the Lord out of the passion and desires in his heart.
Nehemiah approached the king. A desire, a passion, was aroused in him, and he took it straight to the king. Approaching the king took great courage. Approaching the king could get you killed. Neh 2:2-5 ….I was very much afraid, but I said to the king, “May the king live forever! Why should my face not look sad when the city where my fathers are buried lies in ruins, and its gates have been destroyed by fire?”
The king said to me, “What is it you want?”
Then I prayed to the God of heaven, and I answered the king, “If it pleases the king and if your servant has found favor in his sight, let him send me to the city in Judah where my fathers are buried so that I can rebuild it.”
Awakening a purpose, discovering a passion, is frightening and exhilarating at the same time. It ushers us into battle. The desire is awakened and begins to pick a fight with fear. For some of us fear has been allowed to rule over desire, passion, and purpose. Once awakened, desire, passion, and purpose begin to call fears bluff. You see fear is a great liar, a great deceiver. When a desire is awakened it says to fear, “Bring it on!”
Fear has been whispering into our hearts far too long. Fear has created an inner voice that we listen to far too often. We listen to the voice because it’s our own voice. It’s what we are comfortable listening to. The voice tells us we can’t do something, or we aren’t good enough, or people will think we are weird. Fear produces insecurity. Insecurity is a blanket to desire, hiding it in the depths of our hearts.
Nehemiah knew who he was in the lord. Because of understanding his position in God, he moved with courage despite his fear. He didn’t allow fear to speak into his heart. He understood who placed the desire in His heart. He understood that He who placed the desire was greater than the one who whispered in the name of fear. Regardless of what others thought, he moved forward, confident in who placed the desire in His heart, confident that it was the Lord at work and not himself.
Everyday fears are far more dangerous than the fears we face unexpectedly. Fears that crop up, we recognize for what they are. Fear. The fears we face everyday masquerade as something else. It hides itself so as not to be discovered. Because once fear is discovered, it’s game on.
What is desperate to be awakened in you? Consider the gifts, abilities, desires, talents, and passions the Lord has placed inside you. The first step is to recognize what the Lord has placed in you. If you are unsure, begin to pray. The Lord wants to use you. He has a specific purpose for your life.
No desire is too small. Or too big. No passion is too small. Or too big. Avoid comparing your passions to anyone else’s. Avoid comparing your talents to another’s. This is one of fears big traps.
Ask the question that will awaken something desperate to come awake. If God has placed it in you, He doesn’t want it sleeping. It needs to come awake.
This is Part 2 to a mini-series titled Everyday Fears. We are looking at Nehemiah and how a desire, which turned into a passion, was awakened in him and how he fought through fear to accomplish a purpose. Nehemiah is a big example. Don’t let that intimidate you. Our purposes aren’t always as grand as rebuilding a wall for a nation. Some of our purposes may seem so small that we feel silly sharing them. That’s what fear wants us to think. I pray through this series we will begin to examine what God has placed in us that begs to be awakened. Big or small, if God placed it in us, it needs to be awakened.
You can see Part 1 here.