Over the last several weeks, I’ve been writing about how to stay encouraged in the Lord. I feel this is so important, because one of the devil’s chief tactics is discouragement. People who get discouraged and give up too early won’t see the victory God had intended for them! Today, I’d like to share about the importance of staying true to your calling even when it is being challenged.
The apostle Peter wrote, “Be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble” (2 Pet. 1:10, NKJV). Peter wanted Christians to be steadfast in their calling. He wanted them to realize that stepping out to fulfill God’s call often involves stepping in to some pretty big obstacles. But no obstacle should stop us from moving forward with God! We must keep working at our calling even when we face opposition.
The book of Nehemiah provides a great example of how to do just that. Nehemiah felt the call of God to rebuild the damaged city walls of Jerusalem. He committed himself to God’s calling by moving to the city, assembling a group of Jewish workers, and aggressively getting started on the work. However, two men named Sanballat and Tobiah, who were leaders from nearby regions, became angry when they heard about the rebuilding project. They starting mocking the Jews, threatening them, and conspiring against them to create confusion. While they made it their goal to stop the work, Nehemiah didn’t allow that to happen!
When the enemies made their threats, Nehemiah addressed the situation in an interesting way. He could have argued with them, but he didn’t. He could have run away to hide, but he didn’t. He could have stopped the work, but he didn’t. Instead, he positioned certain groups of workers to be on guard against enemy attack, but he also made sure other groups kept working on the walls. The builders used one hand to work on construction and the other hand to hold a weapon. That way, even while staying on guard, they could keep on working. I believe those Jewish workers illustrate how God wants us to respond to attacks. Yes, we should be on guard, but we shouldn’t stop the work! We must keep on building!
I recently read a book by the late Lester Sumrall, a powerful minister of God for decades. In it, he reflected on a definite pattern he had observed when counseling people who were going through challenges. “People who are willing to stick to their task, to be faithful to what God has called them to do – they are the ones who experience victory” he shared. “On the other hand, those who tremble and hide at the first sign of the devil’s attack – they are the ones who fail, because they turn aside from whatever it is that God is calling them to do and focus all their attention on the enemy. And that is never a good idea.”
Just like Nehemiah’s enemies wanted his work to stop, the devil wants your work for God to stop. But don’t give in! Keep building! Nehemiah knew in his heart what God had called him to do, and he wasn’t going to let a couple of naysayers stop him! He didn’t doubt his call from God, and he didn’t stop what he was doing. He kept working at his calling, and that’s exactly what we should do! Don’t be discouraged … just keep on keeping on!