Nehemiah 4:1-23 – “I am Who God says I am”

“Who am I they often tell me, I would step from my cells confinement calmly, cheerfully, firmly like a squire from his country house. Who am I they often tell me. I would talk to my warders freely and friendly and clearly as though it were mine to command…Who am I?…I would bear the days of misfortune, equably, smilingly, proudly like one accustomed to win, am I then really all that which other men tell of? Who am I? They mock me these lonely questions of mine. Whoever I am, thou knowest O God I am thine! – An excerpt from Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s testimony.

What drives and motivates a person like Bonhoeffer, to overcome the sorts of adversities, setbacks, discouragements he would have encountered, to reach his goal? Relationship with Christ. That enabled him to be faithful literally to the end of his life.

Every day we are faced with adversity, a barrage of opposing ‘truths’, misconceptions, lies, and when aligned with what as Christians we believe is truth, we are faced with the temptation of deviating from that truth. Opposition will come to us all in all its various forms morally, ethically, verbally, physically spiritually.

So there is no more an important time for us to be certain and secure of the truth and who we are in Jesus. We have no control over any adversity, but we do in the confidence we have, and the identity we have in Christ.
When God is the source of our morale (self-esteem, confidence), we realise that ONLY IN HIM, can we rise above discouragement, rise above the negativity, opposition and criticism of individuals, and what the world can throw at us.

Application of Nehemiah 4 shows us that criticism that is not of the Spirit wears us down and is distracting from the vision and mission of God for us, so we need to constantly find strategies for warding off criticism and opposition… and in fact to encourage one-another. I don’t believe we can ever overdo that.

In a world that beats up, let’s lift up!