“And I sent messengers unto them, saying, I am doing a great work, so that I cannot come down: why should the work cease, whilst I leave it, and come down to you?” Nehemiah 6:3
“The soul of the sluggard desireth, and hath nothing; but the soul of the diligent shall be made fat.” Proverbs 13:4
“…Greater is He that is in you, than He that is in the world.” 1 John 4:4
Our weekly Christian devotional
“Jules….you never want to do anything fun!” Myra moaned in that special tone–the one that always seems to finda way of twisting the will right out of me!
Of course checking out the hottest restaurant with my crazy girlfriends would be a no-brainer good time. But, last night my husband and I enjoyed going to the movies. And although, technically, I could get away with another night out on the town-I decided to take a rain check for a future date.
So, here’s the dilemma. I’m a freelance writer without kids. From the way people usually react when I tell them this, I’m positive a majority believes I spend my days playing tennis, lunching with the gals and perhaps squeezing in some written inspiration whenever I’m bored. Not so.
Unlike most women I know, I’m not a mulit-tasker. To be perfectly honest, I don’t work well under pressure, either. I’ve never had those gifts and I really don’t see the point in pretending that I do. In a few days I’ll be thirty-nine years old; perhaps age has matured me to the point of accepting the limitations of how God wired me.
I must admit, on any Chicago summer night there’s always plenty of distracting activities that could easily derail my writing goals for the whole week. And, since I have the ‘luxury’ of dictating my schedule, I’ve got to tell you—it’s awful tempting to push aside those redundant responsibilities for a more ‘convenient’ date. But, the truth is, if I did that every time temptation struck, none of the crazy stuff inside my head would’ve ever been birthed; not my website, my book…none of it!
Since I was a little girl, I’ve always imagined leaving a great impression on this world. One of my earliest dreams was to become a missionary. As I got a little older, I fantasized about writing a novel that would debut on the New York Times bestseller list. In my teens, I pictured myself rocking the glamorous world of modeling. And, in those early adult years nothing felt better than making a character from a script come alive—in three dimension.
But even with the myriad of dreams I’ve envisioned for myself over the years, I never pictured being mediocre at anything! Seriously. Who doesn’t want to be THE BEST? I don’t believe that having these high aspirations make me a rare, special or odd person; most people dream big dreams.
But, there is a marked difference between those who are dreamers and those who are achievers; the chasm between the two is simpler than one would like to believe. It’s consistency, hard work, vision and a game plan.
Have you ever noticed successful people usually live beyond what they want to do in the immediate moment by investing in choices that lead to a better tomorrow? Most are quite comfortable with delayed gratification. They don’t need complete satisfaction now, because they can feel it, smell it and taste it in their future…
A life well lived is truly less about always doing what you want to do and more about doing what you need to do. Continually working, planning and plodding towards your goals are the hard commitments that go into great accomplishments. Of course this often entails saying ‘no’ more often than the average Joe.
The verse quoted from Nehemiah indicates how this seemingly ‘regular’ man developed into a great man of God. As I read verse 6:3, it’s obvious that Nehemiah took His passion for God very seriously. This man turned down continual invitations to relax and party like the rest of his Israelite buddies. He did all this to accomplish his higher purpose.
Nehemiah had his mind set on God’s dream for his life. Tempting distractions didn’t make this guy flinch! Knowing the character of God from reading the word, I’m pretty certain that Nehemiah wasn’t the only man God wanted or intended to use. But, from what I can gander, he was the only one that was willing to be used by God. Nehemiah put in the work and dedication required for the job God called Him to do. This quality him apart from the rest of the crowd.
Proverbs 13:4 says that lazy people complain and yearn all the time. The diligent on the other hand, don’t waste time with any of that nonsense; they simply work hard. These types don’t just passively sit by, watching success ‘happen’ to others; they use it as motivation to springboard towards the dreams beating behind their own chest.
If you desire to be a successful man or woman of God, it’s important to ask yourself this question: What are you doing to attain that spiritual success? Are you turning away from distractions that might not be considered ‘bad’ per ‘se, but aren’t exactly God’s best for you? Think about it–Are you missing out on your higher calling just to blend in and keep up with what the masses?
Just a reminder–spiritual success isn’t always in the doing—sometimes it’s in the being, in the moment, hearing from God, listening to His voice and searching out His heart. Many times what looks like ‘nothing’ in man’s eyes is actually considered an accomplishment from God’s point of view. But, no matter what success might look like in your personal walk with God, there will always be obstacles of distraction that will attempt to steer you from the greater things.
Every Christian is called to greatness. Each of us has the power of the Holy Spirit living on the inside! True champions for Christ won’t be lazy in thought or deed. They simply set their eyes on the goal, eliminating every obstacle that doesn’t point to the finish line of victory.
I personally believe that being mediocre isn’t an option—because it’s less. And, really, why would God dream small dreams for His beloved children? I hope you realize that He birthed something great in you the day you accepted Christ in your heart. Don’t hamper the most amazing power of change and transformation for distractions this life offers. Time will pass. Eternity will come. What crowns will you offer to The King you claim to love and serve?
Don’t be a talker or a dreamer. Be an achiever, an overcomer—because you were created for more than anything this world is offering you.
“Dear Heavenly Father,
This life isn’t just about what I see. There’s a definite reason you created me. From the pit of my heart I yearn to find it, Lord.
Sometimes the busy-ness of every day life distracts me from focusing on these deeper matters.
Lord, help me keep focused and stay disciplined. I allow you to develop my gifts and help me find my passion. I will read your word and follow it’s lead in my life.
Lord, help me say ‘no’ to the things that will de-rail path you’ve paved for my success.
Bless me with sharp discernment for good company and the ability to steer away from temptation before any wrong thoughts become wrong actions.
I am called to greatness. In Jesus’ name, I will achieve your vision of success for my life. Bless me, Lord. I’ll need every bit that you can give me. Amen.”
Thank you for reading our weekly Christian devotional on verses: Nehemiah 6:3, Proverbs 13:4, 1 John 4:4
Please check back and see what we have for you next week!
Author: Julia Shalom Jordan