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Sunday, January 24, 2021

Rebuilding Relationships: Nehemiah 5

I’m reminded this week that when God works in our lives, He doesn’t just work on part of it. When we pray to God to lead us, when we seek Him in His word, when we earnestly knock on the door of faith (Mat. 7:7-8) we must know that God isn’t interested in only changing some of us.

No, God desires a transformation such that the whole person is changed. If we are changed, but only some, then our lives won’t be that different. We can be the person we used to be at work, or at home, in our hobbies, and in our sins. When Jesus changes us, that change should impact everything we do and everything we are. If the things we do, the things we think, or the things we say aren’t in line with this new creation (2 Cor. 5:17) then those areas of our life need to change as well.

These changes can lead us to some difficult choices. Can we work in the same field, with the same people, or for the same company or are there places of business so out of alignment with the Gospel that I just can’t stay? Can I treat my family and friends the same or have I found in my personal life great sins in need of repentance and redemption? Jesus warns us in Matthew10:37 that we will need to make these very choices: “Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.”

Love of family, friends, and neighbors are not necessarily in conflict with our love for Christ. It is only when family, friends, neighbors, politics, careers, hobbies or anything else keep us from walking in the light that the conflict arises. Jesus’s words are clear and plain: following Christ is costly. (Luke 14:25-33).

This morning, we’ll look at Nehemiah chapter 5 and see how alack of transformation in some parts of life leads to more suffering. Nehemiah’s remedy, as we’ve seen time and again in this series, begins with prayer. Once he learned of the suffering, Nehemiah’s actions show us that we can’t be who God wants us to be if we don’t allow God to work on the whole person. We need to have transformed hearts and minds (Rom. 122), and we need to love with more than just words (1 John 3:18).

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