Have you ever been distracted by someone or their opinions of you?
It can be hard to stay on the path God has provided for you when you are constantly looking to the left and right, giving way to inner thoughts or outside voices.
Everyone here has a purpose, a reason God created you. So, how are you maintaining your resolve to follow God’s voice instead of the world’s?
Let’s explore six ways to stay focused on your God-given purpose.
6 Ways to Remain Focused on Your Purpose
Nehemiah, a cupbearer for the king, experienced many hardships as he followed the calling God placed before him. However, in Nehemiah 6, we can learn just how to differentiate what is the voice of God and what isn’t.
Be Careful of Requested Invitations (vs. 1-2)
“Now it happened when Sanballat, Tobiah, Geshem the Arab, and the rest of our enemies heard that I had rebuilt the wall, and that there were no breaks left in it (though at that time I had not hung the doors in the gates), that Sanballat and Geshem sent to me, saying, ‘Come, let us meet together among the villages in the plain of Ono.’ But they thought to do me harm.”
Nehemiah 6: 1-2, NKJV
Like many of us, Nehemiah had enemies.
As a matter of fact, Sanballat, Tobiah, and Geshem were political leaders in their day. They were distraught that Nehemiah, a non-political person, could build a wall, which was their responsibility. These three leaders were looking to stop him from finishing the task God set before him!
Brothers and sisters, you have a unique and holy task that others will try to stop you from completing. Be aware of the enemy’s invitations to sway you from your course, and learn to trust God’s voice in every step you take.
Respond to Confrontations & Invitations With Your Purpose in Mind (vs. 3)
“So I sent messengers to them, saying, ‘I am doing a great work, so I cannot come down. Why should the work cease while I leave it and go down to you?’”
Nehemiah 6:3, NKJV
Before you commit to something or someone else, make it a practice to ask yourself:
“Does what they’re asking me to do align with the work God gave me to do?”
Saints, some of you are wasting time investing in things that have nothing to do with why God created you, and you are allowing people to pull you off course. The only reason you should connect with others is if they are going to assist in the great work God has put in front of you.
Nehemiah recognized the importance of his work, and he learned to see the distraction that was at hand. As God’s people who are set apart, we should practice the same.
Remember God is Your Vindicator (vs. 4-7)
“But they sent me this message four times, and I answered them in the same manner. Then Sanballat sent his servant to me as before, the fifth time, with an open letter in his hand. In it was written: It is reported among the nations, and Geshem says, that you and the Jews plan to rebel; therefore, according to these rumors, you are rebuilding the wall, that you may be their king. And you have also appointed prophets to proclaim concerning you at Jerusalem, saying, ‘There is a king in Judah!’ Now these matters will be reported to the king. So come, therefore, and let us consult together.”
Nehemiah 6:4-7, NKJV
Throughout your life, you will experience the dishonesty of other people. However, it is essential that you do not get distracted in chasing down the person who told the lie.
When I was candidating to be the pastor of First Baptist Church of Glenarden, a lie was told that I had gotten a young girl pregnant. Going to many people, I tried to collect information on the person trying to damage my reputation. Shortly after, the Holy Spirit convicted me that he didn’t call me to resolve and track down those who were being dishonest in their speech.
God reminded me of Psalm 63:11: “But the mouth of those who speak lies shall be stopped.”
If we choose to track down every lie that has ever been spoken of us, we will spend the rest of our lives on the hunt. Instead, trust that God will stop the mouths of liars and vindicate you according to His plan.
Never Make Decisions Based on Fear (vs. 8-9)
“Then I sent to him saying, ‘No such things as you say are being done, but you invent them in your own heart.’ For they all were trying to make us afraid, saying, ‘Their hands will be weakened in the work, and it will not be done.’ Now therefore, O God, strengthen my hands.”
Nehemiah 6:8-9, NKJV
The devil’s protocol is to sway your reactions and responses out of fear. However, God will never give us a spirit of fear, only sound judgment to navigate the perfect things He has planned for us. (2 Timothy 1:7)
Fear doesn’t come from God; it comes from the pits of hell.
Be careful not to base your decisions on a feeling of fear. Seek God first.
Don’t Depend on Prophecies That Go Against What God Has Given You Privately (vs. 10-11)
“Afterward I came to the house of Shemaiah the son of Delaiah, the son of Mehetabel, who was a secret informer; and he said, ‘Let us meet together in the house of God, within the temple, and let us close the doors of the temple, for they are coming to kill you; indeed, at night they will come to kill you.’ And I said, ‘Should such a man as I flee? And who is there such as I who would go into the temple to save his life? I will not go in!’
Then I perceived that God has not sent him at all, but that he pronounced this prophecy against me because Tobiah and Sanballat had hired him. For this reason he was hired, that I should be afraid and act that way and sin, so that they might have cause for an evil report, that they might reproach me.”
Nehemiah 6:10-13, NKJV
When God speaks a prophetic word over your circumstances, you will know it.
Some believers are so caught up in the emotion of it all that they make decisions based on a prophecy someone spoke over them. They quit their jobs without another one lined up and uproot their families to move to different cities, all for the sake of a feeling at the moment.
Stop depending on prophecies that do not affirm what God has given you privately.
God will speak into your life, and if you are dedicated to listening to Him alone, He will enable you to spot inconsistencies.
Pray for God’s Retribution (vs. 14)
“My God, remember Tobiah and Sanballat, according to these their works, and the prophetess Noadiah and the rest of the prophets who would have made me afraid.”
Nehemiah 6:14, NKJV
Don’t waste unnecessary energy trying to pay someone back. As you are scheming ways to hurt the one who offended you, you are actually hurting yourself.
Romans 12:19, NKJV says, “Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, ‘Vengence is Mine, I will repay,’ says the Lord.”
When you leave retributions to God, anyone who harms or frustrates you will be paid back in full, and God will ensure they never mess with you again.
Some years ago, one of our members, whom I trusted and loved, lied about me. He wrote letters to the deacons and talked to various people in our church, trying to get me fired. Because of the Lord’s vindication, I’m still here preaching and pastoring. Our church is still growing, and God is still being glorified!
I have learned to thank God for the people who have hurt me because God used them to elevate me to the next dimension He wanted me to go
Thank you for lying on me!
Thank you for talking about me!
Thank you for trying to frustrate me!
Because God rewarded me for everything you did.
Instead of scheming ways to evoke payback, why not call that person up and say, “Thank you.”
Saints, you don’t have to fight with anyone or argue your case; our God will fight the battle for you.
Nehemiah, a servant of God, shows us what it looks like to focus on God and His plans for our lives. May we continue to step cautiously around the noise of this world, applying all our attention to the One who is in control.
And may we find assurance that God is with us every step as we follow Him.